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Tech companies lead US stock rally following global gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Technology companies and banks are leading a broad rally for U.S. stocks following solid gains overseas.

The Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were all up more than 1.5 percent at midday.

China took more steps to soften the financial blow of the virus outbreak and its main stock index rose following a plunge a day earlier. China’s central bank is putting $57 billion in funds into its markets. The measure is on top of an advance announcement from Monday that the government would put $173 billion into the markets as they reopened from an extended break because of the virus.

Traders snapped up tech stocks, which are often sensitive to China’s economic health because of ties to supply chains and sales.


China's virus outbreak weighs on global business

BEIJING (AP) — China's virus outbreak is giving global business a chill.

Mink breeders in Denmark called off a fur auction because Chinese buyers can’t attend due to travel curbs imposed to contain the outbreak.

Airlines have canceled 25,000 flights to and within China after ticket sales collapsed, according to travel data provider OAG. General Motors Co. and other automakers are telling employees to limit travel to China, their biggest market.

The Chinese gambling enclave of Macau said it was closing casinos for two weeks as a precaution. The Italian fashion industry forecasts a drop in sales due to the virus. The Singapore Air Show, due to open next week, is canceling a business conference.

Global companies increasingly rely on China, the world's No. 2 economy, but that has left them more exposed than ever to the pain of its latest abrupt slump.


Irish regulator probes Google, Tinder over data processing

LONDON (AP) — Irish regulators have launched separate inquiries into Google and dating app Tinder over their processing of user data, in a fresh round of regulatory scrutiny aimed at tech companies.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission said Tuesday it decided to look into how Google handles location data after a number of consumer groups across the European Union filed complaints.

The regulator is also investigating Tinder over issues surrounding U.S. parent company Match Group's “ongoing processing of users' personal data" related to Tinder, transparency and compliance with Europe's strict privacy rules.

Google and Match said they will cooperate with the regulator.


US antitrust chief leaving Google probe because of lobbying

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department official leading the investigation of big tech companies’ market dominance is stepping aside from the department’s Google probe because of his previous lobbying work for Google.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim is recusing himself from the investigation into Google, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday. The person wasn’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Delrahim lobbied on Google’s behalf in 2007 when the Mountain View, California-based internet company faced antitrust scrutiny over its acquisition of DoubleClick, a competitor in digital advertising.


FTC sues to block Harry's sale to Schick owner Edgewell

NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission is suing to block a merger that would combine old-school shaving company Schick with upstart rival Harry's.

The FTC says the merger would eliminate a key competitor from the market that had driven down razor prices and encouraged innovation.

Edgewell Personal Care announced in September that it was buying Harry's for $1.37 billion in a deal that was expected to close this year. Edgewell's Schick is the No. 2 razor brand in the U.S. behind Gillette.

Edgewell CEO Rod Little says the company is reviewing the FTC's decision and will “respond in due course.”


Trump's economy: Solid and steady but vulnerable to threats

WASHINGTON (AP) — A portrait of a robust U.S. economy is sure to fill center stage Tuesday night when President Trump gives his third State of the Union address.

It is an economy that has proved solid and durable yet hasn't fulfilled many of Trump's promises.

Nine months before the election, the economy keeps growing steadily if only modestly. Unemployment is at a half-century low. And consumers, the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, continue to spend. Average pay is rising faster than when Trump took office three years ago, with the largest percentage gains now going to lower-wage workers. Some research has found that this trend, which began in 2015 before Trump's election, partly reflects higher state minimum wages.

Yet what Trump now calls an unprecedented boom is, by some measures, not all that different from the solid economy that he inherited from President Barack Obama. Economic growth was 2.3% in 2019, matching the average pace since the Great Recession ended a decade ago in the first year of Obama's eight-year presidency.

Meanwhile, economists warn that the U.S. expansion, now in its record-long 11th year, faces an array of threats.


Mexican migrants send home $36 billion, remittances rise 7%

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican migrants working abroad sent home a record $36 billion in remittances in 2019, the country's central bank reported Tuesday.

That was an increase of 7% in remittances from 2018, when they totaled $33.67 billion.

It was the highest level of remittances on record and is higher than the $25 billion in income Mexico receives from foreign tourism or the country's $22.4 billion in annual petroleum exports.

The average amount of electronic transfers sent home was about $300.

Electronic transfers have largely replaced cash and money orders as the most popular method for sending money home. Studies suggest that recipients largely use the transfers to pay living expenses, with some used for investment.


UK boosts climate effort by banning new gas vehicles by 2035

LONDON (AP) — The British government says it plans to ban the sale of new gas and diesel cars by 2035, five years earlier than its previous target, in a bid to speed up its efforts to tackle climate change.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement as he launched the U.K.'s plans to host the United Nations’ global climate summit. The COP26 meeting is being held in Glasgow in November.

Johnson, however, is facing criticism from the woman he appointed to lead the conference, then who he fired last week. Claire O’Neill strongly criticized the prime minister on Tuesday, saying Britain’s efforts to fight climate change were “miles off track.”


Changing counts reveal inexact science of calorie labels

NEW YORK (AP) — Almonds may have fewer calories than previously believed, showing the inexact science of how the numbers can be calculated.

The lower counts are based on studies where researchers gave individuals meals with and without almonds. The studies were partly funded by the almond industry and sought to more accurately reflect how much of the nuts are digested.

The difference of 20 or 30 calories may not seem like much but could sway decisions at grocery stores. Kind says it's lowering the calorie counts on its snack bars based on the studies.

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