Update on the latest in business:
Asian stocks advance after Wall Street rebounds
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks advanced Friday after Wall Street rebounded from a two-day losing streak and Japanese inflation edged higher.
On Wall Street yesterday, gains in industrial companies and other sectors outweighed losses in banks and health care stocks. Energy companies rose after crude oil prices recovered from an early slide. Bond yields declined from four-year highs amid fears of higher inflation and interest rates. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.1 percent to 2,703.96. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.7 percent to 24,962.48. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent to 7,210.09.
Prosecutors announced the founder of one of China’s biggest insurers, who had discussed possibly investing in a Manhattan skyscraper owned by the family of U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has been charged with financial offenses and regulators have taken control of his company.
Japanese inflation edged up but stayed well below the central bank’s target.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil slipped to remain below $63 per barrel.
The dollar gained against the yen and the euro.
NRA CREDIT CARDS
First National Bank to halt production of NRA credit card
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The nation’s largest privately-owned bank says it will stop producing credit cards for the National Rifle Association in response to customer feedback.
The Nebraska-based First National Bank of Omaha announced on Twitter Thursday that it will not renew its contract to issue the group’s NRA Visa Card.
The announcement came after the progressive news website ThinkProgress listed the bank as a company that supports the NRA. ThinkProgress noted that First National Bank offered two NRA cards with a $40 bonus and touted it as “enough to reimburse your one-year NRA membership!”
The NRA has faced intense criticism following the school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead.
First National Bank has offices in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas. A bank spokesman declined to comment.
South Korea to fight WTO ruling on Fukushima seafood ban
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says it will appeal the World Trade Organization’s decision against Seoul’s import bans on Japanese fishery products imposed in the wake of Fukushima nuclear meltdowns.
South Korea’s government said Friday that the appeal is aimed at protecting public health and safety. It said it will maintain its existing import bans and regulations on Japanese seafood.
The WTO accepted Japan’s complaint saying that South Korea’s trade move was inconsistent with the trade body’s rules, discriminatory and served as a trade barrier.
In 2013, South Korea banned import of all fishery products from eight Japanese provinces near Fukushima after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011. It also required radioactive certificates on food products from Japan. Japan filed a complaint against the move in 2015.
Hearing set on if US will seize assets of ‘Pharma Bro’
NEW YORK (AP) — “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli is due back in court Friday for a hearing about whether he should forfeit millions of dollars in assets including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album as part of his conviction in a securities fraud scheme.
Prosecutors are expected to argue in federal court in Brooklyn that Shkreli is on the hook for more than $7 million. Along with the Wu-Tang Clan “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” album that Shkreli has boasted he bought for $2 million, prosecutors have said he should give up $5 million in cash in a brokerage account, his interest in a pharmaceutical company and other valuables including a Picasso painting.
The defense has said the brash former pharmaceutical CEO owes nothing because in the end, his investors did not lose the money.
Shkreli, 34, is perhaps best known for boosting the price of a life-saving drug and for trolling his critics on social media where he became known as “Pharma Bro.” A jury convicted him in August of cheating investors in two failed hedge funds.
Shkreli was out on bail during his trial but was jailed afterward when a judge decided he had made veiled online threats against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
His sentencing is scheduled for March 9.
Judge lets ads run in ride-hailing vehicles in New York City
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has given the green light to a Minnesota company that wants to put advertising in ride-hailing vehicles in New York City.
Judge Ronnie Abrams ruled Thursday in the First Amendment case brought by a company that was blocked from putting ads in vehicles affiliated with companies such as Uber and Lyft.
Vugo Inc. sued New York City after the Taxi and Limousine Commission prohibited the ads in vehicles that were not medallion taxis or street hail liveries. The company places digital content, including advertising, in ride-hailing vehicles across the country.
A spokesman for the city’s law office says the city is reviewing the decision.
The judge says the city was unable to justify its regulations.
Airbnb unveils new category of rentals rated by inspectors
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Airbnb is dispatching inspectors to rate some of the properties listed on its home-rental service in an effort to reassure travelers they’re booking nice places to stay.
The Plus program, unveiled Thursday, is aimed at winning over travelers who aren’t sure they can trust the computer-driven system that Airbnb uses to assess the quality of rentals. Airbnb believes travelers will be willing to pay more for inspector-certified properties, allowing homeowners and apartment dwellers to recoup a $149 fee to participate in Plus.
The program will initially cover only about 2,000 properties in 13 cities — a small fraction of the roughly 4.5 million properties listed on Airbnb in 81,000 cities worldwide. By the end of the year, Airbnb foresees verifying the quality of 75,000 homes in 50 cities.
China regulator to assume management of Waldorf owner Anbang
BEIJING (AP) — China’s insurance regulator is to take over management of insurer Anbang, owner of New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria hotel.
The move follows the indictment of the company’s chairman on charges of economic crimes.
The China Insurance Regulatory Commission said it would take over operations for one year starting from Friday.
It said Wu Xiaohui’s case and related alleged violations of laws and regulations raised questions about the company’s solvency, creating the need for protective
Wu Xiaohui turned over his management duties to other Anbang executives in June following a report he was detained by regulators amid accusations of possible financial misconduct.
Wu founded Anbang in 2004 and built it into one of China’s biggest insurers, raising questions about how it funded purchases.
Glitches or not, Nissan starts testing semi-autonomous rides
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Starting next month, Nissan Motor Co. will be testing on regular roads what it calls “a robo-vehicle mobility service.”
The service is Called Easy Ride. It uses a cell-phone app to book semi-autonomous driven rides.
Nissan demonstrated the service on Friday. It was developed in a partnership with Japanese mobile game provider DeNA Co., which has been working on driverless bus and delivery services.
But Easy Ride won’t necessarily be easy if poor internet connections prevent it from working.
The Japanese automaker hopes to roll it out as a commercial service in the early 2020s. Details, including pricing, are undecided.
For now, Easy Ride will be limited to a 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile) course that starts from Nissan headquarters and winds through a shopping mall area in this port city.
UPS adding to electric truck fleet
DETROIT (AP) — UPS says it will soon start using electric delivery trucks that cost the same as conventional diesel- or gas-fueled ones.
The company has been developing the trucks with Ohio-based truck maker Workhorse Group Inc. for four years. Electric trucks are usually more expensive because of battery costs.
UPS says it will deploy 50 of the trucks by the end of this year in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Dallas. It expects that fleet to grow next year.
The trucks have a range of 100 miles between charges.
UPS wants 25 percent of its global fleet to be alternative fuel vehicles by 2020. It’s already using 300 electric trucks in Europe and the U.S.
It added three Daimler eCanter electric trucks to its fleet last fall and recently ordered 125 electric semi-trucks from Tesla Inc.