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Stocks open lower ... US homebuilders less optimistic ... Britain cracks down on stereotyping in commercials



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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have opened lower as drugmakers, insurers and other health care companies traded lower after the latest Republican-backed health care bill failed in the Senate. Elsewhere, banks are falling as bond yields and interest rates decrease. At 10:46 a.m. Eastern Time, the Dow lost 141 points, to 21,489. The S&P 500 dropped 8 points, to 2,452. And the Nasdaq was down 10 points, at 6,304. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 3 points, to 1,428. The Russell 2000 closed at an all-time high Monday.

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. homebuilders are feeling less optimistic about their sales prospects, although their overall outlook remains positive. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index declined to 64 this month. That's down two points from a downwardly revised reading of 66 in June and the lowest level since November. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index has been above 60 since September.

BERLIN (AP) — A leading insurer says damage worldwide caused by natural disasters was below average in the first-half of the year, with a series of storms in the U.S. the costliest. Germany's Munich Re (ree) says that insured losses totaled $19.5 billion between January and June. That compares with $32 billion a year earlier and a first-half average over the past decade of $29 billion. Overall losses, included those that weren't insured, totaled $41 billion — compared with last year's $111 billion and an average $102 billion.

LONDON (AP) — Britain's advertising watchdog says commercials depicting hapless husbands and housework-burdened moms may be bad for the nation's health. The Advertising Standards Authority says it's going to impose tighter regulation on what it calls harmful gender stereotyping. The watchdog previously banned ads for suggesting it was desirable for young women to be unhealthily thin.

BEIJING (AP) — Users of WhatsApp in China and security researchers say there are widespread service disruptions amid fears that the popular messaging service may be at least partially blocked by authorities. WhatsApp users in China are saying on other social media platforms that the app is partly inaccessible unless virtual private network software is used to circumvent China's censorship apparatus, known as The Great Firewall.

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The Associated Press

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