Business Highlights


Dow Jones industrials climb above 25,000 for the first time

NEW YORK — The Dow Jones industrial average burst through the 25,000-point mark Thursday, just five weeks after its first close above 24,000. The Dow broke through five 1,000-point barriers in 2017, on its way to a 25 percent gain for the year, as an eight-year rally since the Great Recession continued to confound skeptics.


Wall Street's love of tax cuts drives Dow to 25,000 mark

WASHINGTON — Wall Street sure loves the tax bill, even if polls show most Americans don't. The Dow Jones industrial average surged past 25,000 Thursday, a strong signal of investor enthusiasm for President Donald Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut. It's easy to see why investors like the tax overhaul: Businesses will benefit from a steep cut in the corporate tax rate. Wall Street analysts estimate the tax package should boost earnings for companies in the S&P 500 index by roughly 8 percent this year.


AP Explains: Who's affected by computer chip security flaw

Technology companies are scrambling to fix serious security flaws affecting computer processors built by Intel and other chipmakers and found in many of the world's personal computers and smartphones. Either of the two hardware bugs discovered can be exploited to allow the memory content of a computer to be leaked. Such a leak could potentially expose stored passwords and other sensitive data, including personal photos, emails and instant messages.


Trump moves to vastly expand offshore drilling off US coasts

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a plan that would open up federal waters off California for the first time in more than three decades. The new five-year drilling plan also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Georgia to Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades. Environmentalists say it would harm the oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.


In new rule, Trump tries to deliver a health care promise

WASHINGTON — Striving to fulfill a campaign promise, the Trump administration is moving to facilitate the sale of health insurance across state lines. The insurance costs less but may not cover as much. The proposal from the Labor Department provides options for the self-employed and small businesses, but its success depends on buy-in from insurers, state regulators, and consumers. Some groups already have concerns because it doesn't have to match all the benefit requirements of the Affordable Care Act.


Macy's, Penney see holiday sales growth

NEW YORK — Macy's and J.C. Penney are reporting holiday sales growth, offering encouraging signs for other retailers. Low unemployment, a strong stock market and other factors set the stage for a good holiday season. The National Retail Federation believes retail sales could exceed its forecast for growth of 3.6 percent to 4 percent and mark the best performance since 2014. Much of that may go to online sellers, though.


Hyundai, VW, ink deals with all-star autonomous vehicle firm

DETROIT — Hyundai and Volkswagen each say they're partnering with a U.S. autonomous vehicle tech firm led by former executives from Google, Tesla and Uber. The companies on Thursday announced partnerships with Aurora Innovation, started last year by ex-Google autonomous car chief Chris Urmson and others.


Fox executives: scripted series will survive Disney deal

PASADENA, Calif. — Fox executives say the Fox broadcasting network, home to "The Simpsons" and "The Orville," will continue to air scripted entertainment after the Fox TV studio's sale to Disney. The announced sale that will separate the Fox network and 20th Century Fox studio won't turn the network into a platform solely for sports and other live programming, Fox Television Group chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman told TV critics Thursday.


A fantastic year for fund investors: Everyone's a winner

NEW YORK — Nearly every fund made money over the course of 2017, which turned out to be one of the most enjoyable years ever for investors as improvements in corporate profits and economies around the world lifted markets. Even some of the biggest laggards of recent years shared in the gains, including funds that focus on Latin American stocks, commodities and other niches.


Southwest agrees to pay $15 million over collusion claims

DALLAS — Southwest will pay $15 million to settle lawsuits accusing airlines of colluding to push up prices. American, United and Delta haven't settled. The lawsuits followed news that federal officials were investigating whether airlines improperly worked together to hold down the supply of seats.


The Dow Jones industrial average, which tracks 30 big U.S. companies, rose 152.45 points, or 0.6 percent, to 25,075.13. The Standard & Poor's 500, a much broader index that professional investors prefer to use as their benchmark for large U.S. stocks, rose 10.93 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,723.99. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology and biotech companies, added 12.38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,077.91.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 38 cents to $62.01 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 23 cents to $68.07 a barrel in London.

In other commodities trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.81 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $2.08 a gallon. Natural gas plunged 13 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $2.88 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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