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US economy grew at solid 2.6 percent rate in fourth quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) – Strong consumer spending and a big rebound in home construction helped the economy grow at a solid pace of 2.6 percent in the final three months of last year. It followed gains of a little more than 3 percent in the second and third quarters. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tells CNBC that the modest slowdown is just a short-term aberration. The fourth-quarter growth was spurred by a 3.8 percent surge in spending by consumers. Business investment in new plants and equipment was also strong.


US trade court rules against Boeing in dispute with Canada

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. International Trade Commission delivered a defeat to Boeing, ruling that the aircraft manufacturing giant has not been harmed by competition from Canada’s Bombardier. The unanimous decision effectively blocks the Commerce Department’s plans to slap 292 percent tariffs on Bombardier. The department ruled last year that the Canadian firm had unfairly received government subsidies and sold its C series planes at artificially low prices in the United States. The trade panel disagreed.


Wynn shaken by sexual misconduct allegations against founder

NEW YORK (AP) – Wynn Resorts is denying multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault by its founder Steve Wynn, describing it as a smear campaign related to divorce proceedings from his ex-wife. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that a number of women say they were harassed or assaulted by the casino mogul. One case led to a $7.5 million to settlement with a manicurist. The detailed report describes accounts from several female employees.


Relations between Trump, global elites seem to thaw at Davos

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) – The relationship between President Donald Trump and the global elites assembled in Davos seemed to thaw during the nationalist president’s appearance at the World Economic Forum. Critics had speculated that the president would function as a protectionist bull in the free-trade-loving china shop. While there were scattered protests, the president’s visit also brought him praise from allies, a reception in his honor and a fawning dinner with European business executives.


Trump declares America open for business under his tenure

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) – President Donald Trump is declaring that America is open for business under his leadership. Playing the role of economic cheerleader, Trump told a gathering of political and business elites Friday that the economic growth taking place in the U.S. due to his “America first” agenda also benefits the rest of the world. Trump says American prosperity has created countless jobs around the world.


US hits Ukraine separatists, Russia officials with sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration is punishing 21 people and nine companies with sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. The Treasury Department says 11 of the individuals are Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists. The sanctions came as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Friday with Ukraine’s president in Davos, Switzerland.


US government forecasts tourism growth despite recent slump

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Department of Commerce is forecasting an 18.5 percent growth in international tourism to the U.S. through 2022 despite a slump in international visitation in the last two years. The department released a report Friday. A chart from the department’s National Travel and Tourism Office forecasts growth every year through 2022, with projections up from 75.1 million international visitors last year to 89 million in 2022.


Trump immigration plan draws criticism from top Senate Dem

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate’s top Democrat is casting President Donald Trump’s immigration proposal as a “wish list” for immigration opponents. The plan is continuing to draw harsh reviews from Democrats and some conservatives. That’s left its impact on congressional talks uncertain. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is expressing satisfaction that Trump had provided some clarity to his immigration goals. But he says the plan is a wish list for ‘anti-immigration hardliners.’


Outdoor gear sales slip as millennials drive shift in habits

DENVER (AP) – Analysts say sales of outdoor equipment are slipping as millennials drive changes in U.S. consumer habits, buying goods that are less specialized and more versatile. NPD Group, a market research company, says millennials are less likely to demand outdoor gear that stands up to extreme conditions. It comes manufacturers and buyers gather in Denver this weekend for the Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show.


Health care, tech and trade hopes lead another stock surge

NEW YORK (AP) – Technology and health care companies help stocks to their biggest gain since March, and investors are pleased President Donald Trump appeared to take a more positive tone on international trade. Chipmaker Intel and drugmaker AbbVie jump. Bond prices fall, sending yields higher. Allegations of sexual assault and harassment against casino mogul Steve Wynn hammered shares of Wynn Resorts.


The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 33.62 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,872.87, its biggest gain since March 1. The Dow Jones industrial average added 223.92 points, or 0.8 percent, to 26,616.71. The Nasdaq composite rose 94.61 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,505.77. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 6.39 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,608.06.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 63 cents, or 1 percent, to $66.14 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 10 cents to $70.52 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline picked up 2 cents to $1.94 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $2.14 a gallon. Natural gas rose 9 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $3.53 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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