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Stocks drop again to worst loss in weeks on economy worries

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks tumbled again on Wednesday as worries about a weakening global economy boomeranged around the world. For a second straight day, the S&P 500 dropped to its worst loss in five weeks. The latest wave of selling came after a report showed hiring by U.S. companies slowed more than expected last month, with mining and manufacturing particularly weak. It added to worries that shook markets a day earlier, when a reading on U.S. manufacturing growth dropped to its worst level in a decade.

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Big Tech’s eco-pledges aren’t slowing its pursuit of Big Oil

Employee activism and outside pressure have pushed big tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google into promising to slash their carbon emissions. But there’s another thing they aren’t cutting, and that’s their growing business ties to the oil and gas industry. Microsoft and other tech giants have been competing to strike lucrative partnerships with ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP and other energy firms. They’re supplying cloud computing services and artificial intelligence tools.

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Microsoft previews dual-screen Surface devices out in a year

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft’s new Surface computers include dual-screen devices that won’t be out for another year. Microsoft previewed two devices that will initially be available just for developers to write apps. The two screens can show separate apps side by side, or a single app across. The smaller one, an Android device called Surface Duo, will mark Microsoft’s re-entry into smartphones. Unlike foldable phones from Samsung and others, the two screens are distinct and don’t run across the fold.

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US cleared to slap $7.5B in tariffs on EU over Airbus case

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization says the United States can impose tariffs on up to $7.5 billion worth of goods from the European Union as retaliation for illegal subsidies to European plane-maker Airbus. The move green-lights the Trump administration to slap countermeasures on the 28-member bloc and follows a WTO ruling in May 2018 on the Airbus subsidies. That would open a new chapter in the trade wars that are hurting the world economy.

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Survey: Businesses added just 135,000 jobs in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies added a modest 135,000 jobs in September, a private survey found, a sign that hiring is slowing as the trade war takes a toll on the economy and employers grow cautious. Payroll processor ADP says hiring has particularly slowed in mining, which actually cut 3,000 jobs, and manufacturing, which added just 2,000.

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TD Ameritrade drops stock trading commissions in fee war

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — TD Ameritrade is also eliminating commissions for online trading of U.S. stocks and exchange-traded funds in the latest round of an industry battle over fees. Investors will benefit from lower costs after the moves announced Tuesday by TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab. But TD Ameritrade estimates it will lose about 15% of its revenue — roughly $220 million to $240 million — per quarter in the process.

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Retail giant Walmart halts sales of Zantac and related drugs

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Walmart has become the latest store to halt sales of the popular heartburn treatment Zantac after health regulators warned about a potentially dangerous contaminant in the drug. The nation’s largest retailer said Wednesday that it suspended sales of all drugs sold over the counter, or without a prescription, that include Zantac’s active ingredient, ranitidine. Aside from Zantac, that includes Equate and Member’s Mark brands.

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Small business hires drop, resume listless trend, ADP says

NEW YORK (AP) — Small business hiring fell back in September, resuming a listless trend following a one-month upswing. That report came from payroll company ADP, which counted 30,000 new jobs at its small business customers, those with under 50 employees. These companies added 55,000 jobs in August and just 4,000 in July. The report was a sign that business owners are growing more cautious as they see the economy weaken in response to the Trump administration’s escalating trade war.

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Ram unseats Chevy Silverado as No. 2 in US vehicle sales

DETROIT _ Fiat Chrysler’s Ram pickup unseated General Motors’ Chevrolet Silverado as the second-best selling vehicle in the U.S. during the first nine months of the year. Experts say with a United Auto Workers strike underway that has shut down GM’s pickup factories, the Ram likely will beat the Silverado for the full year for the first time.

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Johnson & Johnson settles with 2 Ohio counties over opioids

Johnson & Johnson has become the latest drugmaker to settle a lawsuit with two Ohio counties over the toll of opioids. If the $20 million deal is finalized, it would leave only one drugmaker in a federal trial scheduled to begin later this month, along with four drug distributors and one pharmacy chain. The company is not admitting wrongdoing and still faces more than 2,000 other lawsuits.

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The S&P 500 lost 52.64 points, or 1.8%, to 2,887.61. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 494.42, or 1.9%, to 26,078.62, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 123.44, or 1.6%, to 7,785.25. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks ended down 13.80 points, or 0.9%, at 1,479.63.

The Associated Press