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Business Highlights

By: The Associated Press, Associated Press
May 23, 2018 Updated: May 23, 2018 at 4:47 pm
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Trump appears to raise new doubts about US-China trade deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is casting doubt on the prospects for talks that are designed to head off a trade war between the United States and China. He also predicts that automakers and autoworkers would be "very happy" with the outcome of talks to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

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Judge: President can't block critics on Twitter

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge in New York says President Donald Trump cannot block his critics on Twitter without violating the First Amendment. Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald issued the written decision Wednesday. In ruling, she said no government official — including the president — is above the law. The ruling came in a case brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and individuals who'd been blocked by Trump after criticizing him.

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Congress OKs Trump bid to widen private care at besieged VA

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress delivered a victory to President Donald Trump by expanding private care for veterans as an alternative to the troubled Veterans Affairs health system. The sweeping measure would allow veterans to see private doctors when they do not receive the treatment they expected, with the approval of a VA health provider. Veterans could access private care such as when they endured lengthy wait times. The bill also would avert a disastrous shutdown of the Choice private-sector program.

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Uber ends self-driving program in Arizona after fatal crash

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber is pulling its self-driving cars out of Arizona, a reversal triggered by the recent death of woman who was run over by one of the ride-hailing service's robotic vehicles while crossing a darkened street in a Phoenix suburb. The decision announced Wednesday means Uber won't be bringing back its self-driving cars to the streets to Arizona, eliminating the jobs of about 300 people who served as backup drivers and performed other jobs connected to robotic vehicles.

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Trump eager to sign bill rolling back Dodd-Frank regulations

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he is eager to sign a bill that will dismantle a chunk of the landmark Dodd-Frank act that grew out of the 2008 financial collapse. A day after the House voted to approve the bill, Trump tweeted Wednesday: "Big legislation will be signed by me shortly." He cited "big changes to DODD FRANK." The bill raises the threshold at which banks are deemed so big and plugged into the financial grid that if one were to fail it would cause major havoc.

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Comcast v. Disney: a fight for Twenty-First Century Fox

NEW YORK (AP) — Comcast and Disney are on the verge of a head-to-head bidding war for Fox's entertainment properties. The potential battle for Twenty-First Century Fox comes as traditional entertainment companies try to amass more properties to compete better with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers' attention — and dollars.

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Vegas workers' vote to authorize strike pressures casinos

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Two casino companies facing the threat of a strike from housekeepers, bartenders, servers and other key employees saw their shares slide. Other gaming-affiliated companies also are under pressure Wednesday. About 25,000 members of the Culinary Union have voted to authorize a strike at any time starting June 1. MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. say they expect to resolve pay and other issues. A walkout could hobble the city's world-famous resorts.

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Maker of candy hearts and Necco Wafers sold at auction

BOSTON (AP) — The bankrupt maker of Necco Wafers, Sweethearts conversation hearts and other beloved American candies has a new owner. The Ohio-based Spangler Candy Co. had the winning $18.83 million bid for the New England Confectionery Co. at a federal bankruptcy auction in Boston. Spangler Candy Co. makes Dum Dums lollipops. Interest in Necco has focused on its "sugar line" of chalky wafers and candy hearts. The fate of its chocolate Sky Bar and Clark bar remains unclear.

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France's Macron takes on Facebook's Zuckerberg in tech push

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron is taking on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other internet giants at a Paris meeting to discuss personal data protection and taxes as France pushes for tougher European regulations. The conference comes as Facebook, Google and other online giants are increasingly seen by the public as predators that abuse personal data and avoid taxes. Macron, who also met privately with Zuckerberg, said beforehand that he ask the Facebook co-founder to make "commitments."

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Stocks are mixed after Fed minutes and Europe worries

NEW YORK (AP) — US stocks are narrowing their losses as investors are pleased that the Federal Reserve didn't appear to be in a hurry to raise interest rates at its meeting earlier this month. Bond prices rise and European stocks fall on worries about the European economy. Target declines after big investments in its operations cut into its profit, but other retailers including Lowe's, Tiffany and Ralph Lauren rally.

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The S&P 500 index rose 8.85 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,733.29. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 52.40 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,886.81. The Nasdaq composite climbed 47.50 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,425.96. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 2.37 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,627.61.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 0.5 percent to $71.84 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 0.3 percent to $79.80 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 0.4 percent to $2.26 a gallon. Heating oil rose 0.4 percent to $2.29 a gallon. Natural gas added 0.2 percent to $2.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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