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Wall Street rally continues...Merck buys Swiss biotech...Amazon launches 1-hour shipping in NYC

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 18, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.



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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rallying for a second straight day. Oracle is leading a rally in technology shares after the business software maker reported earnings that were better than expected. The Dow Jones industrial average has been up about 300 points in early afternoon trading. The Nasdaq composite was more than 80 points higher and The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose more than 30.

KENILWORTH, N.J. (AP) — Drugmaker Merck says it's bought a Swiss biotech company developing cancer drugs as part of its strategy to be a top player in cancer research. Merck will pay up to $110 million upfront to OncoEthix. The company could receive further payments of up to $265 million if it meets targets for testing and product approval. The deal gives Merck ownership of an experimental treatment that could be the first in a new class of drugs that block proteins involved in cancer cell growth and survival.

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon is offering one-hour delivery of thousands of basic products to select customers in New York City. The online retail giant rolled out the service, known as Prime Now, to select areas of Manhattan today. Amazon says the one-hour delivery is available to customers who are already enrolled in Amazon Prime, a membership service that costs $99 a year. The one-hour delivery costs $7.99 but the company also offers two-hour delivery for free. Amazon says it hopes to roll the service out to additional cities in 2015.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Apple chief Tim Cook is helping to fund a gay rights initiative in his native Alabama and two other Southern states. The first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company is making what the Human Rights Campaign calls a "substantial" donation to an $8.5 million campaign launched in April. The goal of Project One America is to build acceptance for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

LONDON (AP) — A European court says obesity can be a disability. The European Court of Justice ruled today in the case of a child-care worker in Denmark who says he was unfairly fired for being fat. The court said if obesity hinders "full and effective participation in professional life," it could count as a disability. The ruling that could have consequences for employers across the continent. Discrimination on the grounds of disability is illegal under European Union law.

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The Associated Press

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