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Stocks surge...Giuliani denies Trump told lawyer to lie...Judge halts offshore drilling prep during shutdown

January 18, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks in the U.S. and Europe are surging amid renewed hopes for progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China. Stocks rallied after Bloomberg News reported that China’s government offered to buy more goods and services from the U.S., potentially eliminating its trade deficit by 2024. Technology and industrial companies are making some of the biggest gains. Banks are rising after more of them posted strong fourth-quarter reports. Stock indexes have made big gains since reaching a low point on Christmas Eve. The S&P 500 has risen for four weeks in a row.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s personal attorney is denying that Trump told his former lawyer to lie to Congress about the details of a Trump business proposal in Russia. Rudy Giuliani says in a statement that “Any suggestion— from any source— that the President counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false.” Giuliani is responding to a Buzzfeed News report saying that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations over a real estate project in Moscow during the 2016 election.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A federal judge in South Carolina has turned back the Trump administration’s attempt to continue preparatory work for offshore drilling during the federal government’s partial shutdown. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel issued an order today halting permits to conduct testing that’s needed before drilling work can begin. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump recalled workers at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management so they could continue to process testing permits for possible drilling off the Atlantic coastline.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Tobacco-friendly Virginia is preparing to raise the age limit on buying traditional and electric cigarettes from 18 to 21. Leaders in the majority-Republican General Assembly say they are backing legislation to raise the limit for all tobacco products, citing the rapid growth of teenage vaping. Virginia-based tobacco giant Altria announced support for the legislation.

NEW YORK (AP) — Tiffany & Co. says holiday shoppers spent less on its bling. The luxury jeweler says sales slipped in the holiday shopping season as Chinese tourists spent less while traveling due to the strong dollar, making it more expensive to buy Tiffany jewelry outside of its stores in China. The company also says it was hurt by the ups and downs of the stock market and protests in Paris that forced the company to close its location there during some weekends. Sales at established stores worldwide fell 2 percent in November and December, compared to the same period the year before.