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Business Highlights

The Associated Press


Doubts grow over stock market's Trump-inspired surge

NEW YORK (AP) -- How much more can the "Trump Bump" lift the stock market?

U.S. stocks have screamed to records since Election Day because investors are expecting Donald Trump's White House to cut taxes for business, make regulations easier for them and goose more growth out of the economy. But investors around the world are questioning whether the rally is exhausting itself. The big jump for stocks has come at a time when some investors had already seen markets as overpriced. Plus, skeptics see cause for caution with a president who prides himself on unpredictability. That has some favoring bonds or stocks from other countries over the U.S. stock market.


US stocks eke out last-minute gain as utilities rise

NEW YORK (AP) -- A late push helped U.S. stocks finish higher Friday after indexes spent most of the day lower. There was far more selling than buying on Wall Street overall, but the Dow Jones industrial average managed to extend its winning streak to an 11th day.


US new-home sales rise in sign of housing market health

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans bought more new homes in January, after a steep fall-off the previous month, a sign the housing market is healthy despite higher mortgage rates. The Commerce Department says new home sales rose 3.7 percent to a seasonally-adjusted 555,000.


VW makes $5.4 billion profit in 2016, limits executive pay

BERLIN (AP) -- Volkswagen says it bounced back into the black in 2016 after suffering a loss the previous year due to the diesel emissions scandal. The German automaker reported a net profit attributable to VW shareholders of 5.1 billion euros ($5.4 billion) compared with a net loss of almost 1.6 billion euros in 2015.


Trump tower opens in Vancouver but the welcome isn't warm

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- A gleaming new Trump International Hotel and Tower that rises above the Vancouver skyline has divided a city famous for its natural beauty and diversity. The 69-story tower has drawn praise for its sleek, twisting design. Prices for the condominiums have set records. But the politics of President Donald Trump have caused such outrage that the mayor won't attend the grand opening next week and has lobbied for a name change.


Greece's Tsipras: the era of austerity is over

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras paints a positive picture of future reforms Greece has agreed to take after its current third international bailout ends, insisting they mark an end to austerity. Speaking in parliament during prime minister's question time, Tsipras described the deal reached Monday as an "exceptional success" and said it showed the country's creditors accepted Greece's insistence that it could no longer bear any further austerity.


New Jersey OKs gas pipeline through protected Pinelands

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey environmental regulators have approved a plan to run a natural gas pipeline through a federally protected forest preserve. The vote Friday to approve South Jersey Gas company's plan came amid raucous protests that included drums, tambourines and choruses of "This Land Is Your Land."


Sharp vision: New glasses help the legally blind see

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- After spending the past decade and $32 million working on the technology, a Canadian company is releasing a sleek version of electronic glasses that enable the legally blind to see. To fulfill its vision, eSight probably will have to find a way to make its $10,000 glasses more affordable for a target market that typically doesn't make a lot of money.


Agency plans to award Mexico border wall contracts by April

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April for President Donald Trump's proposed border wall. The agency says on a website for federal contactors that a request for bids would be published on or around March 6. Companies would have to submit "concept papers" to design and build prototypes by March 10.


J.C. Penney to shut 130-plus stores, offer early retirements

NEW YORK (AP) -- J.C. Penney says it will close 130 to 140 stores as it aims to improve profitability in the era of online shopping. The closures represent 13 percent to 14 percent of its stores. Penney joins other department stores like Macy's which are shrinking their footprint amid changing shopper behavior.


The Dow Jones industrial average added 11.44 points, or just under 0.1 percent, to 20,821.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 3.53 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,367.34. The Nasdaq composite added 9.80 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,845.31.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 46 cents to $53.99 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, fell 59 cents, or 1 percent, to $55.99 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline declined 1 cent to $1.51 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.64 a gallon. Natural gas picked up 1 cent to $2.63 per 1,000 cubic feet.