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Zuckerberg testimony reveals lawmaker confusion on Facebook

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged Wednesday that regulation of social media is "inevitable" and disclosed that his own personal information has been compromised by malicious outsiders. But after two days of congressional testimony, what seemed clear was how little Congress seems to know about Facebook, much less what to do about it.

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Fed in March discussed 'slightly steeper' future rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials at their March meeting, the first under new Chairman Jerome Powell, decided to stick with a gradual approach to rate hikes. But officials also discussed the possibility that the future course of rate hikes might need to accelerate to a "slightly steeper" path.

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Russian ruble roiled by Trump missile threat, US sanctions

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian ruble has recovered ground after being shaken by U.S. sanctions and President Donald Trump's threatened missile strike on Syria. The ruble fell 2 percent against the dollar in morning trading in Moscow and dropped to a new lowest point since 2016 after Trump tweeted that missiles "will be coming." However, the currency bounced back and by evening traded slightly down on the day at 62.8 to the dollar.

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Speaker Ryan will leave behind new tax code, busted budget

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan spent a career talking about reining in government spending but then pushed policies that sent the deficits soaring. The Wisconsin Republican proved adroit in drawing up budget plans that didn't get beyond the hypothetical. Under his leadership, Republicans never tried to implement the deep cuts his budget called for. Instead, the House passed steep tax cuts while increasing spending. He announced Wednesday that he would retire next year.

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US budget deficit rose 18.4 percent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government recorded a budget deficit of $208.7 billion in March. This was an increase of more than $32 billion from a year ago. Higher benefit expenditures as well as President Donald Trump's tax cuts drove the shortfall last month.

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Mulvaney insists consumer watchdog is still doing its job

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mick Mulvaney tried Wednesday to reassure Democrats on a House finance panel that he's committed to punishing unscrupulous financial companies, while agreeing with Republicans that the watchdog agency he runs needs to be reined in and refocused. Mulvaney will appear before a Senate finance panel Thursday where he will face his biggest critic, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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Consumer agency spends $6,000 on frosting windows in new HQ

NEW YORK (AP) — Documents obtained by The Associated Press show the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has spent more than $6,000 frosting the windows of its senior staff in recent months. The spending on window frosting comes only months after the CFPB moved into completely renovated offices, at a cost of more than $240 million.

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US consumer prices rise at faster 2.4 pct. from year earlier

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices rose 2.4 percent in March from a year earlier, the fastest annual pace in 12 months. The Labor Department says that on a monthly basis, the consumer price index declined 0.1 percent in March. The index's yearly gain, however, suggests that inflation pressures may be picking up.

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Insurers look to pass drug price breaks straight to consumer

Some major health insurers plan to take a little sting out of prescription drug prices by giving customers rebates at the pharmacy counter. Aetna and UnitedHealthcare both say they will begin passing rebates they get from drugmakers along to some of their customers starting next year. They could spark a trend: It's an idea championed by President Donald Trump, and it's something other bill payers like major employers might consider.

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Banks and technology stocks fall; oil rises to 3-year high

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes finish mostly lower as banks and technology and health care companies fall, but energy companies rise as oil prices hit a three-year high. That came as investors focused on tensions in the Middle East. Facebook made up more ground as CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress for a second day.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 14.68 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,642.19 after it surged 1.7 percent Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 218.55 points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,189.45. The Nasdaq composite lost 25.27 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,069.03. But the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 3.37 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,546.80, and most of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange finished higher.

U.S. crude climbed 2 percent to $66.82 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 1.4 percent to $72.06 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 1.3 percent to $2.07 a gallon and heating oil added 1.4 percent to $2.09 a gallon. Natural gas edged up 0.7 percent to $2.68 per 1,000 cubic feet.