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Dec 12, 5:28 PM EST

Business Highlights


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Tax package would ease hit to residents of high-tax states

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional Republicans are speeding toward an agreement on a massive tax package that would ease the hit on residents of high-tax states and appease corporations that could have lost precious tax breaks. Two congressional aides said negotiators were working to expand a deduction for state and local taxes to allow individuals to deduct income taxes as well as property taxes. The aides said negotiators were also working to eliminate the alternative minimum tax for corporations.

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House and Senate tax bills treat disaster victims unequally

WASHINGTON (AP) - If the House Republican tax bill became law, victims of hurricanes in Texas and Florida could deduct their losses on next year's taxes. Not so for victims of the California wildfires. If the Senate version prevailed, fire and storm victims could both deduct their losses. But people who lost homes in smaller-scale disasters couldn't. Such disparities show how political decisions are shaping the tax legislation being crafted by Republicans.

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Paris hosts major climate summit - and it's all about Trump

PARIS (AP) - The global climate summit in Paris was designed to bypass Donald Trump, but the U.S. president ended up playing a starring role. Trump became the unwitting villain as world leaders, investors and other Americans assailed him for rejecting the Paris climate accord. To emphasize their point - and prevent others from following his lead - they announced more than $1 billion in investments to make it easier for countries and industries to give up oil and coal.

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Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump has signed into law a sweeping defense policy bill that authorizes a $700 billion budget for the military. The bill includes additional spending on missile defense programs to respond to the growing nuclear weapons threat from North Korea. But there's a catch. The $700 billion budget won't become reality until lawmakers agree - and they haven't yet - to roll back a 2011 law that set strict limits on federal spending, including by the Defense Department.

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US wholesale prices up 0.4 percent in November

WASHINGTON (AP) - Prices at the wholesale level rose 0.4 percent in November and 3.1 percent over the past year. It was the biggest annual jump in nearly six years and reflected a big spike in the price of gasoline and other energy products.

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US budget deficit totals $138.5 billion in November

WASHINGTON (AP) - The federal government collected a record amount of tax income for the month of November and also had a record level of spending for the month, producing a budget deficit of $138.5 billion, up slightly from a year ago. The Treasury Department says the November deficit was 1.4 percent higher than a year ago.

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Minnesota announces restrictions on using herbicide dicamba

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota has announced restrictions on the use of the herbicide dicamba for 2018 in response to complaints by soybean growers across the country that it harmed their crops this year. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture on Tuesday set a June 20 cutoff date for applying the herbicide. It also prohibits applications above 85 degrees. The rules are meant to reduce instances of the herbicide drifting and damaging neighboring fields.

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UK inflation rises to highest level since March 2012

LONDON (AP) - Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will have to write a letter to Britain's Treasury chief explaining why inflation in the country is running by more than a percentage point above target after official figures showed it unexpectedly rising to 3.1 percent. The rate for November published Tuesday is the highest since March 2012 and above most economists' forecasts for a modest decline to 2.9 percent from the previous month's 3 percent.

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US stock indexes close mostly up; New highs for S&P 500, Dow

NEW YORK (AP) - Big-name companies notched gains on Wall Street Tuesday, delivering more records for two of the major stock indexes. The Standard & Poor's 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average finished at all-time highs for the second day this week, while a slide in technology stocks pulled the Nasdaq lower. Small-company stocks lagged. Banks led the gainers. Energy stocks fell as crude oil prices closed lower. Bitcoin futures fell on their second day of trading.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,664.11. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 118.77 points, or 0.5 percent, to 24,504.80. The Nasdaq composite lost 12.76 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,862.32. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 3.72 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,516.12.

Benchmark U.S. crude slid 85 cents, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $57.14 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard for oil, shed $1.35, or 2.1 percent, to close at $63.34 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 3 cents to $1.70 a gallon. Heating oil shed 2 cents to $1.93 a gallon. Natural gas fell 15 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $2.68 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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