Update on the latest in business:


Facebook and other tech stocks plunge as US indexes skid

NEW YORK (AP) — A sharp loss for Facebook is dragging technology companies lower today as U.S. stock indexes skid.

The social media company is facing new criticism related to privacy issues following reports a data mining firm working for the Trump campaign improperly obtained and then kept data on tens of millions of users. The stock is on pace for its biggest loss since 2012.

At 1:04 p.m. Eastern Time, the Dow was down 390 points, to 24,556.

The S&P 500 index sank 46 points to 2,706.

And the Nasdaq composite gave up 173 points, go 7,308.


Envoys hail Brexit progress but no Irish border breakthrough

BRUSSELS (AP) — Negotiators from the European Union and Britain are hailing major progress in the Brexit talks, but concede there has been no breakthrough on keeping open the Irish border.

Britain is due to leave the European Union at the end of March 2019, but Brexit talks must be concluded by this fall to leave national parliaments in the bloc time to ratify any deal.

The border between EU member state Ireland and Britain’s territory Northern Ireland issue is central to an agreement but negotiators are struggling to find a way to keep people, goods and services flowing while respecting EU controls.


Facebook shares sink more than 6 percent on privacy issues

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook shares fell more than 6 percent in morning trading as the social media company faced criticism following reports that a data mining company working for the Trump campaign improperly obtained and kept data on tens of millions of users during the 2016 election.

A former employee of Cambridge Analytica said today on NBC’s “Today” that the group identified voters who might be swayed and “injected content” that may or may not be true. Facebook said Friday that it had suspended Cambridge while it investigates.

Facebook shares sank $12.03 in morning trading, putting the stock on pace for its biggest one-day fall since August 2012 and dragging down the rest of the technology sector. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, lost almost 3 percent and Microsoft fell almost 2 percent.


Claire’s, the ear-piercing mall chain, files for bankruptcy

NEW YORK (AP) — Claire’s, the mall chain that has pierced the ears of millions of teens, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company says its stores will remain open as it restructures its debt.

It’s just the latest retailer to seek bankruptcy protection, close stores or go out of business entirely. Toys R Us announced last week that it would close or sell all its stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year.

Claire’s says it is “confident” it will emerge from bankruptcy protection in September, having reduced its debt by nearly $2 billion. It said it can compete with the shift to online shopping, arguing that its “iconic ear piercing services are unmatched and cannot be replicated online.”

Claire’s, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, said it has pierced more than 100 million ears since it was founded 40 years ago.


NYC launches investigation into Kushner Cos.

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City official is launching an investigation into falsified documents filed by the Kushner Cos. with the city, saying that they should have been discovered earlier because the documents were hidden in plain sight.

Councilman Ritchie Torres says that the Department of Buildings should have spotted the falsified numbers because paperwork at the city taxation agency contradicted those them. The Associated Press reported Sunday that a tenant rights watchdog group found that the Kushner Cos. had filed more than 80 documents stating that it had no rent-regulated units in its buildings. It had hundreds.

The falsified documents allowed the Kushner Cos. to escape extra scrutiny during construction projects that the watchdog group said led to harassment of rent regulated tenants.


President of billionaire’s firm resigns amid sexism lawsuit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The president of billionaire Steven Cohen’s investment firm in Connecticut has resigned, shortly after the firm was sued over alleged hostile, sexist and discriminatory conduct by male executives.

A spokeswoman for Stamford-based Point72 Asset Management says Douglas Haynes resigned Friday and the lawsuit is without merit. Cohen will serve as chief executive and president until Haynes’ successor is hired.

Haynes did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.

Cohen was banned for two years from managing other people’s money as part of a settlement with federal authorities over insider trading allegations at his former firm, SAC Capital Advisors. Cohen wasn’t criminally charged. The two-year period ended in January.

Cohen, Haynes and Point72 were sued last month by a female executive.


California pension fund faces pressure to divest from guns

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California State Treasurer John Chiang is calling on the nation’s largest public pension fund to stop investing in companies that sell assault-style weapons and devices that allow guns to fire more rapidly.

Chiang is speaking today at a board meeting of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System alongside family members of victims of the 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people.

The wife of a high school teacher who died in Parkland, Florida, sent a letter supporting Chiang’s effort. Chiang, a Democrat, is running for governor.

CalPERS has a combined roughly $850 in million holdings in five companies that sell such guns or devices: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, Kroger, Big 5 Sporting Goods and Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings. The fund’s total value is $354 billion.


EU trade chief demands exemption from US steel tariffs

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s top trade official says the 28-nation bloc should be excluded from President Donald Trump’s new steel and aluminum tariffs, which enter force this week.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says “the EU should be excluded as a whole” and that she would convey this message to U.S. representatives in talks in Washington on Tuesday.

Malmstrom says the EU is willing to address the problem of steel overproduction, which she says is the real cause of pain for the U.S. and European industries.

Trump is imposing tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, but is temporarily exempting Canada and Mexico.

The EU has drawn up a list of “rebalancing” duties to slap on U.S. products if it is not exempted.


Volkswagen to build new SUV at Chattanooga plant

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Volkswagen plans to build a new five-passenger SUV in Chattanooga.

According to a person briefed on details, the company will invest $340 million to bring the vehicle to market. The person revealed this information on condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting an official announcement Monday in Chattanooga, where Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America Inc. are expected to attend.

The German carmaker describes the vehicle as a variant of the seven-passenger Atlas, designed and engineered for the American market. The Chattanooga plant also manufactures the Passat and the Atlas.


Not handy? Walmart offers TV installers, furniture builders

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart doesn’t just want to sell TVs and furniture — it wants to send a professional home to set them up, too.

The world’s largest retailer says it’s expanding a deal with on-demand online services platform Handy.com, allowing shoppers to hire helpers at 2,000 of its stores nationwide to mount a TV on their wall or assemble a bookcase.

Other retailers have offered similar services as they seek to make shopping more convenient to get customers to buy more and cut down on returns. Wayfair, the online furniture seller, also offers Handy’s services. Amazon.com has its own on-demand services offering. And furniture seller Ikea bought Taskrabbit last year and is rolling out the service to its stores.

Walmart, which first tested Handy in 25 stores in Atlanta, said shoppers can hire a Handy professional when then check out at a store or on its website. Mounting a TV starts at $79, while putting together furniture starts at $69, Handy said.

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