Business Highlights

___CEOs of big banks face off with House DemocratsNEW YORK (AP) — The heads of seven of the largest banks in the U.S. fielded sometimes contentious questions from a House committee Wednesday, some dealing with current risks to the financial systems and other focused on more politically-charged topics. The appearance by the chief executives of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs and five other banks represented the largest gathering of leaders of the banking industry before Congress since the financial crisis.___US budget deficit running 15% higher than a year agoWASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government reported a $146.9 billion deficit in March, causing annual debt to rise 15% for the first half of the budget year compared to the same period in 2018. The Treasury Department says in its monthly report that the fiscal year deficit has so far totalled $691 billion, up from nearly $600 billion in 2018. The Treasury Department expects that the deficit will exceed $1 trillion when the fiscal year ends in September.___Most Fed officials see rates staying on hold for all of 2019WASHINGTON (AP) — A majority of Federal Reserve officials last month believed that economic conditions would likely warrant keeping the Fed’s benchmark policy unchanged for the rest of this year. Several officials said their view could shift in either direction based on incoming data, according to minutes of the meeting.___Delta profit surges and releases strong outlookDALLAS (AP) — A new credit card deal and rising corporate travel boosted profits for Delta Air Lines in the first quarter, a trend it predicts will continue this spring. The company posted a $730 million profit, a 31% increase over the same period last year. The strong demand for corporate travel offset choppy demand from vacation travellers. Earnings adjusted for one-time items were 96 cents per share, 6 cents better than Wall Street expected, and Delta gave an upbeat forecast for the second quarter.___Facebook cracks down on groups spreading harmful informationMENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook says it is rolling out a wide range of updates aimed at combatting the spread of false and harmful information on the social media site. The updates will limit the visibility of links found to be significantly more prominent on Facebook than across the web as a whole. The company is also expanding its fact-checking program with outside expert sources, including The Associated Press, to vet videos and other material posted on Facebook.___Boeing shareholder alleges investors were misled on Max jetNEW YORK (AP) — A Boeing shareholder is suing the company for allegedly hiding problems with its 737 Max jet to push its shares higher. Shareholder Richard Seeks argues that Boeing should have told investors about safety problems with its bestselling plane after a fatal crash in October. Instead, it pushed the stock up to artificial highs by speaking optimistically about future sales before a second fatal crash in March sent shares tumbling, he says. The federal suit seeks class action status.___May asks EU for Brexit delay, but Macron says no guaranteeBRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders are deciding whether to save Britain from a precipitous and potentially calamitous Brexit, or to give the foot-dragging departing nation a shove over the edge. Prime Minister Theresa May has pleaded with the 27 other EU leaders at an emergency summit to delay Britain’s exit, due on Friday, until June 30 while the U.K. sorts out the mess that Brexit has become.___Amazon’s growing ties to oil industry irks some employeesNEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is getting cozy with the oil and gas companies and some employees aren’t happy about it. The online shopping giant, which already works with BP and Shell, has been trying to woo more oil and gas companies to use its cloud technology and artificial intelligence to help them find drillable oil faster, angering workers who have been pushing Amazon to do more to combat climate change.___Yahoo to pay $117.5M in latest settlement of massive breachSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nearly 200 million people who had sensitive information snatched from their Yahoo accounts will receive two years of free credit-monitoring services and other potential restitution in a legal settlement valued at $117.5 million. The deal revises an earlier agreement was supposed to be worth $50 million. The reworked settlement is part of the fallout from digital burglaries that stole personal information from about 3 billion Yahoo accounts in 2013 and 2014.___Tech companies lead US stocks broadly higherNEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed higher on Wall Street Wednesday as solid gains by technology companies helped the market recoup some of its losses from a day earlier. Small-company stocks also stood out, beating the rest of the market. Banks, retailers and homebuilders also notched gains. Utilities were the biggest laggard. The rally was a reversal for the market following a slide on Tuesday that ended an eight-day winning streak as investors turned their attention to the next wave of corporate earnings.___The S&P 500 index rose 10.01 points, or 0.3%, to 2,888.21. The 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 6.58 points, or less than 0.1%, to 26,157.16. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, added 54.97 points, or 0.7%, to 7,964.24. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 21.87 points, or 1.4%, to 1,581.55.The Associated Press

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