Business Highlights

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China presses Washington for tariff cut in trade deal

BEIJING (AP) — China is pressing Washington to roll back punitive tariffs in an interim trade deal. A government spokesman says a tariff cut is an “important condition” for the agreement that is part of talks aimed at ending a costly trade war. Beijing said last week U.S. negotiators agreed to roll back some punitive tariffs if an agreement went ahead, but President Donald Trump dismissed that.

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Oklahoma judge reduces J&J order in opioid lawsuit by $107M

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma judge who last summer ordered consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million to help address the state’s opioid crisis is reducing that amount by $107 million in his final order in the case. District Judge Thad Balkman on Friday issued the order directing the company to pay the state $465 million, acknowledging that he miscalculated in his original award how much it would cost to develop a program for treating babies born addicted to opioids.

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Esper defends as fair Pentagon contract disputed by Amazon

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he’s certain the awarding of a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft instead of Amazon was done fairly. Esper was asked about the controversy while visiting South Korea. Amazon is challenging the Pentagon contract decision in court and says there was “unmistakable bias” on the government’s part. President Donald Trump said in July he has received complaints about the Pentagon award process and that the contract was not competitively bid.

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Twitter details political ads ban, issue ads allowed

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter says its new ban on political ads will cover appeals for votes, solicitations for campaign contributions and any political content. However, Twitter is allowing ads related to social causes such as climate change, gun control and abortion, but the service will restrict how narrowly those ads can be targeted to an individual user. The policy is in stark contrast to Facebook’s approach of allowing political ads, even if they contain false information.

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US retail sales rose a modest 0.3% in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans stepped up their shopping last month, spending more online and buying more cars, evidence that consumers can still drive the economy’s growth. The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.3% in October, rebounding from a 0.3% drop the previous month.

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Supreme Court steps into Google-Oracle copyright fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says it will referee a high-profile copyright dispute between technology giants Oracle and Google. Oracle says it wants nearly $9 billion from Google.

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Ailing ex-telecom executive Ebbers seeks release from prison

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A former telecommunications executive convicted in one of the largest corporate accounting scandals in U.S. history is asking a judge to shorten his prison sentence so he can be released as his health deteriorates. Bernard Ebbers led WorldCom, based in Mississippi. He was convicted in New York in 2005 on securities fraud and other charges and started serving a 25-year sentence in 2006. His attorneys say the 78-year-old Ebbers is legally blind and has a heart condition.

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GM strike pushes industrial production down 0.8% last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — A strike at General Motors pushed U.S. manufacturing production lower in October, adding to the troubles confronting American industry. The Federal Reserve says manufacturing output tumbled 0.6% last month, largely because production of cars and auto parts plunged 7.1% amid the GM strike.

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Free broadband? UK Labour Party promises nationalization

LONDON (AP) — The British Labour Party is expanding its plan for public ownership of big industries. It promised Friday to nationalize part of the former phone monopoly BT to provide free fiber optic broadband for all. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn outlined the plan during a speech ahead of next month's election. The plan would be more ambitious than other countries’ recent attempts to boost broadband availability, which have had varying degrees of success.

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US stock indexes end week of milestones with more new highs

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street closed out the week with more milestones Friday as the Dow Jones industrials crossed 28,000 for the first time and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs. Health care and technology stocks powered most of the broad rally, which helped drive the S&P 500 to its sixth straight weekly gain. The Dow extended its streak of weekly gains to four. The strong finish caps a week when the major stock indexes set more highs while barely moving and extends a string of gains in recent weeks.

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The S&P 500 index rose 23.83 points, or 0.8%, to 3,120.46. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 222.93 points, or 0.8%, to 28,004.89. The Nasdaq composite climbed 61.81, or 0.7%, to 8,540.83. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 7.66 points, or 0.5%, to 1,596.45.