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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Medicare, Social Security face shaky fiscal futures

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new report by the government's overseers of Medicare and Social Security urges lawmakers to "take action sooner rather than later" to address shortfalls in the financial condition of the government's bedrock retirement programs for middle- and working-class Americans. The report says Medicare is headed toward insolvency by 2026. Social Security would become insolvent in 2035, though that is one year later than previously estimated.

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'Thrones' is ending, but will live on in merchandise

NEW YORK (AP) -- From wine to clothing to tours, HBO and retailers have cashed in through the years with "Game of Thrones" merchandise. "Thrones" is not only a huge international show but also a massive business, with all sides hoping to pad the bank during the show's eighth and final season. Products also include makeup, beer, toy collectibles and even high fashion collaborations.

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Herman Cain withdraws from consideration for Fed, Trump says

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump says that Herman Cain has withdrawn from consideration for a seat on the Federal Reserve's board amid a focus on past scandals and doubts about his qualifications for the role. Cain is a former CEO of Godfather's Pizza who dropped out of the 2012 presidential race as he faced allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity. The issues resurfaced after Trump said he intended to nominate Cain to the central bank's board of governors.

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Trump, business organization sue Democratic House chairman

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump and his business organization have sued the Democratic chairman of the House oversight committee to block a subpoena that seeks years of the president's financial records. Rep. Elijah Cummings issued the subpoena earlier this month. The complaint says the subpoena seeks to investigate events that occurred before Trump was president. Cummings says the complaint "reads more like political talking points than a reasoned legal brief" and has a litany of inaccurate information.

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Home sales fall 4.9% in slow start to spring buying season

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sales of existing U.S. homes slipped in March after a huge gain the previous month, held back partly by a sharp slowdown among the most expensive properties. The National Association of Realtors says home sales fell 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million, down from 5.48 million in February.

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Samsung delays folding phone launch after breaking issues

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Samsung is pushing back this week's planned public launch of its highly anticipated, $2000 folding phone after reports that reviewers' phones were breaking. The company had been planning to release the Galaxy Fold on Friday, but instead it will now run more tests and announce a new launch date in the "coming weeks." The delay is a setback for Samsung and for the smartphone market generally, which had been pinning hopes on the folding phone as a way to catalyze creativity in the industry.

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Kraft Heinz CEO stepping down, Patricio named successor

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Kraft Heinz Co. has named a new CEO as it struggles to remain relevant amid changing American tastes. The company said Monday that Miguel Patricio, a longtime executive at Anheuser-Busch InBev, will replace outgoing CEO Bernardo Hees in July.

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A baseball branding bonanza, and 2 guys helping it happen

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- Across America, a golden age of minor league baseball branding is under way. It's based on a potent combination of creativity and localism. One of the key engines is a California design studio led by two guys who grew up in the shadow of Disneyland. They have been friends since kindergarten and are committed to using baseball to help tell the stories of American communities.

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Back to Earth: Washington set to allow 'human composting'

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Washington state appears set to become the first U.S state to allow a burial alternative known as natural organic reduction. It's also called human composting and is an accelerated process of decomposition that turns a body into soil in weeks. The process involves using wood chips, alfalfa and straw with a body place in a temperature and moisture-controlled vessel. The end result is about a cubic yard of soil per body that can be stored or used to help plants and trees grow.

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US stock indexes end mostly lower after listless trading day

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street capped a day of mostly sideways trading Monday with a slight gain for the benchmark S&P 500 index, as a spike in crude oil prices sent energy companies broadly higher. Energy stocks climbed as the price of crude oil hit its highest level since October after the U.S. government moved to further block Iranian oil exports. Even with the surge in energy stocks, losses in banks, real estate companies and elsewhere in the market led to a mostly lower finish for the major U.S. indexes.

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The S&P 500 rose 2.94 points, or 0.1%, to 2,907.97. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.49 points, or 0.2%, to 26,511.05. The Nasdaq composite gained 17.20 points, or 0.2%, to 8,015.27. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks dropped 5.70 points, or 0.4%, to 1,560.04.