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Stocks slide...Homebuilder confidence flags...Uber's self-inflicted wound

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 15, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.



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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks have moved lower this afternoon. The slide follows the market's biggest weekly loss in two and a half years, as the price of oil continues a six-month fall. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.2 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped or 0.3 percent, while the Nasdaq composite shed 0.6 percent.

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less confident in their sales prospects heading into next year. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index slipped this month to 57, down one point from November. Still, readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor, and the overall sales outlook remains favorable.

SYDNEY (AP) — Uber has been taking hits in many places around the world lately from governments that see it as an unregulated car service. But its latest public perception issue is of its own making. As a hostage crisis unfolded in Sydney, Australia, the technology news website Mashable reports that Uber was briefly charging customers a minimum fare of about $82 -- four times the usual per-mile rate -- to leave the city center. After an outcry on social media, Uber backtracked and began promising free rides and refunds for people fleeing central Sydney.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch privacy watchdog is ordering Google to make changes to the way it handles users' personal data. The measures are aimed at giving consumers more clarity about how their personal information is used across the suite of Google services. If Google does not comply, it could face fines of up to $18.7 million. Google maintains it's already made "a number of changes" to address such concerns and it's disappointed with the order.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Google is one of a number of major U.S. corporations researching the power of color in the working world. Google says it has already found "a clear link between color and satisfaction with a person's work area," which in turn can boost employee creativity and productivity. One marketing expert at the University of New Orleans says color is "the silent salesperson."

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The Associated Press

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