Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

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Half-billion Windows 10 devices, but PC slump stunts growth

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft's latest version of Windows is faring better than its maligned predecessor, but the software's growth is still being stunted a shift away personal computers. Windows 10 is now running on a half a billion devices nearly two years after its release. That figure is up from 400 million eight months ago, but far short of Microsoft's goal of putting Windows 10 on 1 billion devices by 2018

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Christie's: Global sales of luxury homes cooled in 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Global luxury home sales cooled off in 2016 for the second consecutive year, even with a record number of homes selling for more than $100 million. A report released Wednesday by Christie's International Real Estate shows that sales of homes priced at $1 million or more edged up about 1 percent worldwide last year. That represents a sharp slowdown from 2015, when luxury home sales climbed 8 percent, and from 2014, when sales vaulted 16 percent.

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Federal government records $182.4 billion budget surplus

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government ran the second highest monthly surplus on record this April as tax revenues were pushed higher by a change in the deadline for corporate tax payments. The Treasury Department says the surplus for April totaled $182.4 billion, the second largest surplus after a record $189.8 billion surplus set in April 2001. The government generally runs surpluses in April reflecting the annual tax deadlines. This year's surplus was inflated because of a deadline change that allowed corporations until April to make their final tax payments for last year. The deadline had previously been March.

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Tesla starts selling solar roof; says savings to cover costs

DETROIT (AP) — Electric car maker Tesla has added another product to its lineup: solar roof tiles. As of Wednesday, customers worldwide could order a solar roof on Tesla's web site. Installations will begin next month in the U.S., starting with California. Installations outside the U.S. will begin next year, the company said.

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Gov't to begin seismic surveys in Atlantic in drilling push

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration said Wednesday it is moving forward on seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean, the first step toward offshore drilling in a region where it has been blocked for decades. The Interior Department said it is reviewing six applications by energy companies that were rejected by the Obama administration.

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Senate blocks move to overturn Obama-era rule on drilling

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a surprising win for environmentalists and Democrats and a blow to the fossil-fuel industry, the Senate on Wednesday failed in a bid to reverse an Obama-era regulation restricting harmful methane emissions that escape from oil and gas wells on federal land.

The vote was 51-49 in the Republican-led Senate with three GOP lawmakers — Maine's Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona — joining forces with the Democrats to block efforts to overturn the rule. Graham and Collins had publicly opposed the repeal effort, but McCain's vote surprised many on both sides of the debate.

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Whole Foods shakes up board as key sales figure falls again

NEW YORK (AP) — Whole Foods announced a board shake-up and cost-cutting plan Wednesday as it fights to hold onto shoppers who have more choices about where to buy the natural and organic foods the chain is known for. The company also said sales fell 2.8 percent at established locations for the three months that ended April 9, the seventh straight quarter in which the closely watched metric has declined.

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Restaurants use technology to nudge us into spending more

NEW YORK (AP) — Restaurant chains are making it easier to order food with a few taps of the screen — so much so that you may lose sight of how much you're spending. The convenience that technology offers may make us less vigilant about how much we're buying. Digital ordering also lets companies better track our spending habits, and may lead to increasingly personalized offers that are more likely to catch our attention. Digital ordering helps you find more of the things you want, but it's worth understanding the other side of the equation: Sometimes, technology is an opportunity to get you to spend more.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 2.71 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,399.63, a fraction of a point above the all-time high it set Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 32.67 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,943.11 as Disney and Boeing slumped. The Nasdaq composite finished at a record for the fourth day in a row as it rose 8.56 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,129.14.

Benchmark U.S. crude surged $1.45, or 3.2 percent, to $47.33 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gained $1.49, or 3.1 percent, to $50.22 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 5 cents to $1.54 a gallon. Heating oil added 3 cents to $1.48 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 7 cents to $3.29 per 1,000 cubic feet.