Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

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House OKs GOP tax bill in Trump win; Senate fate less clear

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans have rammed a near $1.5 trillion package overhauling corporate and personal taxes through the House. The vote edges President Donald Trump and the GOP toward an initial legislative triumph in a year in which they and their voters expected to achieve even more. Across the Capitol, Democrats are pointing to new estimates showing the Senate version of the plan would boost future taxes on lower and middle-income Americans.

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FCC relaxes limits on owning newspapers, TV stations

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal regulators vote to loosening rules meant to support independent local media. The newspaper and broadcasting industries say they need the changes to deal with growing competition from the web and cable companies. Critics say dumping these rules, by encouraging consolidation, hurts media diversity.

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Walmart sees strong online sales lift third-quarter results

NEW YORK (AP) — A surging online business and strong food sales boosted Walmart's results ahead of the holiday season. That comes a day after rival Target offered a cautious forecast for the holiday season that overshadowed progress it has made in bringing more customers to its stores. And Best Buy, the nation's largest consumer electronics chain, reported a boost in third-quarter profit and sales, but its results and outlook fell short of Wall Street expectations.

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Tesla to enter trucking business with new electric semi

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla Inc. wants to electrify a new type of vehicle: big trucks. After more than a decade of making cars and SUVs — and, more recently, solar panels — Tesla plans to unveil an electric semi tractor-trailer on Thursday evening near its design center in Hawthorne, California.

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Envoy says US to keep fighting greenhouse gas emissions

BONN, Germany (AP) — The United States is committed to reducing greenhouse gas even though the Trump administration still plans to pull out of the Paris accord on fighting global warming, the top U.S. representative at international climate talks told other delegates Thursday. Britain and Canada, meanwhile, announced a new alliance aimed at encouraging countries to phase out the use of coal to curb climate change.

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Strong earnings from Wal-Mart, Cisco drive US stocks higher

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks closed sharply higher Thursday, snapping a two-day losing streak. Investors cheered strong quarterly earnings from Wal-Mart Stores, Cisco Systems and other companies. Technology stocks accounted for much of the market's gains, which helped lift the Nasdaq composite to its first record high in just over a week. Health care companies and consumer product makers also posted solid gains. Energy and utilities stocks lagged. Oil prices declined.

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Best Buy 3Q results, outlook disappoint

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy sees 3Q profit rise, but results and outlook disappoint Wall Street. The company's profit, sales and same-store sales all fell short of expectations. Also the consumer electronic retailer's outlook fell short of expectations.

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Airlines bump fewer passengers off oversold flights

WASHINGTON (AP) — Airlines are bumping fewer passengers off oversold planes after taking to heart the public anger over a man being violently dragged from his seat earlier this year. The U.S. Department of Transportation says airlines are booting passengers at the lowest rate since the government started keeping track in 1995.

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Trump EPA nominee opposed by GOP senators from NC

WASHINGTON (AP) — North Carolina's two Republican senators say they oppose President Donald Trump's pick to oversee chemical safety at EPA, putting his nomination at serious risk. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis issued statements saying they will vote against Michael Dourson to serve as head of EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

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Phone companies get new tools to block spam calls

NEW YORK (AP) — Phone companies will have greater authority to block questionable calls from reaching customers as regulators adopted new rules to combat automated messages known as robocalls. Rules adopted Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission represent the latest tools against "robocalls," which pester consumers, sometimes multiple times each day, and far too often push scams. The agency also hopes that recent big fines will help deter scammers.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 21.02 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,585.64. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 187.08 points, or 0.8 percent, to 23,458.36. The Nasdaq added 87.08 points, or 1.3 percent, to 6,793.29. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 22.79 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,486.88.

Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 19 cents to settle at $55.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 51 cents to $61.36 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline gave up 3 cents to $1.71 a gallon. Heating oil dipped a penny to $1.90 a gallon. Natural gas declined 3 cents to $3.05 per 1,000 cubic feet.