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Retail shares drop, keeping market gains in check

NEW YORK (AP) — Steep drops in Kohls, Macy's and other retailers are keeping gains for major indexes in check, offsetting good showings in other sectors.

Home Depot gave up 5% in midday trading after reporting weak sales for the latest quarter and cutting its forecast for the year.

Kohl's plunged 17.8%, dragging other department stores with it, after cutting its own forecast for the year.

Technology and health care stocks rose broadly, however, leaving major indexes mixed. Broadcom added 3.2% and Biogen rose 2%.


US housing starts climbed 3.8% in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home building jumped 3.8% in October, a positive sign for the overall economy as developers anticipate steady demand.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.31 million. Starts for single-family houses were up 2%, largely because of construction in the West and South. Construction of apartment buildings rose 6.8% from the prior month.

Lower mortgage rates and a healthy job market have aided the housing market in recent months, yet housing starts are still down 0.6% year-to-date as a shortage of land and high construction costs have limited building. Affordability is a problem for would-be buyers as increases in home prices have outstripped wage growth.

Building permits, a measure of future construction, rose 5% in October to 1.46 million.


Congress wants review of Keystone pipeline in wake of spill

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Some U.S. House Democrats want a review of the Keystone pipeline and the federal agency that regulates it.

The request Monday to the Government Accountability Office comes after a pipeline breach in North Dakota leaked an estimated 383,000 gallons (1.4 million liters) of oil.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone; Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio; Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials subcommittee Chairman Dan Lipinski; and Energy subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush say in a letter that the North Dakota leak is the third spill from the pipeline in three years.

The lawmakers say the spills raise “serious questions” about pipeline owner TC Energy’s management of the line. They also question whether the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is providing adequate oversight of it.


New York joins states suing e-cigarette maker Juul

NEW YORK (AP) — New York has joined the ranks of states suing the nation’s biggest e-cigarette maker.

Attorney General Letitia James announced the lawsuit on Tuesday against San Francisco based JUUL Labs.

It alleges the company used deceptive and misleading marketing of its e-cigarettes, contributing to a youth vaping epidemic.

Juul said in response that it’s focused on “earning the trust of society” by working with government entities to combat underage use and “convert adult smokers from combustible cigarettes.”

The company was sued by California on Monday and North Carolina in May. Illinois, Massachusetts and several other states are also investigating the company.


DC attorney general sues DoorDash for pocketing tips

NEW YORK (AP) — The attorney general of Washington D.C. is suing DoorDash, saying the food delivery service pocketed tips that customers thought were going to delivery workers.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said Tuesday that DoorDash misled consumers who believed their tips would go to workers, not the company’s bottom line. He is hoping to recover millions of dollars in tip money and to impose civil penalties on the company.

DoorDash says the accusations are without merit. The delivery company changed its pay structure in August and says workers are earning more money under the new system. DoorDash says it worked with an independent third party to verify that all tips are paid to its delivery workers.

Racine began investigating how DoorDash pays delivery workers after media reports surfaced about its tipping practices.


Disney Plus user accounts already found on hacking sites

NEW YORK (AP) — Disney says its new Disney Plus streaming service doesn’t have a security breach, but some users have been shut out after hackers tried to break into their accounts.

The news site ZDNet found stolen account usernames and passwords selling for $3 on underground hacking forums. Disney’s streaming service costs $7 a month or $70 a year.

Disney says there’s no indication of a security breach on Disney Plus. It says it takes the privacy and security of users’ data seriously.

It’s likely hackers found email and password combinations re-used by Disney Plus subscribers after they’d previously been stolen from other online services.

Disney Plus hasn’t said how many subscribers have had security problems. The new service attracted 10 million subscribers the day it launched earlier this month.


Mazda recalls vehicles to replace Takata air bag inflators

DETROIT (AP) — Mazda is recalling nearly 117,000 U.S. vehicles for a second time to replace potentially deadly Takata air bag inflators.

The action covers vehicles recalled from 2013 to 2017 that received Takata replacement inflators because parts from other manufacturers weren’t available.

Included are 2007 to 2012 CX-7 and CX-9 SUVs, and 2003 through 2012 Mazda6 sedans. Also covered are 2004 and 2005 MPV minivans, 2004 RX-8 sports cars, and 2006 and 2007 Mazdaspeed6 sedans.

Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags. The chemical can deteriorate when exposed to high heat and humidity and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister and hurling shrapnel.

Dealers will replace front passenger inflators with parts that don’t have ammonium nitrate. Notification letters will be mailed by Dec. 18.


Nerf gun, Power Rangers claw cited by toy safety watchdog

BOSTON (AP) — A rapid-fire Nerf gun, ice cream-scented Nickelodeon slime and a plastic Power Rangers claw are among the toys making a consumer safety group's annual list of worst toys for the holidays.

World Against Toys Causing Harm, or WATCH, unveiled its list Tuesday at a Boston children's hospital.

A realistic toy machine gun, the Pogo Trick Board, a yeti teddy bear and a pull-along caterpillar toy for infants also made the list.

The Massachusetts-based nonprofit says many of the products present choking, eye and other safety hazards found in poorly designed toys.

It also cites the products for having inconsistent and inadequate warning labels.

The industry trade group The Toy Association didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. In the past, it has dismissed the list as biased and inaccurate.


EasyJet says it will operate net-zero carbon flights

LONDON (AP) — European budget airline easyJet says it will become the first major carrier to operate net-zero carbon flights, offsetting carbon emissions from the fuel used on every flight.

The company says Tuesday it will offset the carbon “by investing in projects that include planting trees or protecting against deforestation.’’ The cost of the program is estimated at 25 million pounds ($32 million).

The airline described the effort as an “interim measure" while new technologies are being developed, including efforts to develop hybrid and electric planes. The measure is part of other initiatives to reduce emissions, such as using a single engine when taxiing.

EasyJet says that as part of a goal to de-carbonize aviation, it has signed a preliminary deal with Airbus to jointly research hybrid and electric aircraft.


Oregon pension fund is invested in spyware, prison companies

TIGARD, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s state employee pension fund is invested in an Israeli company whose smartphone spyware has been used against dissidents, human rights defenders and journalists by repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia.

It’s also invested in two prison companies that run immigrant detention facilities, even though Oregon pioneered statewide sanctuary status.

Investors around the globe are increasingly incorporating social values like climate change and human rights in deciding where to put their money. A 2018 survey by the U.S. Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment found asset managers in the United States consider such criteria across $11.6 trillion in assets, representing roughly $1 out of every $4 under professional management.

Oregon’s situation shows the practice remains aspirational in some states, while others, like New York and California, have taken strides.

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