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Stocks rally...312,000 jobs added in December...More air bag recalls


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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are climbing in early trading on Wall Street following news of trade talks between the U.S. and China next week and a surge of December hiring in the U.S. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been up more than 550 points. Technology companies, banks, health care and industrial companies are all showing strong gains.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers dramatically stepped up their hiring in December. The Labor Department says 312,000 jobs were added last month, and average hourly pay improved 3.2 percent from a year ago. Health care, food services, construction, and manufacturing were the primary contributors to the hiring. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9 percent, but that reflected a surge in jobseekers— seen as a positive for growth.

UNDATED (AP) — Ford is recalling more than 953,000 vehicles worldwide to replace Takata passenger air bag inflators that can explode and hurl shrapnel. The move includes 782,000 vehicles in the U.S., part of the largest series of recalls in U.S. history. Included are the 2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, the 2010 and 2011 Ford Ranger, the 2010 to 2012 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, the 2010 and 2011 Mercury Milan, and the 2010 to 2014 Ford Mustang. Some of the recalls may be limited to specific geographic areas of the U.S.

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Marriott says fewer guest records were compromised than feared in a previously announced data breach. But the largest hotel chain in the world confirmed today that approximately 5.25 million unencrypted passport numbers were accessed. That has raised alarms among security experts because, combined with names, addresses and other personal information, passports can be used to open fraudulent accounts, or be used by foreign operators. The FBI is leading the investigation of the hack.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A federal judge says a Maryland law aimed at addressing foreign interference in local elections on social media platforms such as Facebook appears to overstep the First Amendment. The law requires certain media websites to publish online ad purchases and keep records of them for state inspection. U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm has granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from enforcing those provisions until the case is resolved.

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