Business Highlights

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GM says it has 2,700 jobs for workers slated to be laid off

DETROIT (AP) — The General Motors’ massive 14,000-person layoff announced last month might not be as bad as originally projected. The company said Friday that 2,700 out of the 3,300 factory jobs slated for elimination will now be saved by adding jobs at other U.S. factories. Blue-collar workers in many cities will still lose jobs when GM shutters four U.S. factories next year. But most could find employment at other GM plants. Some would have to relocate.

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Stocks plunge to 8-month lows on growth fears; J&J nosedives

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fall sharply on Wall Street, shaving 496 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as traders worry about signs of weaker economic growth in China and Europe. Disarray mounts surrounding Britain’s impending departure from the European Union. Johnson & Johnson plunged after Reuters reported the company has known for decades that its talc sometimes contained asbestos, a claim the company denied.

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Detentions raise fears, cast doubt on China’s policies

WASHINGTON (AP) — By detaining two Canadians in an apparent act of retribution, China is making itself look like the country its harshest critics say it is: one unbound by the laws, rules and procedures that govern other major industrial nations. Canada’s arrest of a top Chinese technology executive at the request of the United States has set off a diplomatic furor with Beijing.

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Scandal-plagued CBS grants $20M to 18 women’s rights groups

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS is pledging to give $20 million to 18 organizations dedicated to eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace as the network tries to recover from the scandal that forced the ouster of its top executive, Les Moonves. CBS said Friday that the money will go toward helping the organizations expand their work and “ties into the company’s ongoing commitment to strengthening its own workplace culture.”

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J&J hammered by report it knew of asbestos in baby powder

NEW YORK (AP) — Johnson & Johnson is forcefully denying a media report that it knew for decades about the existence of trace amounts of asbestos in its baby powder. The report Friday by the Reuters news service sent company shares into a tailspin, suffering their worst sell-off in 16 years.

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EU leaders approve small steps to buttress euro currency

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European leaders have agreed to press ahead with a limited, common eurozone budget and other steps to strengthen the currency union’s resistance to downturns and crises. The budget proposal leaves its size undefined. Friday’s deal appeared to fall short of more sweeping ideas pushed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

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China suspends tariff hikes on $126B of US cars, auto parts

BEIJING (AP) — China has announced a 90-day suspension of tariff hikes on $126 billion of U.S. cars, trucks and auto parts following its trade cease-fire with Washington. The suspension follows President Donald Trump’s agreement to postpone planned U.S. tariff hikes on Chinese imports for 90 days while the two sides negotiate over American complaints about Beijing’s technology policy and trade surplus. The Chinese tax agency said the suspension takes effect Jan. 1.

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US industrial production climbed 0.6 percent in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. industrial production climbed 0.6 percent on surging output at mines and utilities. But manufacturing production was flat. The Federal Reserve says that utility output rose 3.3 percent as power companies were busier because of unusually cold weather. Mining output rose 1.7 percent on higher production at coal mines and oil and gas drillers.

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Bug may have exposed photos from 7M Facebook users

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook’s privacy controls have broken down yet again, this time through a software flaw affecting nearly 7 million users who had photos exposed to a much wider audience than intended. The bug disclosed Friday gave hundreds of apps unauthorized access to photos that could in theory include images that would embarrass some of the affected users. They also included photos people may have uploaded but hadn’t yet posted, perhaps because they had changed their mind.

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Macron urges calm, Paris police prepare for more violence

PARIS (AP) — French President Emanuel Macron is calling for calm as authorities prepare for a possible fifth straight weekend of violent protests on the streets of Paris. Officials plan to deploy armored vehicles and thousands of security forces against the “yellow vest” demonstrators, who have been angered by high taxes and a sense that the government is detached from the everyday struggles of workers.

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The S&P 500 index lost 50.59 points, or 1.9 percent, to 2,599.95. The Dow retreated 496.87 points, or 2 percent, to 24,100.51. The Nasdaq composite slid 159.67 points, or 2.3 percent, to 6,910.66. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 21.89 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,410.81.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2.6 percent to $51.20 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 1.9 percent to settle at $60.28 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 3 percent to $1.43 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.7 percent to $1.85 a gallon and natural gas dropped 7.2 percent to $3.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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