• iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday as oil prices fell.The Dow jumped 297.84 (+1.55 percent) to finish at 19,549.62.The Nasdaq gained 60.76 (+1.14 percent) to close at 5,393.76, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,241.35, up 29.12 (+1.32 percent) from its open.Crude oil lost almost 2 percent with prices hitting under $51 a barrel.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  President-elect Donald Trump triggered another media firestorm after he tweeted on Tuesday that "costs are out of control" on Boeing's Air Force One project and calling for the contract with the Seattle-based company to be canceled."We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money," Trump told reporters later that day at Trump Tower in New York City.According to Trump, the cost of a new Air Force One plane is $4 billion. But how true is that exactly?A History of Boeing's Air Force OneFranklin D. Roosevelt was the first American president to fly aboard a Boeing Air Force One aircraft, and the tradition has continued for more than 70 years.While technically any plane carrying the American president is referred to as "Air Force One," multiple presidents have traveled for the last 50-plus years on aircraft that are specifically designed to transport them across the country and around the world.These designs include the ability to refuel in midair, on-board electronics that "are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse ... and advanced secure communications equipment [which] allow the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States," according to the White House.Any current Air Force One is also required to have four engines, which allows for the extra weight of the Boeing 747's sensor equipment, power units and self-defense, among other requirements necessary to carry the commander-in-chief through the skies.The Current Fleet of Air Force OneTwo aircraft currently operate as the official Air Force One jets -- both are Boeing 747-200B series and were delivered under President George H. W. Bush in 1990. By the time the current fleet retires in 2024 (the date the new fleet is expected to enter service), the aircraft will be more than 30 years old.And while that doesn't sound like much, one Air Force official with knowledge of the matter told ABC News that keeping an aircraft beyond its 30-year cycle can mean that some of the technology aboard becomes dated and increasingly hard to maintain, and that any delay in replacing the current aircraft could lead to significant problems.The New ContractIn January 2015, the Air Force chose the Boeing 747-800 series as the next aircraft to fly the president. Then, in May of this year, the Air Force issued a "Request for Proposals," the first step toward an eventual contract. That proposal was for two planes, but could ultimately increase to three planes during negotiations. Once Boeing responds to this proposal, the full contract will be ratified and design work will begin.According to Boeing, the new 747-8 series will be more fuel efficient and able to carry more weight -- 157,000 more pounds, to be exact -- than its 200B series counterpart. It would also fly farther and faster than any other Air Force One jet, with the ability to travel 1,000 more nautical miles and at a top speed of Mach 0.855, making it the fastest presidential jet ever.Breaking Down the CostThe U.S. government has currently spent $170 million on the project, according to Boeing, despite the $4 billion that has been reported by the Trump team. The Air Force said it has awarded three contracts to Boeing this year totaling $170 million to help bring down design costs for the future program.In February, the Air Force projected a five-year estimated total cost of the Air Force One program of $2.778 billion, according to budget documents released at the time. While this is only for the cost of research, testing and development of the future Air Force One fleet, additional costs would likely be incurred for the actual purchase of the aircraft.However, the Air Force confirmed to ABC News it intends to pay for the new aircraft out of the research money.The five-year breakdown for the program includes:$351.2 million in Fiscal Year 2017 $625.6 million in Fiscal Year 2018 $741 million in Fiscal Year 2019 $573.7 million in Fisca
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  • KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Some business and legal experts have voiced skepticism about the motivations behind Tuesday's announcement that Japanese telecom and Internet company SoftBank will invest billions of dollars in the U.S."We are going to invest $50 billion in the U.S. and commit to make, to create 50,000 new jobs," SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said alongside President-elect Donald Trump Tuesday, adding that he plans to do this by investing in new startup companies in the United States.“I said I would like to celebrate his presidential job and commit because he will do a lot of deregulation,” said Son, who added that he had initiated the meeting with Trump. “I said, ‘This is great, United States, U.S. will become great again.’”John Hasnas, a professor of business ethics and law at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business, said: “On the surface, a foreign business person saying that ‘I’m going to invest in the U.S. because an administration’s policies will favor my company’ is unobjectionable -- it’s just a P.R. matter.” “The reason why it could be an issue is that if it looks like he’s doing this to get a favorable ruling from the DOJ [Department of Justice] on mergers, then it looks like it’s a potential bribe, or conflict of interest," Hasnas added.Details of the investment plan and whether the funding pledge was new were not immediately clear. SoftBank and the Trump transition team would not offer specifics on the plan or how the meeting between Son and Trump came about.In October, SoftBank announced it was forming a $100 billion investment fund to invest in the global tech sector. It would draw funding from a series of global partners, including Saudi Arabia’s government-owned investment fund.SoftBank pledged to invest at least $25 billion over five years while the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would potentially invest up to $45 billion in the fund over a five-year period, according to a release announcing the creation of the fund.In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, Son said the $50 billion investment he pledged with Trump would come from the already established global investment fund. A spokesman for SoftBank would not confirm that the money would be drawn from that fund.SoftBank is a majority stakeholder in Sprint. In 2014, Sprint reportedly abandoned its efforts to acquire competitor T-Mobile after federal regulators expressed concerns about a potential merger.