- Associated Press - Thursday, May 17, 2018


US is running out of time on NAFTA while confronting China

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump’s team is running out of time to rewrite a trade pact with Canada and Mexico this year just as it’s confronting China and sparring with its allies over U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. If negotiators can’t agree on a revamped the North American Free Trade Agreement soon, the talks could drag into 2019. Or Trump could carry out his threat to abandon the agreement and throw commerce among the three NAFTA countries into disarray.


Lowest US birth rate in 3 decades could pose risk to economy

WASHINGTON (AP) - Women in the United States gave birth last year at the lowest rate in 30 years, a trend that could weigh on economic growth in the coming years. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics says the number of U.S. babies born last year fell 2 percent from 2016 to 3.85 million, also a 30-year low.


Website flaw exposes real-time locations of US cellphones

NEW YORK (AP) - A website flaw at a U.S. company that gathers real-time data on cellular wireless devices could have allowed anyone to pinpoint the location of any AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile cellphone in the United States to within hundreds of yards, a security researcher said. It’s the latest instance to highlight how easily location information can leak to unauthorized people.


EU to Trump: Stop threatening us with tariffs

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) - The European Union has called on U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to stop threatening it with tariffs on steel and aluminum, saying Thursday it is prepared to discuss new trade incentives. In March, Trump slapped tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum, but granted the 28 EU countries a temporary exemption until June 1.


Critics say US sugar program a sour deal for consumers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Food processors, soft drink manufacturers and candy makers are squaring off against the U.S. sugar industry in a familiar battle over a program that props up sugar prices. The battle over the sugar program, a web of price supports, loans and tariffs that critics say rips off consumers, is one of the key battles in this year’s farm bill, a five-year renewal of federal farm and nutrition policy that always proves to be a headache for Republicans controlling Congress.


Gambling, tech firms scramble for foothold in sports betting

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - The anticipation of legal sports gambling throughout the United States has prompted a flurry of deals among gambling and technology firms who want a foothold in a market worth billions. Casinos, race tracks, daily fantasy sports companies and others are itching to offer bets in person and online after the Supreme Court ruled Monday that states could begin allowing wagers. That’s led companies all over the world to seek ways to team up.


JC Penney outlook spooks Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) - J.C. Penney blamed weak clothing sales on bad spring weather and said it would offer more plus-size fashions to try and boost sales. The company also cut its earnings outlook for the year and its stock tumbled 14 percent Thursday.


Alaska fishermen: Sea otter comeback is eating into profits

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Northern sea otters have made a spectacular comeback by gobbling some of Alaska’s finest seafood - and fishermen aren’t happy about the competition. The furry marine mammals were once hunted to the brink of extinction along Alaska’s Panhandle. Their numbers rebounded after the state’s wildlife agency reintroduced them to their historic range in the 1960s. Now, a southeast Alaska dive fisheries association says sea otters are eating up shellfish and threatening the livelihood of its 200 members.


US stocks end choppy day slightly lower amid trade jitters

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stock indexes closed slightly lower Thursday after a day of mostly choppy trading, wiping out some of the market’s gains from a day earlier. Technology stocks took some of the worst losses. Small-company stocks fared better than the rest of the market. The indexes veered solidly into the red by late afternoon ahead of a new round of trade talks between the U.S. and China. The countries have threatened tariffs on each other.


The S&P 500 index slipped 2.33 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,720.13. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 54.95 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,713.98. The Nasdaq composite fell 15.82 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,382.47. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 8.92 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,625.29.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil ended flat at $71.49 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oil, rose 2 cents to close at $79.30 a barrel in London. Heating oil rose a penny to $2.28 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline fell a penny to $2.24 a gallon. Natural gas gained 4 cents to $2.89 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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