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Stocks little changed...US trade deficit grows...German finance minister defends trade surplus


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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are starting to turn higher this morning after getting off to a lower start on Wall Street. Health care stocks were leading the declines after Republicans announced a health care proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act. But the Dow and the Nasdaq are now trading in positive territory, while the S&P 500 is inching back to where it started the day.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit jumped in January to the highest level in nearly five years. The Commerce Department says the deficit in January rose 9.6 percent to $48.5 billion. A flood of mobile phones and other consumer products widened America's trade gap with China.

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's finance minister says he's happy to discuss American concerns about Germany's trade surplus, but insists his country hasn't been exploiting an undervalued euro to boost exports. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro identifies the U.S. deficit with Germany as "one of the most difficult" trade issues facing the country. And last month, Navarro accused Germany of using a "grossly undervalued" euro to "exploit" the U.S. and EU. But Wolfgang Schaeuble tells reporters Germany's trade surplus is due to "the competitiveness of German industry."

PARIS (AP) — The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is predicting that global economy will grow by 3.3 percent this year, and growth rise to around 3.6 percent in 2018. However, the international economic agency warns the "modest upturn" could be derailed by a number of factors, including rising protectionism, financial vulnerabilities and uncertainties related to divergent interest rate paths around the world.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — There's a new grain on the market called Kernza. It's a sweet, nutty-tasting, wild relative of wheat, and General Mills is working with the Kansas-based Land Institute and the University of Minnesota to commercialize it. General Mills says it's intrigued by the potential environmental benefits of a drought-resistant crop with long roots that doesn't need to be replanted every year.

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