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Business Highlights

The Associated Press


Survey: US manufacturing activity increased in March

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. manufacturers grew at a faster pace in March, as the pace of employment jumped and new orders and production improved. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, says that its manufacturing index rose to 55.3 last month, up from 54.2 in February. Readings above 50 point toward an expansion in manufacturing.


UK Parliament seeks new options on Brexit

LONDON (AP) -- Britain's Parliament is seeking a way out of the country's Brexit morass, voting on a series of measures that could soften or reverse the U.K.'s departure from the European Union. With just 12 days until the U.K. must come up with a new plan or crash out of the bloc in chaos, the House of Commons is considering four alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May's unpopular Brexit deal.


Brexit is hurting travel industry, airline warns

LONDON (AP) -- Discount airline easyJet has warned that the U.K.'s pending withdrawal from the European Union is causing travelers to hold back on booking tickets. EasyJet said Monday that as a result, its earnings would be weaker in the second half of the year. The news has caused shares in the airline to fall sharply and weighed on the wider sector.


Kellogg sells Keebler and other brands for $1.3 billion

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kellogg is selling Keebler cookies and other brands for $1.3 billion, about $2.6 billion less than it spent on that brand alone 17 years ago. Food producers are trying to find new brands with more growth potential after sweeping shifts in consumer taste, particularly in the U.S. Along with Keebler, the Battle Creek, Michigan, company said Monday that it will sell Mother's and Famous Amos cookie brands.


US safety agency opens probes into Hyundai and Kia fires

DETROIT (AP) -- The U.S. government's highway safety watchdog has decided to open two investigations into fires in Hyundai and Kia vehicles that aren't involved in crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it opened the probe after getting more than 3,100 complaints of fires from consumers and the automakers that included 103 injuries.


Rare glimpse into Saudi Aramco shows $111 billion net profit

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Saudi Aramco's net profits reached $111 billion last year, according to an assessment published by Moody's Investors Services on Monday that offered a rare glimpse into the state-owned oil firm's finances before it issues its first bonds in international markets.


3 bodies found in plane crash that killed Russian tycoon

BERLIN (AP) -- German authorities have recovered the bodies of three people, including one of Russia's richest women, who were killed in a small plane crash near Frankfurt a day earlier. Russian airline S7 Group says co-owner Natalia Fileva was aboard the single-engine, six-seat Epic LT aircraft that crashed and burned in a field as it approached the small airport at Egelsbach near Frankfurt. Russian news reports say Fileva, who co-owned S7 with her husband, had been traveling with her father.


FAA expects Boeing update for troubled jet 'in coming weeks'

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Safety regulators say Boeing needs more time to make changes in an anti-stall systems suspected of playing a role in two deadly crashes. Boeing was expected to finish its work last week, but the Federal Aviation Administration now says it anticipates Boeing's proposed fix "in the coming weeks." Crashes of the Boeing 737 Max in Indonesia and Ethiopia have killed 346 people.


US retail sales declined 0.2% in February

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. retail sales fell in February, as consumers pulled back their spending on building materials, groceries, furniture, electronics and clothing declined amid signs of a slowing economy. The Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales fell 0.2% in February, after posting an upwardly revised gain 0.7% in January. Over the past year, retail sales have roughly kept pace with inflation by increasing a slight 2.2%.


US stocks post solid finish on encouraging economic data

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks closed solidly higher on Wall Street Monday after a batch of encouraging global economic data kept investors in a buying mood. Financial and technology companies powered much of the rally, which extended the market's gains from last week, when the benchmark S&P 500 closed out its best quarter in nearly a decade. In another hopeful sign, long-term bond yields rose above their recent lows, following a sharp drop last month that flashed a possible recession warning, rattling Wall Street.


The S&P 500 gained 32.79 points, or 1.2%, to 2,867.19, notching a three-day winning streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 329.74 points, or 1.3%, to 26,258.42. The Nasdaq composite climbed 99.59 points, or 1.3%, to 7,828.91. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 16.33 points, for a 1.1% gain, to 1,556.06.