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) — President Elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development — retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — will now oversee one of the largest federally-subsidized affordable housing projects in the country — and it is part owned by his new boss.The development is called Starrett City — a massive low-income mini-city in Brooklyn that has generated millions in rental income for Trump, who inherited an ownership stake in the project from his father Fred Trump.With 46 buildings and more than 5,000 apartments, Starrett City is the beneficiary of substantial federal aid through rental support programs overseen by HUD. And it will soon be one more item on the list of financial entanglements that Trump will bring with him to the White House in January.“This appears to be yet another clear conflict of interest that President-Elect Trump will have on the first day he walks into the Oval Office unless he takes action now to avert it,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat who heads the House committee charged with investigating government operations, told ABC News. “Mr. Trump and his business partners could reap huge financial windfalls based on the actions of the individual that he chooses to lead HUD or the proposals he makes to Congress.”Speaking broadly about Trump’s many potential business conflicts, the congressman said, “I see all of this as a major, major problem.”“The question is financial benefit. And so, that's what we're looking at. All you have to do is follow the money. And if you follow the money, it leads right back to Donald Trump's pockets.”Cummings has already raised question about Trump’s deal with another federal agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees the multi-year lease between the federal government and the Post Office Pavilion that houses the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. Decisions about that lease will be made by the person Trump appoints to oversee the GSA.Trump is expected to address his plans to disentangle himself from his business holdings next week, when he says he will announce details of his plan to step away from his massive global business. He told The New York Times “in theory I could run my business perfectly, and then run the country perfectly. And there’s never been a case like this where somebody’s had, like, if you look at other people of wealth, they didn’t have this kind of asset and this kind of wealth, frankly. It’s just a different thing.”But, Trump said that while “in theory I don’t have to do anything” he “would like to do something. I would like to try and formalize something, because I don’t care about my business.”To date, much of the attention about Trump’s business dealings have focused on his extensive foreign holdings — and whether foreign governments will seek to curry favor with the new American president by channeling money or easing regulations on his overseas projects. But he also has wide-ranging interests inside the U.S. And Trump’s appointees could face decisions that would benefit — or harm — their boss.“With his children in charge, he still benefits,” Cummings said. “He may not benefit this moment, but he will benefit.”Trump’s financial disclosure report values his 4 percent share of the Starrett City development at between $5 million and $25 million, and Trump reported that it generated between $1 million and $5 million in income for him last year.Of the 5,881 units in the Starrett City, HUD officials told ABC News that those living in 3,569 receive support from a HUD assistance program. The development also operates under a federal “Use Restriction” which requires it remain affordable, and prevents it from being converted into the kind of upscale res
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks closed mostly higher Tuesday despite a retreat in oil prices.The Dow gained 35.54 (+0.18 percent) to finish at 19,251.78.The Nasdaq jumped 24.11 (+0.45 percent) to close at 5,333.00, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,212.23, up 7.52 (+0.34 percent) from its open.Crude oil lost 2 percent with prices hitting under $51 a barrel.
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  • PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- IKEA announced a new parental leave policy for its employees on Tuesday, giving its 13,000 workers in the U.S. up to four months of paid parental leave. The new policy covers all employees -- both salaried and hourly workers, mothers and fathers, and adoptive and foster parents."At IKEA, we believe time with family and friends is so important for a healthy work-life balance and a happy and productive workforce," IKEA US President Lars Petersson said in a statement. "This benefit, which applies to all parents, will give our co-workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families when welcoming a child." "Our co-workers are our most important resource, which is why we continue to invest in helping them reach their dream," Petersson added.The policy goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017 and is based on a sliding scale depending on how long employees have been with the company. Those who have worked for the Swedish retailer for more than a year "can take up to three months of paid leave to be with their family, receiving 100% of their base wage for the first six weeks of parental leave and 50% for an additional six weeks," IKEA explains."Co-workers with three or more years’ tenure can take up to four months of paid leave, receiving 100% of their base wage for the first eight weeks and 50% for an additional eight weeks," the company adds.
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