Business HighlightsJanuary 9, 2017 10:16pm

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Second VW employee arrested over emissions scheme

DETROIT (AP) — The Volkswagen executive who once was in charge of complying with U.S. emissions regulations was arrested and accused of deceiving federal regulators about the use of special software that cheated on emissions tests.

Oliver Schmidt, who was general manager of the engineering and environmental office for VW of America, was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and wire fraud.

Schmidt, a resident of Germany, is the second VW employee to be arrested as part of an ongoing federal investigation into the VW emissions scandal.

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US stocks close mostly lower as oil prices slide

A slide in oil and natural gas companies led U.S. stock indexes mostly lower Monday, even as the Nasdaq composite index eked out another record high.

Energy sector stocks declined the most, weighed down by lower prices for crude oil and other energy futures. Utilities and phone company stocks also fell sharply. But gains among health care and technology stocks helped lift the Nasdaq, extending a winning streak into its fifth day.

Absent major new economic data, investors mostly focused on company earnings and several corporate deals.

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Credit card spending jumped in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers increased their borrowing in November at the fastest pace in three months.

Total borrowing in November climbed $24.5 billion, compared to a smaller $16.2 billion in October, the Federal Reserve reported Monday. The increase pushed total debt to a fresh record of $3.75 trillion.

The acceleration reflected a big jump in the category that covers credit card debt, which rose $11 billion, compared to a much smaller $2.4 billion increase in October. It was the largest monthly advance since March and was a good sign at the start of the holiday shopping season.

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Parents, save up: Cost of raising a child is more than $233K

WASHINGTON (AP) — Expecting a baby? Congratulations! Better put plenty of money in your savings account.

The Department of Agriculture says the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610, or as much as almost $14,000 annually. That's the average for a middle-income couple with two children. It's a bit more expensive in urban parts of the country, and less so in rural areas.

The estimate released Monday is based on 2015 numbers, so a baby born this year is likely to cost even more. It's a 3 percent increase from the prior year, a hike higher than inflation.

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McDonald's sells China business in deal worth up to $2.1B

HONG KONG (AP) — Fast-food giant McDonald's is selling a controlling stake in its China business to a group of investors led by state-owned Chinese conglomerate Citic in a deal worth up to $2.1 billion, the companies said Monday.

The transaction is part of a global business overhaul being carried out by the American company to keep up with changing tastes that have resulted in declining sales.

Under the terms of the deal, Citic Ltd. and its investment management unit Citic Capital will acquire 52 percent of the business while another partner, Washington-based private equity firm The Carlyle Group, will own 28 percent. McDonald's will retain a 20 percent stake.

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Takeda Pharmaceutical to buy Ariad in $4.7 billion cash deal

Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical has agreed to buy U.S. cancer drug developer Ariad Pharmaceuticals in a $4.7 billion deal.

Takeda will pay $24 in cash for each Ariad share, a premium of nearly 75 percent to the stock's $13.74 closing price Friday. Ariad said Monday the deal still needs regulatory approval.

The companies expect to close the deal by the end of February.

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UnitedHealth buying Surgical Care for $2.3 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — UnitedHealth Group is buying surgical center operator Surgical Care Affiliates for about $2.3 billion in a cash-and-stock deal that will add to its outpatient holdings.

The nation's largest health insurer will add Surgical Care to its Optum health services unit, which has 20,000 affiliated physicians and hundreds of facilities. Surgical Care operates 205 surgical facilities and partners with about 3,000 physicians.

The acquisition will be funded with between 51 percent and 80 percent of UnitedHealth stock. The remainder will be in cash.

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Mars buying pet health care company VCA in $7.7B deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Mars is buying the pet health care company VCA in a deal valued at around $7.7 billion.

Mars will pay $93 for each share of VCA Inc. That's a 31 percent premium to the Los Angeles company's Friday closing price of $70.77.

The companies said Monday that the deal also includes $1.4 billion in debt.

VCA has nearly 800 animal hospitals and 60 diagnostic laboratories in the U.S. and Canada. Mars Inc. is the food and drinks company that owns the Wrigley brand and it also has a pet care division.

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Twitter boots ex-pharma exec Martin Shkreli for harassment

NEW YORK (AP) — Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli has been suspended from Twitter for harassing a journalist.

Lauren Duca is a freelance reporter for Teen Vogue who wrote a piece critical of President-elect Donald Trump. After she defended the story in a testy interview with Fox News, Shkreli invited Duca to accompany him to Trump's inauguration. Duca posted Shkreli's offer on Twitter and said "I would rather eat my own organs." Shkreli later changed his Twitter profile picture to a digitally edited image in which he appeared to be embracing Duca on a couch.

Twitter says its rules "prohibit targeted harassment, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies."

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Chevy Bolt gets top car award; Pacifica top utility vehicle

DETROIT (AP) — The Chevy Bolt has been named top car in North America, an important milestone for a car General Motors hopes will finally get Americans hooked on electric vehicles.

The Honda Ridgeline grabbed the honor for top truck. Utility vehicles were honored separately for the first time, with the Pacifica minivan from Fiat Chrysler snagging that award.

The honors were announced Monday morning at Detroit's Cobo Center as the North American International Auto Show's press preview days kicked into high gear.

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The Dow Jones industrial average fell 76.42 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,887.38. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 8.08 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,268.90. The Nasdaq rose 10.76 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,531.82.

U.S. benchmark crude oil fell $2.03, or 3.8 percent, to close at $51.96 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price oil sold internationally, slid $2.16, or 3.8 percent, to close at $54.94 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline lost 6 cents to $1.57 a gallon and heating oil fell 7 cents to $1.64 a gallon. Natural gas futures shed 18 cents, or 5.5 percent, to $3.10 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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