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Stocks fall

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling in midday trading on Wall Street as investors shift to a more cautious stance following another record high for the S&P 500 a day earlier.

Banks led the decline Thursday as bond yields fell sharply. Bank of America gave up 1.7%.

Bond yields were falling following a surprisingly weak report on business activity in the Midwest.

Technology stocks fell, despite solid gains from Apple following its encouraging earnings report.

Facebook also rose after releasing surprisingly good third-quarter results.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.71% from 1.79% a day earlier.


US consumer spending rises 0.2% in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers modestly stepped up their spending in September, but their incomes grew fast enough to let them save more, too.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.2% last month, matching August's increase. Incomes grew 0.3% lifting the U.S. savings rate to 8.3% in September, highest since March.

A measure of inflation closely watched by the Federal Reserve was flat in September, even excluding volatile food and energy prices. Over the past year, it is up 1.3%, and 1.7% without food and energy.

Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic activity. The government reported Wednesday that consumer spending rose at a solid annual pace of 2.9% from July through September, a bright spot in a quarter when the overall economy grew at a mediocre 1.9% pace.


US worker annual compensation rose 2.8% in third quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — Annual wages and benefits for U.S. workers continued to rise at a modest pace in the third quarter, even as unemployment stays near a half-century low.

The Labor Department says that growth in pay and benefits for all U.S. workers rose 2.8% in the July-September quarter, compared to the same period in 2018. That's at a slightly quicker pace than the second quarter's 2.7% growth.

The report was reflective of the hesitance of employers to step up wages, even in a strong job market.

Compensation ticked up to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 0.7%, from the three-month gain of 0.6% for the second quarter.

Wages and salaries, which make up the bulk of employment costs, rose 0.9% while benefits, covering items such as health insurance and pensions, rose 0.5%.


Trump says US, China seek new site to sign trade agreement

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says the U.S. and China are working to secure a new site to sign "phase one" of their trade agreement and the location will be announced soon.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) had been expected to sign the document at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile in mid-November. But Chile announced Wednesday that it was canceling the event due to ongoing mass demonstrations.

Negotiators have been working out details of the modest trade deal that sidesteps some of the biggest issues dividing the countries.

Trump nonetheless claims in a tweet that the agreement represents "about 60% of total deal."

The White House says Trump called Chile's president Wednesday to express support for the country and for the decision to cancel the summit.


Security firm says Chinese hackers intercepted text messages

WASHINGTON (AP) — A cybersecurity firm says Chinese hackers with a history of state-sponsored espionage have intercepted the text messages of thousands of foreigners in a targeted operation.

FireEye says in a report issued Thursday that hackers penetrated a telecommunications provider and planted eavesdropping software. It hasn't said where the provider is located. It says some of the known targets were high value but none was a U.S. official.

FireEye says the hackers belong to a group known as APT41 and the spyware captured messages that referenced politicians and military organizations at odds with the Chinese government.

The malware could not read messages sent with end-to-end encrypted applications such as WhatsApp and iMessage. FireEye says the hackers also stole detailed calling records.

A Chinese government representative hasn't responded to an emailed request for comment.


China pledges support for private market, no stimulus plans

BEIJING (AP) — China's leaders have affirmed support for private business within its state-dominated economy but gave no indication of initiatives to stimulate sagging growth following an annual planning meeting.

The meeting of the Communist Party's Central Committee that ended Thursday came as companies and investors are watching for Beijing to cut interest rates or take other steps to shore up China's weakest economic growth in nearly three decades.

A party statement said state-owned industry is the "main body" of the economy but promised to "unswervingly support" entrepreneurs. It affirmed promises to give market forces the "decisive role" in allocating resources.

The economy was mentioned in four brief sentences in the 23-paragraph statement, which was devoted mostly to political issues.


Eurozone grew 0.2% in Q3 as shaky recovery continues

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The 19 country eurozone grew 0.2% in the third quarter from the quarter before, continuing a shaky upswing amid trade disputes and uncertainty over Brexit.

The European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat, said Thursday that growth rose 1.1% from the same period a year ago.

The countries that share the euro continue to grow despite uncertainty over when and how Britain will leave the EU. The U.S.-China trade dispute has also weighed on business confidence, leading the European Central Bank to launch a stimulus package of bond purchase and an interest rate cut amid slowing indicators of future activity.

Unemployment remained unchanged in September at 7.5%, the lowest since July 2008, as the labor market continues its slow recovery from the 2010-2012 eurozone debt crisis.


Keystone oil pipeline leaks 383,000 gallons in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators say the Keystone pipeline leaked more than 383,000 gallons (1.4 million liters) of oil in the northeastern part of the state.

Calgary-based TC Energy says in a statement that the pipeline leak affected about 22,500 square feet (2090.3 sq. meters) of land near Edinburg, in Walsh County.

The company says the spill has been contained and its cause is unknown.

North Dakota regulators were notified late Tuesday night of the leak. They say some wetlands were affected, but not any sources of drinking water.

Water Quality Division Director Karl Rockeman says the pipeline has been shut down since the leak.

The Keystone pipeline is part of a 2,687-mile (4,324 kilometer) system that also is to include the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.


Uber sues Chicago suburb of Skokie over new ride-hailing tax

(Information in the following story is from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://chicago.suntimes.com/)

SKOKIE, Ill. (AP) — Uber is suing the Chicago suburb of Skokie, alleging that its new tax on ride-hailing services violates the Illinois constitution.

The lawsuit asks a Cook County judge to block Skokie from collecting the tax, which took effect Wednesday.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Uber claims the village's ride-hailing ordinance violates Illinois' constitution by imposing a tax on a specific occupation.

The complaint says Skokie began charging ride-share companies 15 cents for every shared trip that begins or ends in the suburb, and 35 cents for every solo trip.

Skokie spokeswoman Ann Tennes says the village hasn't been served with the suit.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has proposed increasing fees for solo passengers on ride-hailing services.

An Uber spokesperson says a positive ruling in the Skokie case will likely impact Chicago.


Utah among the last in US to lay weak beer to rest

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The first change to beer alcohol limits since the end of Prohibition is coming to Utah.

The state will become the next-to-last in the country to say goodbye to lower-alcohol 3.2% beer on Friday, when drinkers will welcome new, slightly stronger brews to grocery stores, gas stations and bar taps.

The iconic Budweiser Clydesdale horses marked the occasion in Salt Lake City at a mock funeral for the alcohol limits that were common in most of the U.S. in the 1930s.

Utah kept the restrictions for beer sold outside state-owned liquor stores longer than most states, but lawmakers allowed the increase to a still-low 4% by weight as the market shrunk and large breweries stopped making many weaker beers.

Minnesota is the last state to have 3.2% beer.

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