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Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 17, 2014 at 5:09 pm •  Published: December 17, 2014
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Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose 0.1 percent in November. For the past 12 months, overall inflation has risen 1.3 percent while core inflation has increased 1.7 percent.

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14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

BOSTON (AP) — Mold and bacteria were in the air and on workers' gloved fingertips. Pharmacists used expired ingredients, didn't properly sterilize them and failed to test drugs for purity before sending them to hospitals and pain clinics. Employees falsified logs to make it look as if the so-called clean rooms had been disinfected.

Federal prosecutors leveled those allegations in bringing charges Wednesday against 14 former owners or employees of a Massachusetts pharmacy in connection with a nationwide meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz called it the biggest criminal case ever brought in the U.S. over contaminated medicine.

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Study: Wealth gap largest on record

NEW YORK (AP) — There's even more proof that the rich are getting richer while everyone else gets poorer.

In a new report, Pew Research Center said Wednesday that the gap between the nation's wealthiest households and middle- and low-income earners is the widest it has been since the government began collecting data 30 years ago.

Pew, which analyzed Federal Reserve data, said the median wealth of upper-income families was $639,400 in 2013. Middle-income households were worth $96,500, while low-income families were worth $9,300. Pew calculated wealth by adding a family's assets, including homes, cars and businesses, and subtracted it from debts.

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McDonald's in Japan limits orders of fries

TOKYO (AP) — Only small fries with that? McDonald's in Japan is limiting the serving size of fries as stocks run short due to labor disruptions on the U.S. West Coast.

McDonald's began rationing its fries Wednesday morning. It said prolonged labor negotiations with port workers on the West Coast have made it difficult to meet demand despite an emergency airlift of 1,000 tons of processed spuds and an extra shipment from the U.S. East Coast by sea.

Japanese consume more than 300,000 tons of french fries a year, mostly at fast-food restaurants, and largely sourced from imports of frozen, processed potatoes from America, according to U.S. figures.

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By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 288 points, or 1.7 percent, to close at 17,356.87. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 40.15 points, or 2 percent, to 2,012.89. The Nasdaq composite climbed 96.48 points, or 2.1 percent, to 4,644.31.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 54 cents to close at $56.47 a barrel. Brent crude for February delivery, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $1.17 to close at $61.18 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 2.5 cents to close at $1.566 a gallon. Heating oil rose 4.9 cents to close at $2.009 a gallon. Natural gas rose 8.3 cents to close at $3.702 per 1,000 cubic feet.