Business Highlights

By MarketsAssociated Press

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Sell-off in industrial, tech stocks sends Dow down 400

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NEW YORK (AP) — After a strong start, U.S. stocks abruptly sold off Tuesday after machinery maker Caterpillar said it doesn't expect to top its first-quarter profit for the rest of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged as much as 619 points as investors feared that rising oil prices and other costs will slow down growth in company profits.

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US sales of new homes shot up 4 percent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new U.S. homes jumped 4 percent in March, propelled by a surge of buying in the West. The Commerce Department says sales last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 694,000. The two prior months had their sales revised upward with the annual rate being 667,000 in February and 644,000 in January. For the first three months of the year, sales are running 10.3 percent higher than a year ago.

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Southwest has been faced with fines, union safety complaints

DALLAS (AP) — Until last week, Southwest Airlines had a string of 47 years without a passenger dying in an accident. But it has also paid millions in fines over safety. Recently its mechanics union accused the airline of taking shortcuts. Some analysts, however, consider it a safe airline. Its safety record is coming under scrutiny after an engine failure at 32,000 feet last week hurled shrapnel at a Southwest jet, breaking a window and killing a passenger.

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Lawmakers: EPA security chief improperly runs outside firm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic lawmakers say the security chief for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has been operating an outside consulting firm without proper approval from ethics officials. Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta was tapped by Pruitt last year to lead his 20-member personal protective detail. Perrotta also is the top executive at Sequoia Security Group. The Democratic lawmakers want an agency ethics official to examine whether Perrotta's outside employment violates agency rules.

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Senator warns bankers that Dodd-Frank relief could stall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia is warning bankers that legislation rolling back financial rules put in place after the 2008 economic crisis could stall. Warner says legislation revamping the law known as Dodd-Frank "will not pass if it comes back to the Senate" for another vote. His comments are a warning shot to House Republicans. They want to amend Senate-passed legislation that would provide regulatory relief for banks.

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Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

WASHINGTON (AP) — The company formerly known as Yahoo is paying a $35 million fine to resolve federal regulators' charges that the online pioneer deceived investors by failing to disclose one of the biggest data breaches in internet history. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the action Tuesday against the company, now called Altaba after its email and other digital services were sold to Verizon Communications for $4.48 billion last year. The company neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

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Consumer watchdog becomes alphabet soup of controversy

NEW YORK (AP) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is dead. Long live the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. That's the message the Trump administration is pushing, at least, in what on the surface seems like a minor tweak to the name of the federal consumer watchdog agency created after the Great Recession. But critics see it as a not-so-subtle effort to telegraph the abrupt ideological turn the bureau has taken since Trump-appointee Mick Mulvaney became acting director last year.

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Burger King grows; Tim Hortons to get makeover

NEW YORK (AP) — A new burger and a spicy chicken sandwich sold well at Burger King, helping boost profits for its owner Restaurants Brands. But the company's other chain, Tim Hortons, didn't do as well, and Restaurant Brands plans to remodel those stores to try to get more people to come in to buy its coffee and doughnuts.

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Trump says Mnuchin will travel to China amid trade dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will soon travel to China for talks as the two global economic powers deal with trade tensions. Trump says during a White House news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron that Mnuchin will be going to China "in a few days to negotiate on trade." Trump says the U.S. and China are "very serious" and is reiterating plans to impose tariffs up to $100 billion more on Chinese goods.

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The S&P 500 index sank 35.73 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,634.56. The Dow Jones industrial average finished with a loss of 424.56 points, or 1.7 percent, to 24,024.13. The Nasdaq composite dropped 121.25 points, or 1.7 percent, to 7,007.35. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks declined 8.84 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,553.28.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil shed 1.4 percent to $67.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 1.1 percent to $73.86 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 1.4 percent to $2.09 a gallon. Heating oil dipped 0.6 percent to $2.13 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.5 percent to $2.78 per 1,000 cubic feet.