Business Highlights

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Stocks edge higher as a 3-day win streak restores some calm

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks shake off a slow start and finish higher for the third day in a row as banks and technology companies climb. Retailers including Under Armour and Amazon also made gains. Prescription drug and medical supply companies fell. The Wall Street Journal reported Walgreens is interested in buying the rest of pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen. The Federal Trade Commission is suing three dental suppliers and accuses them of violating antitrust law. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower.

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Trump's high-spending budget reverses longtime GOP dogma

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's own budget director says if he were a still a member of Congress he probably wouldn't vote for the very budget plan he hawked Tuesday before to the Senate Budget Committee. Mick Mulvaney told the panel that he "probably would have found enough shortcomings in this to vote against it." The $4.4 trillion budget plan released Monday would put the government on track to run trillion-dollar deficits for the next few years.

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Trump considering 'all options' on steel, aluminum cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is looking for advice from a range of lawmakers as he considers whether to impose trade sanctions on aluminum and steel imports. The president is meeting at the White House with nearly 20 lawmakers, including a number of senators representing Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. Trump says the administration is "considering all options" but he's considering issuing "tariffs and/or quotas."

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Is inflation rising as investors fear? 5 ways to keep track

WASHINGTON (AP) — After nearly a decade of being all but invisible, inflation — or the fear of it — is back. Tentative signs have emerged that prices could accelerate in coming months. Pay raises may be picking up a bit. Commodities such as oil and aluminum have grown more expensive. Cellphone plans are likely to appear costlier.

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Federal vote-protection efforts lag ahead of first primaries

The first primaries of the 2018 elections are less than a month away, but efforts to safeguard the vote against expected Russian interference are lagging. The government has only completed five of 14 "vulnerability assessments" asked for by states, and has been slow to grant security clearances to senior state election officials. To assist, a bipartisan group at Harvard's Kennedy Center is releasing "playbooks" designed to help local officials secure their election systems.

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Gates turns attention toward poverty, growing inequity in US

KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) — The world's foremost philanthropists, Bill and Melinda Gates, say they're turning some of their attention to American poverty issues. The couple said in an interview with The Associated Press that they're studying race, incarceration, housing and employment, among other issues. In the Gates Foundation's annual letter, the Microsoft co-founder also acknowledges that those layers of poverty are tightly intertwined with how children are able to learn, their top funding priority in the U.S.

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Powell pledges to remain alert to emerging stability risks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the global economy is recovering strongly for the first time in a decade, but the central bank needs to remain alert to any emerging risks to financial stability. Powell says the central bank is in the process of "gradually" raising interest rates and trimming its massive holdings of Treasury bonds.

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Chipotle looks to fast-food chain Taco Bell for next CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — Chipotle has named Taco Bell executive Brian Niccol as its next CEO. Niccol, who will start at Chipotle next month, will be tasked with helping turn around the burrito chain, which has been struggling to turn its business around after a series of food safety scares. Niccol has been CEO of Yum Brands Inc.'s Taco Bell chain for three years.

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Apple CEO leaves investors dangling on future dividend hike

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook is leaving shareholders in suspense about whether the iPhone maker will use its windfall from a tax cut on overseas profits for a big boost to its quarterly dividend. A stockholder attending Apple's annual meeting Tuesday asked if Apple might double its quarterly dividend from the current 63 cents per share. Cook said Apple's board intends to raise the dividend in April, but he didn't providing specifics.

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Trump: Gut funding for climate science, boost fossil fuels

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is targeting federal funding for studying and tracking climate change while boosting the continued burning of planet-warming fossil fuels. The White House's 2019 spending plan seeks to reduce or eliminate climate science programs across an array of federal agencies, from gutting efforts to track greenhouse gas emissions and research to killing five NASA satellites that study the effects of greenhouse gases.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 6.94 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,662.94. The Dow added 39.18 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,640.45. The Nasdaq composite gained 31.55 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,013.51. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished up 3.97 points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,494.95.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 10 cents to $59.19 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 13 cents to $62.72 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline add 1 cent to $1.69 a gallon. Heating oil stayed at $1.84 a gallon. Natural gas rose 4 cents to $2.59 per 1,000 cubic feet.