Business Highlights

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Apple to build new Austin hub, expand in other tech hotbeds

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Apple is building a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas. The move will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The company says it will also open offices in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, each employing at least 1,000 workers.

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Detention of Canadians raises stakes in China-US-Canada row

BEIJING (AP) — China has confirmed the detentions of two Canadian men, raising the stakes in a three-way international dispute with the United States. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday that entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig were taken into custody on Monday on suspicion of “endangering national security.”

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With OK from Congress, US hemp market set to boom

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Hemp is about to become legal nationwide. A provision of the farm bill that received final approval in Congress on Wednesday removes hemp from the list of federally controlled substances and treats it like a regular crop. Hemp is a type of cannabis that does not get the user high. The change means an industry already seeing explosive growth is likely to grow more. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law next week.

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Feds: US fishermen had good year aided by lobsters, scallops

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government says U.S. commercial fishing generated more than $144 billion in sales in 2016, a total about in line with trends of recent years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its annual Fisheries Economics of the United States report on Thursday. The report states that the $144.3 billion in sales from commercial fishing in 2016 was up about $100 million from the previous year.

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Eurozone stimulus program to end as growth worries resurface

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank says it will end the stimulus program that for almost four years has supported the eurozone economy — despite new risks including global trade wars and Brexit. Thursday’s decision to halt the program at year end calls time on a 2.6-trillion euro ($3 trillion) program that bank President Mario Draghi credits with putting more than 9 million people in jobs.

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UK’s May, embattled at home, seeks EU lifeline on Brexit

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline that could help her sell her Brexit divorce deal to a hostile U.K. Parliament. May acknowledged that a breakthrough was unlikely at a two-day EU summit in Brussels but sought reassurances from the bloc that she can use to win over opponents at home. May won a challenge to her leadership but had to promise to step down as Conservative leader before the U.K.’s next vote in 2022.

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US budget deficit hits record $204.9 billion for November

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal budget deficit surged to a record for the month of November of $204.9 billion, but a big part of the increase reflected a calendar quirk. The Treasury Department says that the deficit for November was $66.4 billion higher than the imbalance in November 2017. But $44 billion of that figure reflected the fact that December benefits in many government entitlement programs were paid in November this year because Dec. 1 fell on a Saturday.

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Starbucks to expand delivery in US, China

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks is expanding delivery to more stores in the U.S. and China. The company says it will offer delivery from 2,000 U.S. stores by next summer through a partnership with UberEats. In China, delivery will be offered from 2,000 stores in 30 cities by the end of this year, up from 150 stores at the end of September. Starbucks is partnering with delivery service Ele.me in that country. The company made the comments at an investor presentation Thursday in New York.

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Stocks indexes settle down, but small companies drop again

NEW YORK (AP) — US stocks finish mostly lower as banks, retailers and smaller companies fall, but the moves are relatively small following a turbulent few days on Wall Street. High-dividend companies move higher. The European Central Bank said it will end its bond-buying stimulus program at the end of the year but trimmed its forecasts for economic growth across Europe.

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The S&P 500 index lost 0.53 points to 2,650.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 70.11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,597.38. The Nasdaq composite fell 27.98 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,070.33. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 22.62 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,432.70.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil jumped 2.8 percent to $52.58 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 2.2 percent to $61.45 per barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline climbed 4.1 percent to $1.48 a gallon and heating oil rose 1.4 percent to $1.88 a gallon. Natural gas slipped 0.3 percent to $4.12 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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