AP NEWS

Business Highlights

January 29, 2020 GMT

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Facebook reports 4Q profit, user growth despite challenges

San Francisco (AP) — Facebook had a strong fourth quarter as it made more money on advertising and added more users despite challenges around regulation and efforts to fight election interference. Profit and revenue both handily surpassed Wall Street’s expectations.. Facebook says it earned $7.35 billion, or $2.56 per share, in the last three months of 2019. That’s up 7% percent from a year earlier. Revenue rose 25% to $21.1 billion. Facebook had 2.5 billion monthly users, up 8% from a year earlier.

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Fed leaves key rate alone but sees virus among global risks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a low level Wednesday amid an economy that looks solid but faces potential global threats. The Fed sketched a mostly positive picture of the U.S. economy in the statement it released after its latest policy meeting. It also repeated its pledge to “monitor” the world economy, which may be increasingly threatened by China’s viral outbreak. Stock and bond markets have gyrated in the past week over fears about the virus.

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Record sales push Tesla to 2nd straight quarterly profit

DETROIT (AP) — Record electric vehicle sales in the fourth quarter helped to push Tesla Inc. to its second-straight quarterly profit. The results gave bullish investors optimism that sustained black ink lies ahead. The Palo Alto, California, company said it made a net profit of $105 million from October through December, or 58 cents per share. The fourth-quarter earnings almost certainly will continue Tesla’s meteoric stock appreciation.

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Trump celebrates major rewrite of North American trade rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed into law a major rewrite of the rules of trade with Canada and Mexico. While he’s celebrating the fulfillment of one of his top campaign promises, he’s not sharing the moment with Democratic lawmakers whose support was essential to getting the deal over the finish line. And trade experts say the impact of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will be modest.

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Microsoft plows ahead in cloud business growth

REDMOND, Wash (AP) — Microsoft on Wednesday reported another solid quarterly report card to Wall Street, as it plows ahead in selling its cloud computing services to big businesses and the government. The company reported fiscal first-quarter profit of $11.6 billion, up 36% from the same period last year. The software maker posted revenue of $36.9 billion in the October-December period, up 14% from last year and also beating forecasts.

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More airlines drop flights to China as virus spreads

BANGKOK (AP) — British Airways halted all flights to China and American Airlines suspended Los Angeles flights to and from Shanghai and Beijing as efforts to contain a new virus intensifies. Several other airlines including Finnair, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific and Singapore-based Jetstar Asia are reducing the number of flights to the country. British Airways said Wednesday it is immediately suspending all flights to and from mainland China after the U.K. government warned against unnecessary travel to the country.

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Grounded jet sends Boeing to first annual loss in 2 decades

CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing reported first annual loss in more than two decades as the crisis surrounding its grounded 737 Max drags on. Boeing said Wednesday that it lost $1 billion in the fourth quarter and lost $636 million last year. The company is sharply raising its estimate of spending related to fixing the Max and compensating airlines for canceling tens of thousands of flights. Boeing is now estimating the Max-related extra costs at more than $18 billion. The company still hopes to get FAA approval for changes it’s making to the Max around mid-year.

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Brexit deal cleared by EU Parliament; UK set to leave Friday

BRUSSELS (AP) — Britain’s departure from the European Union has been backed by European lawmakers, after a debate that mixed warm words of love with hard-headed warnings to the country not to seek too many concessions during upcoming trade talks on a future relationship. The European Parliament overwhelmingly approved Britain’s departure terms from the EU — the final major decision in the four-year Brexit saga.

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Advocates: Crucial bank law softened under Trump proposal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is proposing changes to a decades-old law designed to keep banks from discriminating against the poor and disadvantaged, but critics argue the changes could make it easier for banks to potentially ignore the under-served, particularly communities of color. The Community Reinvestment Act has over past four decades spurred hundreds of billions of dollars in lending to low- and middle-income communities. But it’s out of date and in need of an overhaul.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gave up early gains and ended mixed on Wall Street as strong showings by some tech companies were offset by losses elsewhere. Several companies including General Electric rose Wednesday after reporting solid earnings. Stocks lost momentum toward the end of the day as investors tuned in to a news conference by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Fed left its benchmark rate alone, as expected.

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The S&P 500 index fell 2.84 points, or 0.1%, to 3,273.40. The Dow edged up 11.60 points, or less than 0.1%, to 28,734.45. The Nasdaq added 5.48 points, or 0.1%, to 9,275.16. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks slid 9.09 points, or 0.5%, to 1,649.22.