Dec 13, 5:49 PM EST

Business Highlights


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GOP says it's got a deal on taxes; cuts coming for next year

WASHINGTON (AP) - Confident congressional Republicans have forged agreement on a major overhaul of the nation's tax laws. It would provide generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans - Donald Trump among them - and deliver the first major legislative accomplishment to the GOP president. Middle- and low-income families would get smaller tax cuts, though Trump and GOP leaders have billed the package as a huge benefit for the middle class.

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Fed rate increase is 3rd this year; foresees 3 more in 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate for the third time this year and foresees three additional hikes in 2018, a vote of confidence that the U.S. economy remains on solid footing 8 years after the end of the Great Recession. The Fed said Wednesday that it's lifting its short-term rate by a modest quarter-point to a still-low range of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent. It is also continuing to slowly shrink its bond portfolio. Together, the two steps could lead over time to higher loan rates for consumers and businesses and slightly better returns for savers.

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Gasoline prices lift US consumer inflation 0.4 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) - Surging gasoline prices pulled U.S. consumer inflation up 0.4 percent in November. The Labor Department says prices at the pump increased a sharp 7.3 percent from October. Excluding the volatile food and energy prices, so-called core consumer inflation rose a modest 0.1 percent in November.

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Target aims to boost same-day delivery by acquiring Shipt

NEW YORK (AP) - Target is planning to boost its same-day delivery capability by paying $550 million for Shipt, its latest move to try to catch up with Amazon. Shipt currently delivers groceries to its members, who pay $99 a year for the service. Target says it will add more products to the service, such as home goods and electronics. Target shoppers will have to make orders through the Shipt app or website and pay the annual membership fee to get same-day delivery.

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Trump condo prices falling in Manhattan, report finds

NEW YORK (AP) - A real estate research firm reports that prices for condos in Trump buildings in Manhattan fell in the first year of the Trump presidency. CityRealty says the average price per square foot for condos sold in Trump-branded buildings in the borough fell 7 percent in the 12 months through November compared to the year earlier. It also found that prices dropped in eight of 11 Trump buildings. The average price per square for all Manhattan condos also fell, but much less - just 1 percent.

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Cellphone company T-Mobile to launch TV service next year

NEW YORK (AP) - T-Mobile is launching a TV service next year, becoming the latest company to marry wireless and video. The service will target people who aren't interested in traditional cable and satellite TV packages. T-Mobile promises to address consumer complaints such as "sky-high bills" and "exploding bundles." The company isn't saying how its upcoming offering would differ from existing online TV alternatives from Hulu, YouTube, Sony, AT&T and Dish.

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Justice Department confirms criminal probe in Uber case

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -A recent letter from the U.S. Attorney's office confirms the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation connected to allegations a former Uber executive stole self-driving car technology from a Google spin-off to help the ride-hailing service build robotic vehicles. The letter unsealed Wednesday by a federal judge marks the Justice Department's first acknowledgement of the probe. Google spin-off Waymo has alleged former executive Anthony Levandowski stole its technology before he joined Uber last year.

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US stocks indexes close mostly higher after Fed rate hike

NEW YORK (AP) - The major U.S. stock indexes finished mostly higher Wednesday, with small companies notching big gains as lawmakers in the House and Senate reached a deal on a sweeping tax reform package. The Dow Jones industrial average eked out its third record-high close in as many days. A last-minute pullback in bank stocks left the Standard & Poor's 500 index slightly lower.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 1.26 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,662.85. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.63 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,585.43. The Nasdaq added 13.48 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,875.80. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 8.33 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,524.45.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 54 cents to settle at $56.60 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 90 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $62.44 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents, or 3 percent, to $1.65 a gallon. Heating oil shed 3 cents to $1.90 a gallon. Natural gas rose 4 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $2.72 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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