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Business Highlights

The Associated Press


What the first Republican health care plan means for you

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Health insurance shoppers may wind up with more options to choose from but less help buying a policy under a new Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act. A plan unveiled Monday in the House of Representatives shifts more responsibility for finding affordable coverage to the individual, and away from the government. Whether the plan becomes law is far from a sure thing — it immediately drew criticism across the political spectrum, and it could change or fail as it makes its way through Congress.


WikiLeaks: CIA has targeted everyday gadgets for snooping

NEW YORK (AP) -- Documents released by WikiLeaks allege a CIA surveillance program that targets everyday gadgets ranging from smart TVs to smartphones to cars. Such snooping, WikiLeaks said, could turn some of these devices into recorders of everyday conversations — and could also circumvent data-scrambling encryption on communications apps such as Facebook's WhatsApp. WikiLeaks is, for now, withholding details on the specific hacks used.


AP FACT CHECK: How Trump's Keystone XL story fell apart

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's vow that the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines would only proceed if they used U.S.-manufactured pipes and steel has vaporized. He had claimed that moments before signing orders to advance the projects, he'd come up with the idea of insisting on a buy-America provision. But that didn't happen. The White House has said Keystone XL is exempt from a directive on U.S. materials. And the Dakota Access pipeline is almost ready to transport oil.


US trade deficit jumps to 5-year high of $48.5 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. trade deficit jumped in January to $48.5 billion, the highest level in nearly five years as a flood of cell phones and other consumer products boosted America's trade gap with China. The rising deficits underscored the challenges facing President Donald Trump in fulfilling his campaign pledges to tackle America's trade problems.


Losses for drugmakers, hospitals pull stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks declined for the third time in four days on Tuesday as health care companies took center stage. Drugmakers fell after President Donald Trump said he wants to bring drug prices down. Insurers rose and hospital companies dropped after Republicans in Congress introduced a bill intended to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act.


Trump set to roll back federal fuel-economy requirements

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Trump administration is moving to roll back federal fuel-economy requirements that would have forced automakers to significantly increase the efficiency of new cars and trucks. The rules were a key part of former President Barack Obama's strategy to combat global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency is close to announcing a reversal on a decision made in the waning days of the Obama administration to lock in strict gas mileage requirements for cars and light trucks through 2025.


Saudi energy minister keeping close eye on US oil producers

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Saudi energy minister says OPEC production cuts are working so far, but he's watching how US producers respond to higher crude prices. Strong US production would undercut OPEC. Khalid Al-Falih says his country will look at oil supply and the support of other OPEC members before deciding whether to extend production cuts beyond this summer.


Harvard dropout Zuckerberg to address grads at alma mater

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Mark Zuckerberg is headed back to Harvard, but this time he'll be giving the commencement speech. Harvard announced Tuesday that the Facebook CEO and Harvard dropout was chosen to address students at a May 25 graduation ceremony. President Drew Faust said Zuckerberg "has profoundly altered the nature of social engagement worldwide." Zuckerberg went to Harvard as a student in 2002 but left after his sophomore year to pursue his company.


Uber to hire chief operating officer to help embattled CEO

NEW YORK (AP) -- Embattled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says the company will hire a chief operating officer who can partner with him to write its "next chapter."

The ride-hailing company has been hit by a series of controversies, including allegations that it routinely ignores sexual harassment, and a video of Kalanick profanely berating a driver who confronted him about steep cuts in Uber's rates for a premium version of its service. After the video surfaced, Kalanick apologized and said he needs "leadership help." The 40-year-old executive also said he needs to "grow up."


US credit card debt shrinks in January

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Consumers pulled back on credit card debt in January, leading to the smallest increase in consumer borrowing in more than four years. Total borrowing rose $8.8 billion in January compared to an increase of $14.8 billion in December, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday. It was the smallest monthly gain since borrowing only went up $7.6 billion in July 2012.

The slowdown reflected a big reduction in the category that covers credit card debt, which fell $3.8 billion in January. It marked the first time credit card debt has declined since February 2016 and was the biggest reduction since October 2010.


The Dow Jones industrial average slid 29.58 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,924.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 6.92 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,368.39. The Nasdaq composite gave up 15.25 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,833.93.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 6 cents to $53.14 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 9 cents to $55.92 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.68 a gallon. Heating oil added 1 cent to $1.61 a gallon. Natural gas fell 8 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $2.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.