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Stocks slump...GM to improve factories...Arizona outlaws bans on plastic bags



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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are sliding in afternoon trading on Wall Street as investors assess the latest corporate earnings. Treasury notes are continuing their recent slump, pushing bond yields higher, after a Labor Department report showed that the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid plummeted to the lowest level in 15 years last week.

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors says it will spend $5.4 billion to improve its U.S. factories during the next three years, creating about 650 new jobs. GM says it will spend $520 million on equipment for future models at its Delta Township plant near Lansing, Michigan. The company's pre-production center in Warren, Michigan will get $140 million for a new body shop and metal stamping equipment. And the metal stamping plant in Pontiac, Michigan, will get $124 million. Other investments will be announced in the coming months.

PHOENIX (AP) — Efforts by a few cities in Arizona to ban plastic bags are now in limbo after lawmakers voted to make the bans illegal. A new law taking effect in July outlaws bans of single-use plastic bags and applies similar restrictions on Styrofoam containers and other disposable products. It also blocks cities from requiring business owners to report energy usage consumption. The bill was backed by the Arizona Retailers Association and the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance.

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) says thousands of jobs would "disappear pretty quickly" if the Export-Import Bank were to expire abruptly when its charter runs out at the end of June. He's asking Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (HEHN'-sur-ling) to come up with a plan to overhaul or wind down the bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. products such as jetliners and wind turbines. Republicans are divided on the matter, with some pushing to kill the bank outright and others supporting business groups who say it keeps U.S. jobs.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog says the IRS has taken significant steps to stop agents from targeting political groups based on their names and policy positions. The agency's inspector general says the IRS is doing a better job processing applications for tax-exempt status and has eliminated intrusive, unnecessary questions. Today's report is a follow-up to a 2013 audit that said agents had inappropriately singled out tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

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The Associated Press

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