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Oil up, stocks down after Iran missile attack on US troops

BEIJING (AP) — Oil prices rose and Asian stock markets fell today after Iran fired missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of an Iranian general.

Brent crude futures, the benchmark for international oils, spiked more than $3 per barrel in London before retreating.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index fell 1.5% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1%. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.2% and South Korea's Kospi retreated 1.1%. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.1% and India's Sensex opened down 0.7%.

Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets also retreated.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.3% to 3,237.18 in trading that closed before the Iranian attack.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% to 28,583.68. The Nasdaq composite slipped less than 0.1% to 9,068.58.

In currency markets, the dollar declined to 108.31 yen from Tuesday's 108.44 yen. The euro was unchanged at $1.1151.


Report: Ransomware takes down online currency exchange

BOSTON (AP) — A week after a malicious virus infected its network, the London-based foreign currency exchange company Travelex had yet to restore digital sales and was reported infected with ransomware by hackers threatening to release personal data unless it pays a $3 million ransom.

The U.K.-based security website BleepingComputer said hackers claimed to have encrypted Travelex’s entire network with a strain of ransomware known as Sodinokibi and copied more than 5 gigabytes of personal data, including Travelex customers' credit and debit card information, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

The hackers said they deleted backup files and gave London-based Travelex — which operates in 27 countries with more than 1,200 stores — a week to pay up or they would publish the data they stole. the website reported.


Prosecutors raid lawyer's office where Ghosn worked on case

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo prosecutors on Wednesday raided a Japanese lawyer's office where former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn (gohn) had visited regularly before skipping bail last week and fleeing to Lebanon.

Japanese news footage showed prosecutors marching into Junichiro Hironaka's office in Tokyo, where a woman answering the phone said the lawyers weren't there to comment and hung up. Prosecutors declined immediate comment.

Ghosn was under strict bail conditions while preparing for his trial on financial misconduct allegations. But he had been allowed to use a computer at his l awyer's office under those conditions.


United to take $90 million charge for Hong Kong disruptions

CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines said Tuesday it will take a $90 million charge against fourth-quarter earnings because of a drop in value of its routes to Hong Kong, the scene of anti-government protests in recent months.

United said lower demand for travel to Hong Kong reduced its revenue for each seat flown one mile, a measure that airline investors watch closely. The company said that led to its calculation of the non-cash impairment charge.

The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max has also hurt United, causing it to cancel thousands of flights. The airline has pulled the plane from its schedule until early June, about two months longer than American and Southwest.


Ex-Goldman Sachs banker pleads guilty to insider trading

NEW YORK (AP) — A former banker at Goldman Sachs pleaded guilty to an insider trading charge Tuesday, admitting that he stole secrets from the investment bank and gave them to a securities trader in Switzerland.

Bryan Cohen entered the plea in Manhattan federal court to conspiring to commit securities fraud. He also agreed to forfeit $260,000, an amount prosecutors said represented the proceeds of his crime.

According to a plea agreement document, federal sentencing guidelines would suggest a sentence of between 2 1/2 years and three years in prison, though Judge William H. Pauley III will be free to reach his own conclusion at a sentencing scheduled for April 3. The guidelines also called for a fine up to $100,000.


Homeless women who took over California home gain support

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Some California lawmakers said they support a group of homeless women who have been illegally living in a vacant three-bedroom house since November, partly to protest real estate speculators who drive up housing costs in the pricey San Francisco Bay Area.

Moms 4 Housing, a collective recently formed to support the Oakland women, interrupted a press conference on legislation to boost housing construction Tuesday at City Hall, shouting “affordable housing now."

The women took over the home after they said they were unable to find permanent housing in the Bay Area, where high-paying tech jobs have exacerbated income inequality and a housing shortage. They also say they're protesting real estate developers who snap up distressed homes, then leave them empty.

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