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Stocks give up some gains...New Commerce secretary sworn in...Growth rate was 1.9

By The Associated Press | Posted - Feb. 28, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.



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NEW YORK (AP) — Banks and other financial companies are leading U.S. stock indexes modestly lower as the market gives up some of its gains from its milestone-setting finish yesterday. Investors are sizing up the latest company earnings and economic data while looking ahead to an evening speech by President Donald Trump to both houses of Congress.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has a Commerce secretary. Vice President Mike Pence has administered the oath of office to Wilbur Ross today, a day after the Senate voted 72-27 to confirm him. Ross will help promote American business interests in the U.S. and abroad. He'll also oversee agencies that manage fisheries, weather forecasting and the Census Bureau, which will conduct the next national headcount in 2020.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at an anemic 1.9 percent rate in the fourth quarter, unchanged from an initial estimate. But consumers performed better than first thought. The Commerce Department says that the gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the October-December quarter. That is a significant slowdown from 3.5 percent growth recorded in the third quarter. The government found that consumer spending grew at a faster rate than initially estimated. But spending by state and local governments and businesses equipment purchases were weaker than first thought.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose in December from a year earlier at the fastest pace in 11 months, as prospective buyers bid against each other for a limited supply of available property. The Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 5.6 percent, the most since January 2016. The price gain reflects the healthy pace of home sales, which increased in January to the fastest level in a decade. Steady job gains and growing consumer confidence have encouraged more people to take the plunge and look for a home.

UNDATED (AP) — An experimental gene therapy that turns a patient's own blood cells into specialized cancer killers has passed a key test. Doctors say more than one-third of very sick lymphoma patients who got the one-time treatment showed no sign of disease six months later. The treatment involves filtering patients' blood to remove millions of immune system warriors called T-cells, altering them in the lab to add a gene that targets cancer, and returning them to the patient intravenously. The study was sponsored by the California company Kite Pharma, which hopes to become the first to win U.S. approval of the treatment.

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The Associated Press

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