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S&P 500 snaps 6-week string of gains even as stocks rise

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks shook off a midday stumble to finish slightly higher Friday, though the modest rebound was not enough to keep the S&P 500 from breaking its longest stretch of weekly gains in two years. Banks, health care stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending powered much of the rebound, outweighing losses in technology, real estate and other sectors. Oil prices fell. Uncertainty about whether the U.S. and China can soon halt their trade dispute weighed on markets this week.

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Stainless steel, broken glass and buzz, Tesla makes a pickup

The much-hyped unveil of Tesla’s electric pickup truck went off script Thursday night when supposedly unbreakable window glass shattered twice when hit with a large metal ball. The failed stunt, which ranks high on the list of embarrassing auto industry rollouts, came just after CEO Elon Musk bragged about the strength of “Tesla Armor Glass” on the wedge-shaped “Cybertruck.”

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Boeing settles half of lawsuits tied to Indonesian crash

CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing says it has settled more than 60 lawsuits filed by families of passengers who died in the first crash of a 737 Max jet. That’s about half of the lawsuits filed after the October 2018 crash involving a Max off the coast of Indonesia that killed 157. Boeing faces dozens more lawsuits over a second Max crash, which happened in March in Ethiopia.

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US regulators bar govt telecom funds for Huawei, ZTE

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. communications regulators have cut off government funding for equipment from two Chinese companies, citing security threats. They are also proposing to require companies to also rip out existing equipment Huawei and ZTE. The move mostly affects small, rural companies, as larger carriers do not use such equipment. Huawei says the rule is unlawful, as there is no evidence it poses a security risk. It’s the latest move by the U.S. government against Chinese tech and telecom companies.

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European Central Bank chief asks governments to help growth

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The new president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, says better-targeted public spending would help support economic growth in the eurozone. In her first official speech Friday, Lagarde indirectly chided countries like Germany that have kept a tight grip on their budgets while making clear that a spendthrift approach to public spending would be hazardous, too.

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In a first, IBM’s computer debater faces off against itself

CAMBRIDGE, England (AP) — IBM’s artificial intelligence debating robot faced off against itself at Cambridge University, in a demonstration of what the future might hold. Project Debater, a robot that has already debated humans, was for the first time pitted against itself, at least in the first round of arguments at the Cambridge Union, the world’s oldest debating society. The topic was whether artificial intelligence would do more harm than good.

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US officials: Don’t eat romaine grown in Salinas, California

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials investigating a food poisoning outbreak are warning people not to eat romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California. They say not to eat romaine if the label doesn’t say where it’s grown. The Food and Drug Administration says its investigation of people sickened with E. coli has led them to farms in Salinas and that they’re looking for the source of the contamination. The warning follows repeated outbreaks tied to romaine.

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Amazon pulls skin-lightening products off site amid pushback

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Amazon has pulled more than a dozen skin-lightening products with dangerous mercury levels off its website after pushback from Minnesota public-health and environmental activists. The company’s change came after the BeautyWell Project and the Sierra Club’s state branch delivered a petition on Wednesday with over 23,000 signatures to Amazon’s fulfilmentcentre in Shakopee.

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California boosts pot taxes, shocking unsteady industry

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California is increasing pot business taxes in the legal market, shocking the state’s struggling marijuana companies. Hefty marijuana taxes that can approach 50 per cent in some communities have been blamed for sending shoppers into the tax-free illegal market, which is thriving. The California Cannabis Industry Association says its members are “stunned and outraged.” The group says the tax increases will be passed on to consumers, pushing more to shoppers underground.

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Isolated Iceland newly vulnerable to computer scams

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — The people of Iceland, who speak a dialect of Old Norse, are no longer protected from online fraud because of their linguistic isolation. Modern translation apps have become good at Icelandic. The government, meanwhile, has lifted limits on bank transfers out of the country that were imposed after the financial crisis. The combination has attracted scammers to target a population that had so far not had to worry about online fraud.

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The S&P 500 rose 6.75 points, or 0.2%, to 3,110.29. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 109.33 points, or 0.4%, to 27,875.62. The Nasdaq composite added 13.67 points, or 0.2%, to 8,519.88. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 4.98 points, or 0.3%, to 1,588.94.

The Associated Press