Business Highlights

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Stocks plunge again on wide selling; Dow drops another 545

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks tumble for the second consecutive day as the market's recent downturn gets worse. Indexes in Europe and Asia also skidded. The S&P 500 index falls for the sixth consecutive loss as investors try to gauge the best place to put their money amid concerns over interest rates and trade and signs of slowing global economic growth. While health care and bank stocks fare the worst Thursday, the selling is across the board, even hitting stocks considered to be safe havens.

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Higher rates both a sign of US economic might and risk to it

WASHINGTON (AP) — This week's dizzying sell-offs in the financial markets have been a rude reminder that the U.S. economy is no longer relying on ultra-low interest rates to fuel growth. Borrowing costs are starting to climb for companies, homebuyers and the U.S. government — all of which could eventually dampen economic growth.

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Trump steps up his attacks on Federal Reserve's rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attack on the Federal Reserve's interest rate increases, asserting that "the Fed is out of control" and blaming it for this week's plunge in stock prices. "It's a correction that I think is caused by the Federal Reserve with interest rates," Trump replied when asked by reporters in the Oval Office about the stock market swoon.

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Can earnings season come to the rescue for stocks?

NEW YORK (AP) — Earnings season is about to ramp up, and investors hope another round of big numbers will pull the market out of its recent swoon. That's what happened this spring, but many companies have already warned that profit expectations may be too high this time around.

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AP Exclusive: Tests show toxin in chain stores' jewelry

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Some national retailers say they're making changes after testing found a toxic metal in jewelry on their stores' shelves. Analysis done for the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health revealed cadmium in products sold by Ross, Nordstrom Rack and Papaya. The precise health risk from the jewelry is unclear, but extended exposure to cadmium can cause cancer and reproductive harm. Most of the tainted items were sold at Ross. The retailer says it has addressed the issue with its supplier.

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Mortgage rates leap to 7-year highs; 30-year at 4.90 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates leaped this week to their highest levels in seven years amid global anxiety over rising interest rates that has gripped financial markets. Costs for would-be homebuyers are climbing. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to an average 4.90 percent from 4.71 percent last week. That's the highest level for the benchmark rate since April 2011. The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans rose to 4.29 percent from 4.15 percent.

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Facebook says it purged more than 800 spam accounts, pages

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says it has purged more than 800 U.S. pages and accounts for spamming users with garbage links and clickbait. Facebook accuses their backers of "coordinated inauthentic behavior" for setting up networks of pages and accounts designed to mislead users about who they are and what they're doing.

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Risk of streaming fatigue as Walmart, AT&T, Disney join fray

NEW YORK (AP) — As Walmart, AT&T and Disney join stalwarts such as Netflix in streaming video and creating original shows, the plethora of new services creates a risk for streaming fatigue. Walmart said it is partnering with MGM to create original content for its video-on-demand service Vudu. On Wednesday, AT&T announced it would create its own streaming service centered on HBO and Turner content and libraries and its other properties. And Disney is set to launch its own service late next year.

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Shareholders must vote on Musk's return as Tesla chairman

If Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to return as chairman, shareholders will have to vote on it. The requirement is detailed in a court brief filed jointly on Thursday by Tesla and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The brief was required by a federal judge who must approve a securities fraud settlement reached with Musk and the company last month. Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $20 million each and make concessions to settle an SEC lawsuit alleging Musk duped investors with statements about a plan to take the company private.

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The benchmark S&P 500 index gave up 57.31 points, or 2.1 percent, to 2,728.37. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 545.91 points, or 2.1 percent, to 25,052.83. The Nasdaq composite skidded 92.99 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,329.06. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 30.03 points, or 1.9 percent, to 1,545.38.

U.S. crude dropped 3 percent to $70.97 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 3.4 percent to $80.26 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline lost 4.3 percent to $1.93 a gallon. Heating oil shed 2.6 percent to $2.33 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.9 percent to $3.22 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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