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Jan 23, 5:26 PM EST

Business Highlights


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Trump move to tax some imports creates its own risks for US

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's decision Tuesday to tax imported solar cells and washing machines is meant to make good on his vow to reverse decades of U.S. support for free trade and to protect American jobs from foreign competition. But the tariffs could heighten tensions between the United States and its trading partners, slow the fast-growing U.S. solar-installation business and raise prices for American consumers.

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CEO says company working to stop 'Tide pod challenge'

NEW YORK (AP) - P&G says it's working to stop the "Tide Pod challenge," a social media-fueled trend in which teenagers eat single-load laundry detergent packets. Poison control authorities have warned of a spike in teenagers eating the detergent pods, which it says can cause seizures and even death. CEO David Taylor called the trend "dangerous" and says the company is working with social media companies to remove videos of people biting into the pods.

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Tesla proposes big payout if Musk meets lofty goals

DETROIT (AP) - Elon Musk is known for his bold predictions on electric and self-driving cars. Now his pay could depend on whether those predictions come true. Under a new all-or-nothing pay package, Musk would remain at Tesla Inc. for the next decade and see his compensation tied to ambitious growth targets.

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Hope, fear as Puerto Rico moves to privatize power company

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - One of the largest public utilities in the U.S. might soon be up for sale, but many wonder who would want to buy a power company that is $9 billion in debt and has an infrastructure nearly three times older than the industry average. Concerns also are growing about whether plans to privatize Puerto Rico's power company will translate into more affordable electric bills and better service, with people saying they cannot afford another financial blow as they try to recover from Hurricane Maria.

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As US birthrates drop, Kimberly-Clark feels the pinch

DALLAS (AP) - Americans are having fewer babies and diaper makers are feeling the pinch. Kimberly-Clark said Tuesday it will cut as many as 5,500 jobs, or 13 percent of its workforce, in an attempt to lower costs. The job cuts come as the maker of Huggies and Kleenex - along with other consumer-products companies - is seeing a decline in demand for some core products as U.S. birthrates fall.

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Apple poised to expand into speaker market with HomePod

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple is finally ready to launch its attempt to compete with the internet-connected speakers made by Amazon and Google with the release of its long-awaited HomePod. Pre-orders for the HomePod will begin Friday in the U.S, U.K. and Australia, two weeks before the speaker goes on sale in stores for $349. It will be trying to upstage Amazon's Echo and Google's Home speakers. All feature voice-activated assistants to help people manage their homes and lives.

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United beats Street 4Q forecasts

CHICAGO (AP) - United Airlines is reversing a long slide in average prices and increasing its profit. The company says it earned $580 million in the fourth quarter of last year, a 46 percent increase from a year ago despite higher fuel prices. The results beat Wall Street's expectations. Like its rivals, United is benefiting from strong demand for travel, which is filling more seats.

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Davos diplomacy scene not exactly a natural fit for Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) - The diplomacy scene that President Donald Trump will encounter at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week isn't exactly a natural fit for the "America First" standard-bearer. The glitzy annual gathering at a Swiss Alpine resort has, for nearly 50 years, drawn politicians, CEOs and celebrities to ponder public policy and global cooperation. Trump will be the star attraction this year. The Diet Coke-loving, steak-with-ketchup-eating nationalist has railed against international trade practices.

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Tech and consumer-focused companies rise; Netflix leaps

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks rise again as technology and consumer-focused companies climb, with Netflix soaring after it gained more than 8 million subscribers in the fourth quarter. Consumer goods makers like Johnson & Johnson take losses. U.S. solar power companies wobble and appliance maker Whirlpool climbs after President Donald Trump approved tariffs on imported solar-energy and washing machine components.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 6.16 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,839.13. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 3.79 points to 26,210.81. The Nasdaq composite jumped 52.26 points, or 0.7 percent, to 7,460.29. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 5.54 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,610.71.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 90 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $64.47 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 93 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $69.96 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.91 a gallon. Heating oil added 3 cents to $2.09 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 22 cents, or 6.8 percent, to $3.44 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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