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Stocks edge lower…Home sales slump…More votes on Brexit

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are edging lower in early trading on Wall Street as the market settles down after three days of gains. Communications stocks are leading the decliners. Facebook fell 2.6 percent amid reports of a criminal investigation into its data-sharing practices. Banks and technology stocks are higher, with JPMorgan Chase and Apple among those rising.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new homes slumped 6.9 percent in January, amid a partial government shutdown and a battered stock market. The Commerce Department says new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 607,000 in January, down from 652,000 in December. The median sales price of a new home in January fell 3.8 percent to $317,200.

LONDON (AP) — Acknowledging that the Brexit process is stuck, the British government says it will give lawmakers a series of votes on what to do next if Parliament does not approve an EU divorce deal by next week. Prime Minister Theresa May has struck a deal with the EU on withdrawal terms, but Parliament has twice rejected it — and Britain is due to leave the EU in 15 days, on March 29. Lawmakers are due to vote later today on whether to seek to delay the country’s exit.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) is suggesting he will protect President Donald Trump’s privacy if he receives a request from House Democrats for Trump’s tax returns. At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing today, Mnuchin was asked whether he would meet a request for Trump’s tax returns. Mnuchin said, “We will examine the request and we will follow the law,” adding, “we will protect the president as we would any taxpayer” regarding their right to privacy.

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — UPS workers at a distribution hub in Ohio are suing the company over what they say has been a series of racist acts and discriminatory hiring decisions. The 19 employees near Toledo say white employees in 2016 put up a noose and Confederate flags, directed racist language at black workers and displayed a stuffed monkey wearing a UPS uniform. UPS says it responded quickly and fired two employees. It also says the company has taken steps that include additional training and monitoring.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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