Business Highlights

By The Associated PressMarketsAssociated Press

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Zuckerberg's Holocaust comment puts Facebook on the spot

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NEW YORK (AP) — Denying the Holocaust is probably OK on Facebook. Calling for a mob to kill Jews is not. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's awkward attempt to explain where Facebook draws the line illustrates the complexities social media platforms face as they take on the unwanted role of referee in this age of fake news and hate speech.

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Trump slams rate increases by independent Federal Reserve

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is casting aside concerns about the Federal Reserve's independence and says he's "not happy" with the Fed's interest rate increases. Trump tells CNBC: "I don't like all of this work that we're putting into the economy and then I see rates going up." The Fed last month raised its key rate for a second time this year and projected two more increases in 2018. The central bank is supposed to operate independent of political pressure and the White House.

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Warning signs rise for stock market's record-setting run

NEW YORK (AP) — The current bull market in stocks is a month or so away from becoming the longest in history. If it happens, then what? Many along Wall Street expect the rally that began in March 2009 to eclipse the 1990-2000 run that ended with the dot-com crash. But more experts are questioning whether the stock market's run will make it beyond 2019 or 2020.

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Auto industry urges US to hit brakes on proposed car tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Commerce Department sought feedback on President Donald Trump's plans to consider taxing auto imports. It got an earful at an all-day hearing Thursday. Critics lined up to urge the administration to reject auto tariffs. They argued that the taxes would raise car prices, squeeze automakers by increasing the cost of imported components and invite retaliation from U.S. trading partners — and allies — like the European Union and Canada.

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Farmers fret and wait as US-China trade war escalates

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — American farmers have put the brakes on unnecessary spending as the U.S.-China trade war escalates. But they say there isn't much more they can do except hope the two countries work out their differences before the full impact of China's retaliatory tariffs hits American soybean and pork producers. Agricultural groups say one of the few things farmers can do for now is make themselves heard in Washington.

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Microsoft profit up, aided by cloud rivalry with Amazon

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft Corp. is reporting quarterly profit of $8.87 billion, boosted in part by its efforts to rival Amazon as a key cloud computing provider for retailers and other businesses. The Redmond, Washington-based company said it had net income of $1.14 per share in the fiscal fourth quarter. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were $1.13 per share.

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Trump promotes job training as employers search for workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is pressing U.S. companies and trade associations to bolster their job training opportunities as employers search for qualified skilled workers to fill vacancies. Trump said Thursday at an event at the White House that nearly two dozen companies and trade associations are signing his pledge to provide more job training and apprenticeship programs. Trump says it will help train about 3.8 million students and workers for new jobs and rewarding careers.

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Trump's pick to run consumer watchdog faces skeptical Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Trump's nominee to take over the nation's consumer watchdog agency exasperated some Democrats with vague answers at a Senate hearing Thursday, but Kathy Kraninger appears to be on her way to getting the job later this year. Republicans hold a 51-seat Republican majority in the Senate, so Kraninger's confirmation seems all but certain.

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Canadian marijuana company Tilray has first US pot IPO

SEATTLE (AP) — A Canadian company has become the first marijuana business to complete an initial public stock offering on a major U.S. stock exchange, raising $153 million as Canada prepares to legalize the drug. British Columbia-based Tilray Inc.'s shares began trading Thursday on the Nasdaq stock exchange, initially priced at $17 and closing at $22.55. Tilray isn't the first pot company to trade on a major American stock exchange, but it is the first to do so with an IPO.

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Banks weaken, but small-company stocks hold up well

NEW YORK (AP) — Trade issues again affected the stock market Thursday as larger companies declined and smaller, more domestically-focused companies rose. Makers of cars and car parts fall as representatives of the auto industry tell Congress they are against tariffs on imported cars and car parts proposed by the Trump administration. Alcoa plunged after it said tariffs on aluminum imports are costing it $12 million a month. Banks were hurt by weak earnings.

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The S&P 500 index slid 11.13 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,804.49. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 134.79 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,064.50. The Nasdaq composite gave up 29.15 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,825.30. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 9.44 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,701.31.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 1 percent to $69.46 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 0.4 percent to $72.58 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline stayed put at $2.04 a gallon and heating oil was unchanged at $2.09 a gallon. Natural gas added 1.8 percent to $2.77 per 1,000 cubic feet.