Business Highlights

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US hits Venezuela with oil sanctions to press Maduro exit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on the state-owned oil company of Venezuela, a potentially critical economic move aimed at increasing pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to cede power to the opposition in the South American nation. The move is also aimed at boosting Maduro's rival, opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom the administration recognized last week as Venezuela's legitimate leader.

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US charges Chinese tech giant Huawei, top executive

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is filing charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei. A 13-count indictment was unsealed Monday in New York charging Huawei, two of its affiliates and a top executive at the company. The charges include bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

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For young investors, jumpy market presents first big test

NEW YORK (AP) — After basking in the longest bull market on record, young investors got their first taste of a severe downturn at the end of last year, when the S&P 500 plunged nearly 20 percent. The fear was that these inexperienced investors would panic, sell their stocks and lock in the losses. But many millennials defied that prediction. They not only held steady but saw the declines as an opportunity to buy more stocks at lower prices.

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Fed likely to send reassuring note of patience on rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chairman Jerome Powell is likely to refer this week to a word he's been using to describe the Federal Reserve's latest approach to interest rates: "Patient." With pressures on the economy rising, the Powell Fed has signaled that it's in no hurry to resume raising rates after having done so four times in 2018. And with inflation remaining tame, the rationale to tighten credit has become less compelling.

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Treasury lifts sanctions against 3 Russian companies

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department is lifting sanctions on three companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The move comes despite an effort in Congress to block the action with many lawmakers concerned the Trump administration is not being tough enough on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies.

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Presidential standoff may worsen Venezuelans' misery

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Trump administration's recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president is being touted by the U.S. as the only way to restore the country's democracy. But the high-risk strategy, if it fails to force Nicolas Maduro from power, could end up ushering in an economic catastrophe as the socialist government is blocked from accessing overseas oil revenues at a time Venezuelans are already suffering from widespread shortages and hyperinflation.

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Shutdown halted crash probes, could cost critical evidence

DETROIT (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board says the partial government shutdown stopped it from sending investigators to 22 accidents involving 30 deaths. The agency says it will now begin investigations, but evidence may have been lost that could prevent finding a cause.

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Big donors on the sidelines in early days of 2020 primary

WASHINGTON (AP) — The presidential primary is jolting to life without a traditional mainstay: Donors. More specifically, their contribution checks. More than 20 Democrats could be running for the White House. But the money race in the early days of the primary is largely frozen. While some donors have a preferred candidate, often the ones who are spending are spreading their money across the field to hedge their bets. More often, they're staying on the sidelines until the contours of the primary take shape.

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Nissan says it's 'cooperating fully' with inquiry by US SEC

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. says it has received an inquiry from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said in a brief statement Monday that it was "cooperating fully" with the SEC. It gave no further details. The statement followed reports by both Japanese and foreign media that the SEC was considering investigating Nissan over its pay to executives in the United States. Nissan's ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn is facing charges of falsifying financial statements and breach of trust in Japan.

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Stocks slide as slow growth in China weighs on earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes sank Monday after twin announcements highlighted how much China's slowing economic growth is hurting profits for U.S. companies. Wall Street had already been fixated on the effects of China's slowdown, particularly with trade tensions high between Washington and Beijing, and the announcements sent the technology and industrial sectors to sharp losses.

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The S&P 500 finished down 20.91 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,643.85. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 208.98 points, or 0.8 percent, to 24,528.22, the Nasdaq composite lost 79.18, or 1.1 percent, to 7,085.68 and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks dropped 9.32 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,473.54.

U.S. crude oil fell 3.2 percent to settle at $51.99 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 2.8 percent to $59.93 per barrel. Wholesale gasoline fell 4.1 percent to $1.33 a gallon. Heating oil lost 2.9 percent to $1.84 a gallon and natural gas dropped 8.4 percent to $2.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.