Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

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After weeks of deals, stores aim to draw Black Friday crowds

NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers have been out since before dawn in the U.S. for fun and for deals, as retailers hope to bring customers to their stores and websites for one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Black Friday has morphed from a single day into a whole season of deals, so shoppers may feel less need to be out. Some love the excitement. Friends Yeshica Jeffers and Stacey Rhodes-Sofer hit a Walmart in suburban Albany, New York, early Friday say it's a tradition.

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Fingerlings, Pikmi Pops among toys hard to find

NEW YORK (AP) — One toy expert says hot toys were hard to find in stores. Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of toy review website TTPM, says among the sold-out ones were: Fingerlings robotic monkeys; Luvabella moving dolls; and Pikmi Pops and LOL Surprise Big Surprise, both of which hide dolls or small stuffed animals in plastic balls that are wrapped in several layers of packaging.

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More stock records as technology and energy companies rise

NEW YORK (AP) U.S. stocks set more records in quiet post-holiday trading Friday as technology companies again did much of the heavy lifting. Energy companies rose with the price of oil. Macy's and some of its retail counterparts rose after the department store's CEO said Black Friday sales were going well.

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Amazon workers in Germany, Italy stage Black Friday strike

BERLIN (AP) — Workers at a half dozen Amazon distribution centers in Germany and one in Italy have walked off the job, in a protest time to coincide with "Black Friday" to demand better wages at the American online giant. In Germany, Ver.di union spokesman Thomas Voss said some 2,500 workers were on strike at Amazon facilities in Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, Rheinberg, Werne, Graben and Koblenz. In a warehouse near Piacenza, in northern Italy, some workers walked off the job to demand "dignified salaries."

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Rush of pot grows splits rural California before legal sales

COPPEROPOLIS, Calif. (AP) — An influx of marijuana growing operations has a Northern California county reconsidering its decision to embrace the businesses ahead of statewide legalization. Authorities this year have cut down close to 30,000 plants grown without permits in Calaveras County, east of the San Francisco Bay Area. Pot farmers operating legally say they're helping the local economy and have threatened to sue over attempts to stop them.

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Plan to change New England ocean stewardship up for debate

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government is close to enacting new rules about New England ocean habitat that could mean dramatic changes for the way the marine environment and fisheries are managed. The National Marine Fisheries Service has been working on the new rules for some 13 years and recently made them public. They would change the way the government manages the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank and southern New England waters, which are critical pieces of ocean.

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China cuts import tariffs on some consumer goods

BEIJING (AP) — China is cutting import tariffs on some consumer goods in a new effort to spur economic growth driven by domestic consumption instead of trade and investment. The United States and other governments are pressing for better access to China's growing market but the range of 187 products affected was relatively small and it was unclear how the trade balance might be affected.

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German court: Ancient forest can be cleared for coal mine

BERLIN (AP) — A court in western Germany says an ancient forest near the Belgian border can be chopped down to make way for a coal strip mine. Cologne's administrative court ruled Friday against a legal complaint brought by the environmental group BUND that wanted to halt the clearance of much of Hambach forest.

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Poland to phase out Sunday shopping by 2020

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's lawmakers have approved a law that will phase out Sunday shopping by the year 2020 despite criticism that it may eliminate thousands of jobs. Proposed by trade unions that want shop workers to spend more time with their families, the bill got support from the ruling party that adheres to Catholic values.

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No breakthrough in Brexit talks as new deadline approaches

BRUSSELS (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May failed Friday to make any breakthrough in Brexit talks with the EU, as time runs out to move the negotiations into a critical second phase before the end of the year. At a summit in Brussels, May met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leaders of Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania and European Council President Donald Tusk, seeking to move the talks onto future relations between Britain and the EU, especially their trade ties.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,602.42. The Dow Jones industrial average added 31.81 points, or 0.1 percent, to 23,557.99. The Nasdaq composite gained 21.80 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,889.16. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies climbed 2.40 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,519.16.

U.S. benchmark crude rose 93 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $58.95 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 31 cents to $63.86 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline added 2 cents to $1.79 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.95 a gallon. Natural gas sank 16 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $2.81.