Business Highlights

___Lyft’s shares soar as investors bet on ride-hailing futureLyft’s shares soared as the company went public Friday, giving investors their first chance to bet on the future of the ride-hailing industry. The stock opened at $87.24, up 21 per cent from its offering price of $72. Lyft won the race with its much larger rival Uber to go public and raised its target price over the course of the last week as investors clamoured to get in on the action despite its history of losses.___Kudlow calls for one-half point rate cut by FedWASHINGTON (AP) — A top Trump administration official is calling on the Federal Reserve to cut its key interest rate by a half-percentage point. Larry Kudlow, head of the president’s National Economic Council, says in an interview with CNBC that the Fed should do more to help the economy by cutting rates. Kudlow says his comment reflects the president’s view but denies that the administration is trying to pressure the Fed.___UK faces new Brexit crisis after lawmakers reject May’s dealLONDON (AP) — U.K. lawmakers have rejected the government’s divorce deal with the European Union for a third time, leaving the date and terms of the U.K.’s departure from the bloc uncertain. The House of Commons voted 344-to-286 against the withdrawal agreement struck between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU. It follows defeats by even wider margins in January and March, and leaves the government’s blueprint for exiting the bloc in tatters.___Ban on plastic bags comes close to reality in a 3rd stateALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and fellow Democrats who control the Legislature are poised to have their state join California and Hawaii in banning plastic grocery bags. The statewide ban would be part of the state budget that’s due by Monday. The ban wouldn’t take effect until next March. The plan also calls for allowing local governments the option to impose a 5-cent fee on paper bags.___Hawaii eyes flavoured e-cigarette ban to curb teen vapingHONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii policymakers distressed by surging rates of teenage vaping are considering banning electronic cigarette flavours they believe are alluring to children, like mango and cotton candy. A bill before the Hawaii Legislature also would prohibit flavoured cigarettes like cloves, but would exempt menthol cigarettes and vaping liquids. It would be the first statewide ban on flavoured tobacco products. Critics say such a ban would hurt adults who vape to quit smoking traditional cigarettes.___Hyundai finds new engine problem, prompting another recallDETROIT (AP) — Hyundai has found a new problem that can cause its car engines to fail or catch fire, issuing yet another recall to fix problems that have affected more than 6 million vehicles during the past 3 1/2 years. The Korean automaker, under pressure from safety regulators, is recalling about 20,000 Veloster cars in the U.S. and Canada because fuel can prematurely ignite in the cylinders around the pistons.___S&P 500 posts biggest quarterly gain in a decade; Lyft soarsStocks finished broadly higher on Friday as Wall Street closed out the first quarter with the market’s biggest gain in nearly a decade. The benchmark S&P 500 index is now up 13.1 per cent this year, a drastic turnaround for stocks after a jarring sell-off at the end of 2018. The end of the market’s blockbuster quarter shared the spotlight with Lyft’s trading debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The ride-hailing company’s shares finished at $78.29, or 8.7 per cent above its offering price of $72.___Huawei defends security record as annual sales top $100BSHENZHEN, China (AP) — Huawei says its sales topped $100 billion last year despite U.S. pressure on allies to shun the Chinese tech giant as a security threat. The company’s deputy chairman said Friday that Huawei prioritizes cybersecurity and privacy protection. His comments followed a stinging British government report that accused Huawei of failing to repair dangerous flaws in its telecom technology.___Trump’s Fed pick worries economists, rallies conservativesWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s latest pick to help lead the Federal Reserve has received a rocky reception from top economists. They’re raising several red flags about whether Stephen Moore is qualified to be a governor for the world’s most influential central bank. Moore is a former Trump campaign adviser who helped design the 2017 tax cuts and co-authored “Trumponomics.” But economists say he poses the risk of injecting politics into an institution that strives to remain free of political influence.___UK court rejects bail for diamond tycoon sought in IndiaLONDON (AP) — A court in London has rejected bail for diamond tycoon Nirav Modi, whose jewels once adorned stars from Bollywood to Hollywood. Judge Emma Arbuthnot has decided Modi was a flight risk. He is fighting extradition on allegations he was involved in a $1.8 billion bank fraud.___The S&P 500 index gained 18.96 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 2,834.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.22 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 25,928.68. The Nasdaq composite added 60.16 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 7,729.32. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 4.63 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,539.74.The Associated Press

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