Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

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Trump predicts passage of tax plan by Christmas

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is predicting that he will sign his tax overhaul by Christmas in the "biggest tax event in the history of our country." The president is meeting with business leaders to build momentum for his tax plan ahead of his lengthy trip to Asia. Top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump, will be lobbying in the U.S. for a tax overhaul while the president is traveling in Asia. House Republicans are set to unveil their tax bill Wednesday.

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Facebook, Twitter, Google defend security measures

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are defending their security measures and promising a Senate subcommittee they will do more to stop the misuse of their platforms by a foreign nation. Their testimony comes as revelations emerge that Russian-linked accounts reached many more American voters than previously thought.

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Stocks edge up: S&P 500 closes in on eighth month of gains

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes edged higher on Tuesday following stronger-than-expected earnings reports from the makers of Kellogg's cereal, Oreo cookies and others. Stock markets around the world were mostly steady, while bond yields were stable and commodity prices dipped modestly.

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Kushner partner all but kills plan for Fifth Ave skyscraper

NEW YORK (AP) — The co-owner of a Fifth Avenue skyscraper controlled by the family of Jared Kushner says tearing down the tower to build luxury apartments is not practical and the building will likely remain as offices. Vornado Realty Trust CEO Steven Roth says a plan by the Kushners to raise billions to rebuild the tower is "not feasible." The comments suggest the biggest purchase in Jared Kushner's career will continue to bleed money as a deadline to repay a giant mortgage on the building nears.

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Great British Bake Off blunder: Judge tweets winner's name

LONDON (AP) — A judge on popular British television program the Great British Bake Off has been forced to apologize after revealing the winner on her Twitter feed while traveling in another time zone. Prue Leith posted the name of the winner on her Twitter feed while traveling in Bhutan, which is six hours ahead of Britain, thinking fans had already seen the last installment. Leith, 77, later tweeted: "I am so sorry to the fans of the show for my mistake."

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You can stymie the iPhone X Face ID - but it takes some work

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple is offering a nifty way to unlock its new iPhone X — just stare at it. The new facial-recognition technology replaces the fingerprint sensor found on other models. It works even with glasses or a hat, though an Associated Press review finds some challenges with masks and major facial changes. Face ID is one of the features exclusive to the iPhone X, which comes out Friday for $1,000 — $300 more than the iPhone 8.

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Exxon settles pollution case with feds by upgrading 8 plants

DALLAS (AP) — Exxon settles air pollution charges by paying a $2.5 million penalty and spending $300 million to upgrade eight petrochemical plants. Federal officials say the settlement will prevent tons of harmful pollution in refining and chemicals plants in Texas and Louisiana.

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Burberry's Christopher Bailey to leave iconic British brand

LONDON (AP) — Designer Christopher Bailey, who was replaced as Burberry chief executive earlier this year, will leave the British brand in 2018. That ends a 17-year stint in which Bailey helped transform a company once known mainly for trench coats into a global luxury icon. Bailey added the title of CEO to his position as chief creative officer in 2014, taking on unique dual role in recognition of how much his ideas had contributed to Burberry's success. He was replaced in July by Marco Gobbetti.

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You can shower with the new Kindle - you just can't read

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon's top-of-the-line e-reader is now waterproof — an excellent feature for a $250-and-up investment. But don't go scuba diving just yet — your Kindle Oasis might not survive. Waterproofing has limits and is designed for fresh water, and not too deep at that. An optional leather cover won't resist water at all. And forget about reading. The touchscreen gets erratic when wet.

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Pfizer beats 3Q net forecasts on lower charges, higher sales

Pfizer doubled its third-quarter profit, due to slightly higher sales, lower one-time charges and reduced spending on production and administration. The drug giant edged past Wall Street's profit expectations and improved its 2017 financial forecast. Meanwhile, Pfizer on Tuesday said it will decide next year whether to sell or spin off its consumer health business, which sells products including Chapstick, Centrum vitamins and Advil pain reliever.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 2.43 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,575.26. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 28.50, or 0.1 percent, to 23,377.24, and the Nasdaq composite gained 28.71, or 0.4 percent, to 6,727.67, a new record. Smaller stocks did better than the rest of the market, and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks gained 11.64, or 0.8 percent, to 1,502.53.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 23 cents to settle at $54.38 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 47 cents to $61.37 per barrel. Natural gas fell 7 cents to $2.90 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil was close to flat at $1.88 per gallon and wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.78 per gallon.