Business Highlights

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Facebook's fake news problem: What's its responsibility?

NEW YORK (AP) " Facebook is under fire for failing to rein in fake and biased news stories that some believe may have swayed the presidential election. Its predicament stems from this basic conundrum: It exercises great control over the news its users see, but it declines to assume the editorial responsibility that traditional publishers do.

On Monday, Facebook took a minor step to address the issue, clarifying its advertising policy to emphasize that it won't display ads on sites that run information that is "illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news." The company said it was merely making explicit a policy that was already implied.

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Twitter adds new options to curb abuse, harassment

NEW YORK (AP) " Twitter, long criticized as a hotbed for online harassment, is expanding ways to curb the amount of abuse users see and making it easier to report such conduct.

Twitter said Tuesday that it is expanding a "mute" function that lets people mute accounts they don't want to see tweets from. Now, users will be able to mute keywords, phrases and conversations they don't want to get notifications about.

The company is also making it easier to report hateful conduct, and said it has re-trained its support teams about its policies and hateful conduct.

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Energy companies lead indexes higher as oil price soars

NEW YORK (AP) " U.S. stocks climbed Tuesday as the price of oil made its biggest jump in seven months and energy companies rose with it. Technology stocks like Microsoft and Google's parent Alphabet traded higher and bond yields slipped, a break with the pattern since last week's election.

Oil rose almost 6 percent as investors once again grew hopeful that the OPEC cartel will agree to cut fuel production in a few weeks. Companies like utilities and telecom service providers climbed as bond yields fell slightly after a week of large gains. Airlines rose after Warren Buffett made a surprise investment in three carriers.

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US retail sales jump 0.8 pct. in sign of consumer health

WASHINGTON (AP) " American consumers ramped up their spending last month in a sign of robust health heading into the crucial holiday shopping season.

Retail sales rose 0.8 percent in October, after an upwardly-revised 1 percent gain in September, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The two-month increase was the largest since the spring of 2014.

The numbers suggest that the economy may grow more quickly in the final three months of the year than many economists had expected. Retail sales are closely watched as a sign of consumer health. Consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of the economy.

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AAA predicting biggest Thanksgiving travel rush in 9 years

DALLAS (AP) " The slowly improving economy could boost travel over the Thanksgiving holiday to levels not seen in nine years.

AAA forecasts that 48.7 million Americans will travel, the busiest Thanksgiving period on U.S. roads and skies since 2007, the year before the global financial crisis plunged the U.S. economy into a deep recession.

The auto club AAA said Tuesday that it expects 1 million more Americans to venture at least 50 miles from home, a 1.9 percent increase over last year.

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Mazda recalls nearly 70K cars; fuel leaks may cause fire

DETROIT (AP) " Mazda is recalling almost 70,000 RX-8 sports cars in the U.S. to fix possible fuel leaks that can cause fires. The recall covers RX-8s from the 2004 through 2008 model years.

Mazda says the cars have fuel pump sealing rings that can crack when exposed to engine or exhaust heat. That can allow gasoline to escape, increasing the risk of a fire. Company documents filed with the government did not mention any fires or injuries.

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Boeing to cut some jobs, move others, in efficiency effort

ST. LOUIS (AP) " Boeing Co. plans to move about 2,500 positions to other sites, cut 500 jobs, and close two facilities by the end of 2020 as part of an effort to operate its Defense, Space & Security business more efficiently, the company said Tuesday.

The company said it also will align Boeing Defence Australia, Boeing Defense Saudi Arabia, and Boeing Defence United Kingdom into a new global operations group.

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Home Depot raises outlook as Americans spend on homes

ATLANTA (AP) " Home Depot, benefiting from falling unemployment, still-low mortgage rates and rising home prices, raised its outlook for the year on Tuesday as sales surged in the third quarter and customers spent more with each visit.

The home improvement retailer extended its streak of strong earnings while some other retailers have struggled. But Home Depot and its rival Lowe's have stood out, thanks in part to low mortgage rates that have led to a warming housing market and an increase in refinancing.

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Cholesterol drug shows promise to help reverse heart disease

NEW ORLEANS (AP) " For the first time, a new drug given along with a cholesterol-lowering statin medicine has proved able to shrink plaque that is clogging arteries, potentially giving a way to undo some of the damage of heart disease.

The difference was very small but doctors hope it will grow with longer treatment, and any reversal or stabilization of disease would be a win for patients and a long-sought goal.

The drug, Amgen Inc.'s Repatha, also drove LDL, or bad cholesterol, down to levels rarely if ever seen in people before. Heart patients are told to aim for below 70, but some study participants got as low as 15.

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Google plans to expand London HQ, creating up to 3,000 jobs

LONDON (AP) " Google says it plans to expand its base in Britain, creating up to 3,000 jobs " good news for the government as the prospect of leaving the European Union breeds economic uncertainty.

The tech firm currently has about 4,000 staff in Britain.

Chief executive Sundar Pichai says Google will build a 650,000 sq. foot (60,000 sq. meter) complex alongside its new facility in the King's Cross area of London.

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Tinder update allows gender options beyond 'man,' 'woman'

LOS ANGELES (AP) " Tinder has started giving users the option to select a gender other than man or woman.

The online dating app has announced that its latest update allows users to type a word that describes their gender identity. The company said in a blog post Tuesday that users also can choose to be shown in searches that best reflect that identity.

Tinder says it didn't have "the right tools to serve our diverse community in the past, but that changes today." It says people who believe they were wrongfully removed over their gender selection are invited back to the platform.

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The Dow Jones industrial average gained 54.37 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,923.06. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 16.19 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,180.39. The Nasdaq composite jumped 57.22 points, or 1.1 percent, to 5,275.62.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained $2.49, or 5.7 percent, to $45.81 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose $2.52, or 5.7 percent, to $46.95 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 6 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $1.34 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 6 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $1.44 a gallon. Natural gas lost 4 cents to $2.71 per 1,000 cubic feet.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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