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Update on the latest in business:

October 3, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian markets slip on energy gains, Japan data

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower today on rising oil prices and lackluster Japanese data.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.2 percent after closing at a two-week low on Tuesday. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent. Stocks fell in Taiwan and Indonesia but rose in Singapore. Markets in South Korea and the Chinese mainland were closed for a national holiday.

Yesterday on Wall Street, U.S. stocks ended mostly lower as small companies fell again, even as gains by a handful of big companies pushed Dow to an all-time high. Retailers, airlines and automakers fell, dragging broad market indexes lower. Amazon dragged other retailers lower after saying it would raise its minimum wage for all U.S. workers to $15 an hour, putting pressure on other companies to follow suit.

The Dow rose 122 points or 0.5 percent, to 26,773, driven by gains in Boeing, 3M and Caterpillar. The S&P slipped 1 point to 2,923. The Nasdaq fell 37 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,999.

AMAZON-WAGES-RIPPLE EFFECTS

Ripple effect? Amazon’s $15 wage may help lift pay elsewhere

WASHINGTON (AP) — After years of sluggish pay gains, the economy may be starting to work for America’s low-wage workers.

Amazon’s announcement Tuesday that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour will intensify pressure on other companies to lift their pay levels as well. Among the most likely to do so: Amazon’s rival retailers and warehouse operators, many of which are facing the prospect of staff shortages as they ramp up for the holiday shopping season.

Economists note that low-wage workers typically receive higher pay from an expanding economy only after higher-income people have benefited. Now, with the unemployment rate near a 50-year low and the number of job openings exceeding the number of unemployed, more lower-income Americans are finally receiving meaningful raises.

Amazon’s announcement will likely embolden labor activists and unions that have been pressing large fast-food and retail chains to raise pay, provide more reliable work schedules, and allow for union representation. Amazon says it will also lobby for an increase of the $7.25 federal minimum wage.

TRUMP INHERITANCE TAXES

NY Times: Trump got $413M from his dad, much from tax dodges

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Times has reported that President Donald Trump received the equivalence of at least $413 million from his father over the decades, much of that through dubious tax dodges, including outright fraud.

The 15,000-word Times report contradicts Trump’s portrayal of himself as a self-made billionaire who started with just a $1 million loan from his father. The Times says Trump and his father, Fred, avoided gift and inheritance taxes by setting up a sham corporation and undervaluing assets to tax authorities. The Times says its report is based on more than 100,000 pages of financial documents, including confidential tax returns from the father and his companies.

The White House dismissed the report as a “misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times

FACEBOOK-HUMAN TRAFFICKING-LAWSUIT

Lawsuit accuses Facebook of enabling human traffickers

HOUSTON (AP) — A human trafficking survivor from Texas has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, alleging the social media giant provides traffickers an unrestricted way to “stalk, exploit, recruit, groom ... and extort children into the sex trade.”

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Houston against Facebook, the shuttered classifieds site Backpage.com and the owners of two Houston hotels.

The suit seeks at least $1 million in damages on behalf of a woman identified as “Jane Doe,” who was 15 years old when she was sexually assaulted in 2012 after being allegedly targeted and recruited by a sex trafficker on Facebook.

Facebook did not immediately return an email seeking comment Tuesday.

Legal and trafficking experts say it may be difficult for the lawsuit to show that Facebook knowingly facilitated human trafficking.

FDA-ANTIBIOTIC APPROVAL

US regulators OK updated version of decades-old antibiotic

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — U.S. regulators on Tuesday approved a modernized version of a decades-old antibiotic used to treat a number of infections.

Paratek Pharmaceuticals’ Nuzyra was designed to overcome the problem of resistance to tetracycline, an antibiotic widely used until recent years. The company said the Food and Drug Administration approved Nuzyra for treating bacterial pneumonia and severe skin infections. Paratek plans to launch the antibiotic early next year, initially for use in hospitals. It hasn’t disclosed the price.

About 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year and 23,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

AUTO SALES

US auto sales fell by 4 percent in the third quarter

UNDATED (AP) — Vehicle sales are slowing down despite a run on big SUVs.

Major automakers said Tuesday that their U.S. sales fell 7 percent in September and 4 percent for the June-through-September quarter, compared with the same periods last year.

Weaker numbers for September and the third quarter wiped out a 1.8 percent gain during the first half of the year, and left auto sales on pace with 2017. Some analysts had cautioned that the first-half gains were driven by incentives and low-margin sales to fleet buyers like rental car companies.

Industry officials blamed the recent weakness partly on hurricanes — in both 2017 and 2018.

FAST FOOD-US ADULTS

Study: 1 in 3 US adults eat fast food each day

NEW YORK (AP) — A government study has found that 1 in 3 U.S. adults eat fast food on any given day. That’s about 85 million people.

It’s the first federal study to look at how often adults eat fast food. An earlier study found a similar proportion of children and adolescents ate it on any given day.

The numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are based on a survey of about 10,000 adults over four years.

The study did not find a difference between men and women. But higher-income families ate fast food more often than lower-income families, and blacks ate it more than other racial or ethnic groups.

Health officials say too much high-calorie fast food can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems.

TECENT MUSIC IPO

China’s music streaming leader Tencent to go public in US

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The owner of China’s largest music streaming services is looking to strike it rich in the U.S. stock market.

Tencent Music Entertainment plans to sell its stock in the U.S. as part of an initial public offering. The IPO documents filed Tuesday propose raising $1 billion, but that preliminary figure often ends up being substantially higher.

Investor demand is likely to be high, given the rising popularity of music streaming and Tencent’s success so far.

Tencent says its services have more than 800 million users, including 23.3 million subscribers who pay to listen to its music library.

It’s also profitable, having earned $199 million on revenue of $1.66 billion last year.

Tencent’s major shareholders include the leading music streaming service Spotify, which went public earlier this year.

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