Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

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Stocks, bond yields drop Washington turmoil rattles markets

Stocks drop as financial markets are rattled by the latest turbulence in Washington and fears that it could stymie Trump's efforts to enact tax reform and other business-friendly policies. Small-company stocks, which would see outsized benefits from corporate tax cuts, fell much more than the rest of the market. Bond prices soared, sending yields lower, and gold prices rose as investors shifted money out of riskier assets. The dollar fell against other currencies.

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Ford to cut jobs as sales level off, stock price lags

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is getting leaner as it faces an onslaught of challenges, from slowing U.S. sales to high-tech challengers to its own disgruntled shareholders. The 114-year-old automaker says it is cutting 1,400 non-factory jobs in North America and Asia Pacific.

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Business, leisure travelers ponder flying without laptops

NEW YORK (AP) — Business travelers may reduce trips or figure work-arounds if the ban on laptops in airplane cabins is expanded to flights from Europe. Nearly 400 flights a day leave Europe for the U.S. each day. They're popular with vacationers but critical for business travelers.

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Talks on airplane laptop ban end with no ban, more talks

BRUSSELS (AP) — Talks on a proposed U.S. ban on laptops and tablets in flights from Europe ended Wednesday with no ban — and a promise of more talks and better intelligence sharing. For days now, European Union officials have hoping for details on the threat that prompted the proposed ban — the same details that U.S. President Donald Trump discussed with Russian diplomats at the White House last week.

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Google rolling out arsenal of services, gadgets

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Google provided a look at its latest digital services and gadgets, with a heavy focus on its efforts to extend artificial intelligence features into more of its apps and services. The overview came Wednesday during Google's annual conference for thousands of app developers.

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Another round of premium hikes: blame Trump or Obama?

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's looking like another year of big premium increases and dwindling choice for many consumers who buy their own health insurance policies — but why, and who's to blame? President Donald Trump has seized on early market rumbles to validate his claim that "Obamacare" is collapsing. Democrats, meanwhile, accuse Trump of "sabotage" on a program he's dissed and wants to dismantle. Independent experts say it's more complicated — Trump inherited some problems and risks making things worse.

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With many social media options, small businesses need focus

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? With many social media options, experts say small business owners need to focus on where their customers are. Many owners opt for a mix of channels, picking ones that will be the best marketing tools for their companies. Many choose sites based on their users, like Instagram and Snapchat for younger people.

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US households owe record amount, topping pre-recession peak

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. household debt reached a record high in the first three months of this year, topping the previous peak reached in 2008. Yet the nature of what Americans owe has changed since the Great Recession. Student and auto loans make up a larger proportion of household debt, while mortgages and credit card debt remain below pre-recession levels.

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In reversal, radio host Alex Jones apologizes to Chobani

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones says he has settled a lawsuit filed by Greek yogurt giant Chobani, reversing course from previous claims he would never back down in the defamation case. Jones read a brief statement at the end of his radio show Wednesday saying he had retracted previous stories and tweets about Chobani.

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Target locked in game of shipping tag with Wal-Mart, Amazon

NEW YORK (AP) — Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon are locked in a game of shipping tag, each trying to adjust their free threshold and other shipping strategies to a level that can lure shoppers away from one another. Target has been testing new services but it has a long way to go to catch up to its rivals.

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Bee industry buzzing: Stolen hives recovered in California

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — The bee industry is buzzing over the arrest of a California man accused in one of the biggest thefts of beehives on record. Authorities say the 51-year-old suspect from the Sacramento suburbs stole thousands of hives worth nearly $1 million from California's almond orchards. Hives are rented out to growers to pollinate flowering trees.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 43.64 points, or 1.8 percent, to 2,357.03. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 372.82 points, or 1.8 percent, to 20,606.93. The Nasdaq composite gave up 158.63, or 2.6 percent, to 6,011.24.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 41 cents, or 0.8 percent, to close at $49.07 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, to close at $52.21 per barrel in London. In other futures trading, natural gas fell 4 cents to $3.19 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.60 per gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.53 per gallon.