Business Highlights

Business Highlights

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US adds just 20K jobs; unemployment dips to 3.8 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite the tepid pace of hiring in February, the government's monthly jobs report included several positive signs that point to a still-sturdy employment market and economy: Average hourly pay last month rose 3.4 percent from a year earlier — the sharpest year-over-year increase in a decade. The unemployment rate also fell to 3.8 percent, near the lowest level in five decades, from 4 percent in January.

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UK leader warns Brexit may never happen unless deal approved

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to pressure U.K. lawmakers to support her Brexit deal, warning that if they vote down the agreement next week, Britain may never leave the European Union at all. Battling to stave off a second defeat for the unpopular deal, May also implored the EU to help her make "one more push" to get the agreement through a skeptical Parliament.

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Wall Street's new dress code raises question: What to wear?

NEW YORK (AP) — Business casual has become such an entrenched trend that even Goldman Sachs surrendered to it with a memo to employees announcing a flexible dress code. That has complicated the calculation for bankers trying to navigate a more laid-back era that has provided fertile ground for missteps.

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Feds probe alleged prison cellphone use by 'Pharma Bro'

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities are investigating claims that Martin Shkreli has been running his pharmaceutical company from behind bars. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons said Friday that it has opened an inquiry into whether the so-called "Pharma Bro" used a contraband smartphone inside a New Jersey prison. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Shkreli has been calling the shots at Phoenixus AG despite the seven-year sentence he's serving for securities fraud.

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Warner Bros. CEO apologizes to staff amid misconduct reports

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara is apologizing to his staff amid a WarnerMedia investigation into sexual misconduct reports prompted by an article in The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week. Tsujihara is under scrutiny for claims that he promised acting roles and auditions to an actress whom he was having a sexual relationship with. Tsujihara says he regrets mistakes in his personal life that have caused pain and embarrassment to people he loves and the company.

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Warren says tech giants have 'too much power,' need breakup

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says the technology industry is too heavily concentrated among the biggest companies and she has a plan to address that. The Massachusetts senator is proposing legislation targeting tech giants with annual revenue of $25 billion or more. It would limit their ability to expand and break up what she calls "anti-competitive mergers" — such as Facebook's purchase of Instagram and Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods.

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Saudi app criticized for feature to control women's travel

The Saudi government app Absher is mostly a way for people to pay traffic fines and complete other administrative tasks electronically. But one feature isn't sitting well with civil-rights advocates: the ability for men to grant or deny a woman permission to travel. Though the app is merely implementing existing laws, the feature has sparked calls for leading tech companies to block access through their app stores. So far, the app remains available on iPhone and Android app stores.

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High-tech help connects fans to off-the-grid Iditarod race

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Iditarod officials say technology has increasingly brought the race across rugged Alaska wilderness closer to fans and made it safer for competitors. Volunteers and contractors monitor the dog teams through GPS-equipped sleds that allow fans to follow them online in real time and organizers to ensure no one is missing. Some serve as aircraft dispatchers for a cadre of pilots who ferry supplies. Others process live video streamed from checkpoints along the rugged trail.

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Emoji gods approve skin-tone options for couples of color

NEW YORK (AP) — In the world of emoji, interracial couples had virtually no options in terms of skin tone. But the emoji gods, otherwise known as the Unicode Consortium, recently rectified that, approving 71 new variations. Using six skin tones already available for one-person emoji, vendors such as Apple, Google and Microsoft will now be able to offer couples of color. Additions are expected later this year.

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First down week since January for S&P 500 as unease spreads

NEW YORK (AP) — Another wave of selling on Wall Street Friday left the S&P 500 with its worst weekly showing since January and its eighth loss in the last nine days. The sell-off, which lost some strength toward the end of the day, followed a surprisingly weak jobs report and more signs that the global economy is hitting the brakes. Energy stocks led the market's slide as crude oil prices declined. Health care companies and retailers also pulled the market lower.

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The S&P 500 dropped 5.86 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,743.07. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 22.99 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,450.24. The Nasdaq composite declined 13.32 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,408.14. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 1.74 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,521.88. Major European indexes closed lower.