Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

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Top Republican claims enough votes for Senate OK of tax bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — A $1.4 trillion tax bill written by Republicans is headed toward passage after some last-minute wrangling. In a bid to win over enough votes, GOP leaders have agreed to more generous tax breaks for some taxpayers and scale back others. Overall, the bill would slash the corporate tax rate, offer more modest cuts for families and individuals, and eliminate several popular tax deductions. The legislation would bring the first overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 31 years.

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Would Trump really pay more under the tax bill? Not likely

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump keeps telling voters that he stands to pay more under the Republican tax legislation. Yet the evidence suggests otherwise. Details of the House and Senate tax bills show that an extremely wealthy elite — including the president, his family, many in his Cabinet and members of his golf resorts — would enjoy a bonanza of lavish tax cuts unavailable to the vast majority of taxpayers.

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US stocks mostly recoup their losses after early slide

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street took investors on a turbulent ride Friday as stock indexes veered into a steep slide that knocked 350 points off the Dow Jones industrial average before the market eventually clawed back most of its losses. The market stumbled after former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and said he would cooperate with the probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Those jitters were allayed somewhat by early afternoon, when Senate Republicans signaled they have enough votes to push forward on the tax legislation.

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Macy's plans to hire 7,000 extra seasonal workers

NEW YORK (AP) —Macy's is hiring an extra 7,000 seasonal associates this holiday season, saying traffic in its department stores nationwide has been high. The company said Friday that the hires will work on the sales floor and also fulfill online, pick-up-in-store orders and do other operational jobs. Most of the jobs are part-time. That is in addition to the 80,000 temporary holiday workers Macy's said it expected to hire early in the fall.

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US world's biggest supplier of heavy oil refining byproduct

NEW DELHI (AP) — The U.S. is supplying vast quantities of a dirty fuel waste that Indian environmental advocates say is contributing to their country's air pollution. U.S. refineries are the largest producers of petroleum coke, a byproduct of refining Canadian tar sands crude and other heavy oils. Petcoke is popular in India's power plants and factories because it's cheaper and burns hotter than coal. But it also contains more planet-warming carbon and far more heart- and lung-damaging sulfur.

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NBC launches review of Lauer behavior, company response

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack says the company is launching an internal review into Matt Lauer's alleged sexual misconduct and how it was able to occur. In a company-wide memo released publicly Friday, Lack says that's among the questions employees are asking in the wake of Lauer's firing as host of NBC's "Today." He says the findings will be shared and acted on, no matter how painful, but the memo doesn't say whether the findings will be made public.

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Postal regulators move to let stamp prices jump higher

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to bolster the ailing U.S. Postal Service, federal regulators are moving to allow bigger jumps to stamp prices beyond the rate of inflation. That could eventually add millions more dollars to companies' shipping rates and consumer costs. The Postal Regulatory Commission has announced the decision as part of a much-anticipated, 10-year review of the Postal Service's stamp rates.

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Investors eye 'Santa Claus rally;" tax overhaul is wild card

NEW YORK (AP) — Is Santa Claus coming to town? Wall Street thinks so, even though stocks have already exceeded most expectations this year. December on average is the best month for stocks. Although there are some warning signs, analysts have some solid reasons to expect a "Santa Claus rally."

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Federal regulator gives OK for bitcoin futures to trade

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal regulator gave the go ahead on Friday to the CME Group to start trading bitcoin futures later this month, the first time the digital currency will be traded on a Wall Street exchange and subject to federal oversight.

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Gift Guide: Choosing a streaming device without overpaying

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple, Google, Amazon and Roku are all competing to be your gateway to online video on the big-screen TV. Which device you need will largely depend on what services you watch and what kind of TV you have. Apple TV, for instance, is the only device to work with Apple iTunes. If you don't need that, cheaper models from Amazon or Roku will do just fine — especially for regular high-definition television sets.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5.36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,642.22. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 40.76 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,231.59. The Nasdaq composite lost 26.39 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,847.59. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 7.12 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,537.02.

Benchmark U.S. crude New York rose 96 cents, or 1.7 percent, to settle at $58.36 a barrel. Brent, the international standard, added $1.10, or 1.8 percent, to close at $63.73 a barrel. In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline gained a penny to $1.74 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 4 cents to $1.94 a gallon. Natural gas gained 4 cents to $3.06 per 1,000 cubic feet.