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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve took note of a resilient U.S. economy Wednesday by raising its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaling that it may step up its pace of rate increases. The Fed now foresees four rate hikes this year, up from the three it had previously forecast. The action means consumers and businesses will face higher loan rates over time.

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Comcast challenges Disney with $65B bid for Fox

NEW YORK (AP) -- Comcast is making a $65 billion bid for Fox's entertainment businesses, setting up a battle with Disney to become the next mega-media company. The bid comes just a day after a federal judge cleared AT&T's takeover of Time Warner and rejected the government's argument that it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies.

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AT&T antitrust win may herald new wave of media mergers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- AT&T's victory over a federal government attempt to block its $85 billion takeover of Time Warner underscores just how much the way people watch and pay for TV has changed. It also shows how corporate America is adapting to deal with it. In short: Bigger is better. The government argued that the merger would stifle competition and lead to higher cable bills. But a federal judge agreed with AT&T's claim that it had to grow to survive in the era of Google, Amazon and Netflix.

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AP Investigation: Local fish isn't always local

MONTAUK, N.Y. (AP) -- An Associated Press investigation finds that a leading sustainable seafood distributor who promised wild-caught, domestic fish traceable back to a dock has been duping chefs across the U.S. Reporters traced the supply chain of New York-based Sea To Table to migrant fishermen in foreign waters who described labor abuses, poaching and the slaughter of sharks, whales and dolphins.

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White House defends allowing China's ZTE to buy US parts

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House is defending its decision to allow Chinese telecom giant ZTE to buy component parts from the U.S. Spokesman Hogan Gidley on Wednesday pointed to "massive penalties" imposed on ZTE after the company was accused of violating sanctions. The company agreed to pay a $1 billion penalty and replace its top managers as part of the deal. Gidley says the changes ensure ZTE pays for its violations and gives the U.S. government "complete oversight" of its activity.

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Auto workers union picks Gary Jones as new president

DETROIT (AP) -- Members of the United Auto Workers union have elected regional director Gary Jones as the organization's new president. Jones was picked in a roll-call vote Wednesday at the union's 2018 constitutional convention in Detroit. He'll take over a 400,000-member union that's facing a federal investigation in a corruption scandal involving a worker training center run jointly by Fiat Chrysler and the union. The UAW also has had trouble organizing at factories in the South run by foreign-based automakers. But its finances have stabilized under President Dennis Williams, who is retiring.

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Trump declares oil prices too high, blames OPEC

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump blames OPEC for oil prices that he says are too high, and no doubt many Americans feel the same way. But it's more complicated than that. Crude has more than doubled since bottoming out below $30 a barrel in early 2016, causing U.S. motorists to face the highest gasoline prices since late 2014. Prices, however, were already rising on growing demand and expectations that a sharp pullback in new investment by oil companies would reduce the oil supply.

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Host of new worries pushes bitcoin to 4-month low

NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of bitcoin has fallen to a four-month low of $6,370, days after South Korean virtual currency exchange Coinrail said hackers had stolen over $37 million, or almost a third of the virtual currency it had stored. Regulatory issues and questions about price manipulation also weigh on the digital currency.

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Stocks slip after Fed says interest rates will rise faster

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks finish lower after the Federal Reserve raises interest rates for the second time this year and says it expects to increase rates two more times this year. Companies in the media and telecommunications industries react to the approval of AT&T's $85 billion deal for Time Warner. Twenty-First Century Fox jumped as investors anticipated Comcast's offer for several Twenty-First Century Fox businesses, which came after the close of trading.

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The S&P 500 index fell 11.22 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,775.63. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 119.53 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,201.20. The Nasdaq composite slipped 8.09 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,695.70. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 5.76 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,676.54.points.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.4 percent to $66.64 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 1.1 percent to $76.74 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline added 1.7 percent to $2.13 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 1.1 percent to $2.19 a gallon. Natural gas advanced 0.8 percent to $2.97 per 1,000 cubic feet.