Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

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Trump plan promises huge tax cuts, but big questions remain

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sweeping, $5 trillion tax plan put forward by President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress on Wednesday is being promoted as much-needed relief for the middle class and a boost for the economy. It would deeply cut taxes for corporations, simplify the tax system and nearly double the standard deduction used by most Americans. But there are too many gaps in the proposal to know how it would affect individual taxpayers and families. A looming unknown is how it would be paid for.

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Trump's tax plan: business owners win, deficit hawks lose

WASHINGTON (AP) — Small business owners, large corporations and the super wealthy could make out well under President Donald Trump's tax plan. The middle-class could do well, too, but the plan has too many holes to determine how individual taxpayers would be affected. The plan would reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three, but it doesn't specify the income levels for each bracket. Those are important details, which will be sorted out by Congress.

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US middle class gets richer, but wealthy do even better

WASHINGTON (AP) — Middle-class American families grew richer between 2013 and 2016. It is their first such gains since the Great Recession upended the economy a decade ago. Yet wealthier families did even better, worsening the nation's massive disparities in wealth and income.

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Dems wield Equifax, Wells Fargo in fight over arbitration

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic senators are highlighting scandals at Wells Fargo and Equifax in a bid to stop Republicans from overturning a federal rule that would let consumers join together to sue financial companies. Banks argue that arbitration is a more efficient way of handling small disputes. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Wells Fargo and Equifax did "terrible wrong" and now Republicans "want to prevent consumers from having rights to sue them."

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At risk?: Equifax hack has businesses uneasy about security

NEW YORK (AP) — The breach of Equifax's computer systems is reminding small business owners their technology can be vulnerable to cybercriminals. Companies that provide computer security services to small businesses say they're getting more calls from customers since Equifax revealed the breach Sept. 7. Small businesses often lag behind in cybersecurity, not believing they might be targets. But experts say small companies are becoming targets for hackers and thieves.

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Trump mulls cargo waiver for Puerto Rico as criticism builds

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says his administration is considering waving a little-known federal law that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between U.S. ports. Republicans and Democrats have pushed Trump to waive the Jones Act, saying it could help get desperately needed supplies delivered to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico more quickly and at less cost. The law was waived earlier this month to help ease fuel shortages following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

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Small companies make biggest gains as US stocks rise

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks climb, and the biggest gains go to smaller banks, industrial and technology companies after the Labor Department said business investment appeared to get stronger in August. President Donald Trump and key Republicans proposed a new tax plan that may also help smaller companies. High-dividend stocks like utilities fell sharply as bond yields rose.

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Trump says he's not happy with HHS Secretary Tom Price

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he is "not happy" with his Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price following reports that Price used a private plane for official business. And he said that he's let Price know it. Asked whether he's planning on firing Price, Trump responded: "We'll see."

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Amazon slashes price of new Echo speaker to $100

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon says it is cutting the price of its Echo smart speaker to $100 from $180, improving the sound quality and upgrading its appearance with six new "shells." The next generation speaker powered by Amazon's Alexa voice assistant will have a dedicated woofer and a tweeter for the first time, as well as Dolby sound. The company made the announcement in Seattle at an event for journalists.

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Issues remain as 3rd round of NAFTA talks wraps in Ottawa

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Contentious issues remain in NAFTA renegotiations as the U.S., Canada and Mexico conclude a third round of talks. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says some issues related to small and medium-size enterprises were resolved, but an enormous amount of work still needs to be done on other, difficult matters. He says delegates made significant progress on competition policy, digital trade, state-owned enterprises and telecommunications. A fourth round of talks is scheduled for Oct. 11-15.

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Lawsuit: Kushner Cos. charges illegal fees to its tenants

BALTIMORE (AP) — The real estate company run by the family of Jared Kushner is being sued by two tenants in Maryland for allegedly adding excessive and illegal fees to their rent. The lawsuit says businesses owned by the Kushner Cos. have been charging late penalties of 5 percent of tenants' rent, but not just for what they claim to be late rent. The penalties were also tacked on for late "agent fees" and "court fees," in violation of Maryland law, the lawsuit says. The company says it has done nothing illegal.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 10.20 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,507.04. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 56.39 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,340.71. The Nasdaq composite leaped 73.10 points, or 1.1 percent, to 6,453.26. The Russell 2000 gained 27.95 points, or 1.9 percent, to 1,484.81.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 26 cents to $52.14 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, fell 54 cents, to $57.90 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 4 cents to $1.65 a gallon. Heating oil remained at $1.85 a gallon. Natural gas rose 6 cents to $2.97 per 1,000 cubic feet.