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BC-Business News Digest

December 26, 2018

Here are AP Business News’ latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EST. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

TOP STORIES:

FINANCIAL MARKETS — Investors return from the Christmas holiday break in a buying mood, sending U.S. stocks sharply higher and placing the market on track for its best day in nine months. By Alex Veiga. SENT: 670 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated throughout trading.

Also:

SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK-STOCK MARKET FALLOUT — Although the economy and consumer spending have been strong, some business owners, particularly those who sell big-ticket items and services, are feeling the effects of volatility in stocks that has persisted for much of this year. And some companies seeking investors are finding some resistance, even from people who a few months ago were eager to put their money down. Some owners are even rethinking hiring and other plans for 2019 in case customers cut back. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: 900 words, photos.

With:

SMALLBIZ-VOLATILITY-TIPS — The stock market’s volatility this year has some small business owners deciding to run their businesses more cautiously. SENT: 480 words.

GROWING UP DIGITAL-TECH ADDICT — As suburban Seattle has grown into one of the world’s major tech centers, it’s also become a hub for treating “tech addiction” — excessive use of video games, devices and online content that can ruin a person’s life. By Martha Irvine. UPCOMING: 1,700 words by 10 a.m., photos, video. An abridged version is available. By Martha Irvine. SENT: 1,680 words, photos, video. An abridged version of 850 words also is available.

HOLIDAY SALES — Holiday sales in the U.S. had their strongest growth in six years, helped by shoppers who were more confident in the economy, according to shopping tracker Mastercard SpendingPulse. SENT: 230 words, photo.

ESTONIA-DIGITAL GOVERNMENT — The Baltic nation of Estonia is engaged in the most ambitious project in governance in today’s world, creating a totally digital government designed to reduce bureaucracy, increase transparency and boost economic growth. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

YE--YOUR FINANCES-Q&A — Jobs, gas prices, taxes, interest rates: what the experts say to expect for personal finance issues in 2019. By Sarah Skidmore Sell. SENT: 760 words, photos. Eds: This story will stand for the weekly On the Money personal finance column.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

HOME PRICES — U.S. home price growth slowed in October, a likely consequence of higher mortgage rates having worsened affordability and causing sales to fall. By Josh Boak. SENT: 400 words, photo.

INDUSTRY:

MINIMUM WAGE-NYC — The lowest-paid workers in New York state will have something to look forward to in the new year: a higher minimum wage, with the biggest boost coming to employees in New York City, who will make at least $15 per hour. By Deepti Hajela. SENT: 910 words, photo.

NEW ORLEANS-TAXING TOURISM — Spend a night at a New Orleans hotel and the tax bite can exceed 15 percent. Mayor LaToya Cantrell says the taxes pull in an estimated $166 million a year, but less than 10 percent goes to city government coffers. By Kevin McGill. SENT: 750 words, photos.

MONEY MULES — The FBI is grappling with a seemingly endless cycle of money laundering schemes that law enforcement officials say they’re scrambling to slow through a combination of prosecution and public awareness. By Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo. SENT: 960 words, photo.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

PAKISTAN-MEDIA — Pakistani journalists, who have taken on military dictators and been beaten and jailed in the pursuit of a free press, say they now face a form of censorship that is more subtle but no less chilling, one spearheaded by the security services. By Kathy Gannon. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

ALBANIA-MEDIA LAWS — Four international media organizations have called on the Albanian government to drop two draft laws on state regulation and compulsory registration of online media to fight fake news. SENT: 130 words.

PERSONAL FINANCE:

BEHIND THE WHEEL-CHEAP LEASES — Edmunds recommends four highly rated vehicles that buyers can buy or lease for under $399 per month. By Cameron Rogers. SENT: 730 words, photos.

INTERNATIONAL:

JAPAN-WHALING — Japan announces that it is leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial hunts for the animals for the first time in 30 years, but said it would no longer go to the Antarctic for its much-criticized annual killings. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 920 words, photos.

KOREAS-DIPLOMACY — The Koreas break ground on an ambitious project to modernize North Korean railways and roads and connect them with the South, but the nuclear stalemate means trains won’t be crossing the border anytime soon. By Kim Tong-Hyung. SENT: 730 words, photos.

HONDURAS-DANGEROUS DIVES-PHOTO ESSAY — Thousands of men across the Mosquitia region of Honduras and Nicaragua depend on lobster fishing to eke out a living. And like Atiliano, hundreds have been stricken with the bends — decompression sickness caused when nitrogen bubbles form in divers’ bodies. By Rodrigo Abd and Moises Castillo. SENT: 850 words accompany photos package.

AP EXPLAINS-BOXING DAY — In Britain and other countries like Australia and Canada, the day after Christmas is a secular national holiday known as Boxing Day. Here’s a brief look at some theories about how the holiday got its name and how people celebrate it. By Gregory Katz. SENT: 470 words, photos.

MONEY & MARKETS SUMMARY:

SPOTLIGHT

Santa Claus rally

Retailers staged a post-Christmas rally on Wednesday, as signs pointed to a solid holiday shopping season for the big retailers like Amazon, Macy’s and Walmart. UPCOMING.

CENTERPIECE

Too soon

Mainstream scientists say it’s premature to make gene-edited babies — and stock analysts say it’s too early for most investors to bet on companies trying to develop the technology used to make them. UPCOMING.

Business News Supervisor Alexandra Olson (800-845-8450, ext. 1680). For photos (ext. 1900.) For graphics/interactives (ext. 7636.) For access to AP Newsroom and technical issues: customersupport@ap.org, or 877-836-9477. Questions about transmission of financial market listings, call 800-3AP-STOX.

The full digest for AP’s Money & Markets service can be found at markets.ap.org. For questions about M&M content, contact Greg Keller at (212) 621-7958.

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