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Mar 22, 5:46 PM EDT

Business Highlights


Trade worries send stock market plunging

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks plunged, driving the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 700 points, as investors feared that trade tensions will spike between the U.S. and China. The Trump administration announced trade sanctions against China, and Beijing has said it will defend itself. Industrial and technology companies, which depend heavily on foreign trade, took some of the worst losses. Boeing, Caterpillar and Microsoft all fell. Banks were also sharply lower as bond yields fell.


Trump signs order punishing China on trade

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump has taken the first step in imposing tariffs on as much as $60 billion worth of Chinese imports. The order signed Thursday is aimed at punishing Beijing for stealing American technology and pressuring U.S. companies to hand it over. Trump says the U.S. and China have "the largest deficit of any country in the history of our world" and blames that deficit for lost American jobs. He says the move will make the U.S. a "much stronger, much richer nation."


Trump to 'pause' looming metal tariffs for some countries

WASHINGTON (AP) - The European Union, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea are among the nations that will get an initial exemption from looming steel and aluminum tariffs from the Trump administration. That's the word from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. President Donald Trump is planning to impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Those trade penalties are aimed at China for flooding the world with cheap steel and aluminum.


House committee calls for Facebook's Zuckerberg to testify

WASHINGTON (AP) - The leaders of a key House committee say Facebook officials failed to answers questions about a privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining company, and they want CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the panel. Reps. Greg Walden of Oregon and Frank Pallone of New Jersey say the "latest revelations regarding Facebook's use and security of user data raise many serious consumer protection concerns."


House OKs compromise $1.3 trillion budget bill, Senate next

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House easily approved a bipartisan $1.3 trillion spending bill Thursday that pours huge sums into Pentagon programs and domestic initiatives ranging from building roads to combatting the nation's opioid abuse crisis, but left Congress in stalemate over shielding young Dreamer immigrants from deportation and curbing surging health insurance premiums.


US, AT&T fire opening salvos as govt seeks to block merger

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. and AT&T fire opening salvos in federal court as the Justice Department seeks to block the telephone giant's proposed takeover of Time Warner. The government has sued to block the $85 billion deal, saying it would hurt completion and consumers would have to pay more for their favorite shows.


Citigroup puts restrictions on gun sales

NEW YORK (AP) - Citigroup put new restrictions on firearm sales by its business customers, the company said Thursday, making it the first bank to announce changes to its policies in the wake of the school shooting in Florida. Citigroup will require its clients and business customers not to sell a firearm to anyone who hasn't passed a background check or anyone under the age of 21. They also will not allow its customers to sell what are known as bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.


Toys R Us founder dies days after chain's announced shutdown

NEW YORK (AP) - Charles P. Lazarus, the World War II veteran who founded Toys R Us, has died at age 94, a week after the iconic chain he started six decades ago announced it will shut down its stores across the U.S. Toys R Us confirmed Lazarus' death in a statement Thursday.


Israeli firm says it can turn garbage into bio-based plastic

KIBBUTZ ZEELIM, Israel (AP) - Israeli startup UBQ says its innovative method of converting garbage into bio-based plastics, five years in the making, will revolutionize waste management and help make landfills obsolete. UBQ says its material can be used as an additive to conventional plastics, and that 10 to 15 percent is enough to make the plastic carbon-neutral. But skeptics have questioned whether the technology works as advertised and is commercially viable.


The Standard & Poor's 500 index skidded 68.24 points, or 2.5 percent, to 2,643.69. The Dow Jones industrial average sank 724.42 points, or 2.9 percent, to 23,957.89. The Nasdaq composite gave up 178.61 points, or 2.4 percent, to 7,166.68. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 35.43 points, or 2.2 percent, to 1,543.87.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil shed 87 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $64.30 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 56 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $68.91 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline remained at $2.01 a gallon. Heating oil lost 1 cent to $1.99 a gallon. Natural gas lost 3 cents to $2.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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