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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Stocks end 1Q with solid gains after day of listless trading

Wall Street closed out a solid quarter with a day of listless trading that ended on a soft note. The Standard & Poor's 500 index notched its best three-month stretch since the fourth quarter of 2015. The Nasdaq composite turned in its best quarter since the end of 2013. The S&P 500, Nasdaq and the Dow Jones industrial average ended the day down slightly, with financial companies posting the biggest declines. Real estate companies led the gainers.

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Trump targets trade abuses with executive orders

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump has signed a pair of executive orders focused on reducing the trade deficit just days before he holds his first meeting with his Chinese counterpart. His aides insist the timing is coincidental, but the administration is touting the moves as evidence of it taking an aggressive but analytical approach to closing a trade gap that is largely due to the influx of goods from China. Some experts say the orders suggest the president may be taking a softer tack on trade.

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Privacy concern raised over search service on Verizon phones

NEW YORK (AP) -- A planned app and search service on Verizon's Android phones is raising questions about privacy. Verizon says it may share data on features and services customers use through the AppFlash service as part of delivering targeted ads. But after complaints, Verizon is clarifying that it will seek permission from customers before they use AppFlash, though it's not yet known how clear Verizon will be in doing so.

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US consumer spending up tiny 0.1 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumers increased their spending at the weakest pace in six months, while the 12-month rise in consumer prices was the largest in nearly five years. Consumer spending edged up 0.1 percent in February following a similarly sluggish 0.2 percent increase in January, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

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5 countries launch tax evasion sweep linked to Credit Suisse

GENEVA (AP) -- European authorities are investigating dozens of people suspected of tax evasion and money laundering involving Swiss bank Credit Suisse. Dutch authorities in particular said they had detained two people and seized assets including luxury cars, paintings and even a gold bar in the multi-country sweep.

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3 airliners in near-misses with drones at London's Heathrow

LONDON (AP) -- A new report says three airliners just missed colliding with drones near London's Heathrow Airport. While actual collisions are rare, the number of near-misses has increased dramatically in recent years. The UK Airprox Board says there were 70 near misses between objects identified as drones and aircraft in 2016, compared to 29 in 2015 and 6 in 2014.

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Sale of ex-Trump Taj Mahal casino to Hard Rock is finalized

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- It's official: Atlantic City's former Trump Taj Mahal now belongs to Hard Rock International. The sale of the shuttered casino opened in 1990 by President Donald Trump was finalized Friday. The Florida-based Hard Rock, which manages gambling and resort operations for the Seminole Indian tribe, bought the casino March 1 from billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

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Trump paying $25M after judge approves Trump University deal

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A judge has approved an agreement for President Donald Trump to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits over his now-defunct Trump University. The ruling ends nearly seven years of legal battles with customers who claimed they were misled by failed promises to teach success in real estate. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel said it represents an "extraordinary amount" of money for customers to recover.

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Mnuchin says joke about 'Lego Batman Movie' was mistake

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin may be new to government, but he's learning quickly that it's probably not a good idea to make a joke that could run afoul of government ethics rules. Mnuchin now says it was a mistake for him last week to jokingly urge parents to send their kids to see "The Lego Batman Movie." He was an executive producer of the top-grossing movie, which is still in theaters.

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Farmers to plant record low wheat acres, most soybeans ever

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of acres planted in wheat this year will be the lowest on record and much of that will be planted instead in soybeans, which will be at a record high of 89.5 million acres. Four years of good wheat-growing weather led to a global glut, pushing prices low and making it unprofitable for farmers to grow. Corn has experienced a similar trend. Soybeans have produced large harvests too, but it is a hot commodity around the world.

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McDonald's Canada says its website's jobs section was hacked

TORONTO (AP) -- McDonald's Canada says the jobs section of its website has been hacked, compromising the personal information of about 95,000 applicants over the last three years. The company says the accessed information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, employment histories and other standard job application information.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5.34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,362.72. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 65.27 points, or 0.3 percent, to 20,663.22. The Nasdaq fell 2.61, or 0.04 percent, to 5,911.74.

Benchmark U.S. crude recovered from an early slide to add 25 cents and close at $50.60 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 13 cents to close at $52.83 a barrel in London.

Natural gas held steady at $3.19 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.70 per gallon and heating oil gained 2 cents to $1.57 per gallon.