Sep 19, 5:55 PM EDT

Business Highlights


Facebook may be facing an 'era of accountability'

NEW YORK (AP) - Facebook has unwittingly allowed groups backed by the Russian government to target users with ads. That's after it took months to acknowledge its outsized role in influencing the U.S. election by allowing for the spread of fake news. Now it is under siege, facing questions from lawmakers and others seeking to rein in its enormous power and demand more transparency.


Toys R Us joins bankruptcy list as Amazon exerts influence

NEW YORK (AP) - In filing for bankruptcy, Toys R Us joins a list of dozens of store chains that have done so already this year as online leader Amazon increasingly exerts its influence over a huge part of the retailing world. The toy chain, hobbled by $5 billion in debt and more intense competition, filed for protection from its creditors ahead of the key holiday season. Like so many retailers that find it harder to co-exist with Amazon, analysts say Toys R Us needs to improve its online services and offering special experiences in the stores.


Review: Glitzy iPhone X aside, the iPhone 8 is fine for most

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) - The iPhone X might make your friends envious, but the iPhone 8 is the model for the masses - similar to flying coach rather than first class. The 8 shares many of the new goodies the X is getting, including wireless charging. Apple was wise in not bucking industry standards this time, so the iPhone gets many charging options already available with Android. Other features in the 8 include a screen technology meant to reduce eye strain and limited improvements to an already-great camera.


Health benefit offers from small businesses keep vanishing

Only half of America's smallest businesses now offer health coverage to their workers as steady cost hikes have made it too expensive for many to afford a benefit that nearly all large employers still provide. The Kaiser Family Foundation said Tuesday that 50 percent of companies with three to 49 employees offered coverage this year. That's down from 59 percent in 2012 and 66 percent more than a decade ago.


AP sources: GOP tentatively agrees to $1.5T plan on tax cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) - Top Republicans on a key Senate panel have reached a tentative agreement on a tax plan that would add about $1.5 trillion to the government's $20 trillion debt over 10 years. That's the word from congressional officials and came as GOP deficit hawks and Reagan-style supply siders sorted out their differences.


Equifax says it had a security breach earlier in the year

NEW YORK (AP) - Equifax says it had a separate security breach early this year, which may mean increased scrutiny as the company deals with a larger and more serious breach this summer that exposed the information of 143 million Americans. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Attorney General has followed through with her threat to sue Equifax for the breach -- making it the first state regulator to file a lawsuit against the company.


Senate leader praises revived GOP health law repeal drive

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is praising the revived Republican effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law. The Kentucky Republican's remarks gave a public boost to a drive that seemed all but dead earlier this summer. McConnell said the bill would let states choose their own health care policies and take decision-making powers away from Washington.


Corker says tentative agreement on debt figure

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Bob Corker says he's reached a tentative agreement with other Republicans on how much their tax plan would add to the government's debt. Corker, a senior Republican who opposes adding to the deficit, didn't offer a figure. But after meeting with other top Republicans, he said he's willing to take into account revenue boosts from "pro-growth tax reform" when voting for a budget plan. Tax-cut advocates on the budget panel were pressing for a tax cut of $1.5 trillion or more.


Norway's massive wealth fund hits $1 trillion in value

HELSINKI (AP) - Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest of its kind, has hit "a milestone" $1 trillion in value for the first time, beating all expectations since its creation over 20 years ago. Fund manager Norges Bank Investment Management said the value was recorded early Tuesday. It said the fund has been boosted by a rise in stock markets and a weaker U.S. dollar, which increases the dollar value of its holdings in other currencies.


Slight gains in US stocks lift Dow, S&P, Nasdaq to new highs

NEW YORK (AP) - Wall Street capped a day of mostly listless trading with a slight gain, good enough to lift the major U.S. stock indexes to another set of all-time highs. Banks, insurers and other financial companies led the gainers. Technology companies also helped lift the market. Health care stocks lagged the most. Trading was subdued as investors looked ahead to Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve was expected to deliver an update on its view of the economy and interest rate policy.


The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.78 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,506.65. The index, regarded as the broadest measure of the stock market, has hit a record high three days in a row. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 39.45 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,370.80. The average is on a six-day streak of new highs. The Nasdaq composite added 6.68 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,461.32. The tech-heavy index also notched a new high, its first since last Wednesday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks declined 0.68 of a point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,440.40.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 43 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $49.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gave up 34 cents, or 0.6 percent, to close at $55.14 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline slid 1 cent to $1.66 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.77 a gallon. Natural gas declined 2 cents to $3.12 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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