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Stocks up ... Consumer confidence at highest level in 15 years ... Cuba's economy shrinks in 2016


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NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average is inching closer to the 20,000-point mark as major stock indexes veer higher in light afternoon trading. Technology and real estate stocks are among the biggest gainers. Energy stocks are also up as the price of crude oil moves higher. The Dow had gained 31 points to 19,965 as of 1:52 p.m. Eastern time. The S&P was up 7 points and the Nasdaq rose 32.

NEW YORK (AP) — There are a few notable movers this afternoon on Wall Street despite an otherwise thin day of trading. Chipmaker Nvidia has jumped 6 percent. Drugmaker Biogen has gained 1.6 percent after receiving regulatory approval for its drug that treats the rare genetic disorder spinal muscular atrophy. And Shares of Fitbit are up more than 6 percent as the fitness tracker company's app becomes the second-most downloaded in the iTunes store.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence has shot up to its highest level in more than 15 years. The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index climbed to 113.7 this month, the highest since August of 2001. The index measures consumers' assessment of current conditions, which dipped from November, and their expectations for the future, which hit a 13-year high.

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban officials say the island's economy shrank this year despite an increased opening with the United States. Economy Minister Ricardo Cabrisas says the island's gross domestic product fell nearly 1 percent after seeing a growth rate of nearly 3 percent from 2011-2015. Cabrisas blames the slump on shrinking exports and financial troubles in allied Venezuela.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — United Airlines has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor over the working conditions for baggage handlers at Newark Liberty International Airport. A lawsuit was filed after inspectors found baggage handlers too often were forced to lift heavy bags or perform other functions while leaning over, twisting or reaching overhead. As part of the settlement, United has agreed to install conveyor belts on jet bridges so handlers won't have to manually lift and lower gate-checked passenger luggage.

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