Mar 23, 5:53 PM EDT

Business Highlights


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Obamacare repeal vote put off in stinging setback for Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) - After seven years of fervent promises to repeal and replace "Obamacare," President Donald Trump and GOP congressional leaders buckled at a moment of truth Thursday, putting off a planned showdown vote in a stinging setback for the young administration. The White House insisted the House vote would still happen - Friday morning instead - but with opposition flowing from both strongly conservative and moderate-leaning GOP lawmakers, that was far from assured.

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Republican health bill would widen America's big wealth gap

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republican's health care bill provides massive tax cuts to the wealthy while increasing taxes for many lower income families, widening America's big income gap. Over the past quarter century, only one group of people has seen significant increases income - those at the very top. Families in the middle or at the bottom of the economic ladder have seen little or no increase in wages. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says the GOP health bill exacerbates those disparities.

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Death rates up for middle age whites with little education

WASHINGTON (AP) - A sobering portrait of less-educated middle-age white Americans emerged Thursday with new research showing them dying disproportionately from what one expert calls "deaths of despair" - suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related diseases. The new paper, by two Princeton University economists, concludes that the trend is driven by the loss of steady middle-income jobs for those with a high school diploma or less.

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Woe for stores as shoppers look elsewhere for inspiration

NEW YORK (AP) - More shoppers are looking to social media or curated selections for fashion inspiration. That adds to the woes of mall-based stores, as people are already buying fewer clothes, spending online or at discounters when they do, and demanding more personal and convenient ways to buy.

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WikiLeaks: CIA hacked Apple devices in ways users can't fix

New documents from WikiLeaks point to an apparent CIA program to hack Apple's iPhones and Mac computers in ways users couldn't disable by resetting their devices. Security experts say the exploits are plausible, but suggest they pose little threat to typical users. The techniques typically require physical access to devices, something the CIA would only use for targeted individuals.

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Mickey vs. the tax man: Disney, Universal fight tax bills

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - It takes a lot of land to accommodate theme parks like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - and a hefty purse to pay the property taxes on it. Orlando's famous theme parks have gone to great lengths to cut those tax bills, including placing cows on the land to claim an agriculture exemption. But such tactics haven't worked lately.

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AP sources: US to approve Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senior U.S. officials say the Trump administration will approve the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, ending years of delay for a project that has served as a flashpoint in the national debate about climate change. A State Department recommendation deeming the pipeline in U.S. interests will clear the way for a White House announcement that a presidential permit is being issued to TransCanada to build the $8 billion pipeline.

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Virgin America will be the latest airline brand to disappear

DALLAS (AP) - After much consideration, Alaska Airlines will drop the Virgin America brand. The distinctive airline, with its hip vibe including mood lighting and young, attractive flight attendants, joins US Airways, Continental and others on the list of airline brands that disappeared following a merger.

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Senate votes to undo privacy rules that protect user data

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate moved Thursday to undo Obama-era regulations that would have forced internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to ask customers' permission before using or selling much of their personal information. Senators voted largely along party lines to eliminate the rules. The Federal Communications Commission, then controlled by Democrats, put the regulations in place in October. They're not in effect yet. The House and President Donald Trump must still approve killing the rules.

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Yellen says problems of childhood poverty linger

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says a new Fed survey finds that children who grew up in poverty were twice as likely to struggle with financial challenges later in life. Yellen says the survey found that more than half of young people age 25 to 39 who said they faced worries growing up over such matters as having enough food to eat were currently facing challenges getting by financially.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.49 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,345.96. The Dow lost 4.72 points to 20,656.58. The Nasdaq composite slid 3.95 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,817.69.

U.S. crude oil lost 34 cents to $47.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 8 cents to $50.56 a barrel in London. That pulled energy companies lower.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $1.59 a gallon. Heating oil lost 1 cent to$1.49 a gallon. Natural gas rose 4 cents to $3.05 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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