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Update on the latest in business:

July 9, 2018


Asian shares rise despite escalating US-China trade row

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher today after a weekend of relative quiet over the escalating trade standoff between the U.S. and China. Investors appear optimistic about the outlook for the global economy despite punitive tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing on each other’s exports.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished 1.2 percent higher today, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.7 percent, while the Shanghai Composite index jumped 2.1 percent. Shares were higher in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

Friday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index rose 0.8 percent to finish the week at 2,759.82. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 percent to 24,456.48. And the Nasdaq composite added 1.3 percent to 7,688.39. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 0.9 percent to 1,694.05.


Business and economic reports scheduled for early this week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for May today.

On Tuesday, the Labor Department releases its job openings and labor turnover survey for May.


Trump’s economic gamble: Solid job gains vs. risky trade war

WASHINGTON (AP) — From the safety of a resilient U.S. economy, President Donald Trump lit the fuse Friday on a high-risk trade war with China.

History suggests that a cycle of tariffs and retaliations can eventually choke economic growth. But for now, employers, investors and U.S. consumers are weighing the perils of a prolonged rift between the world’s two largest economies against a far more positive backdrop: America’s healthiest job market in years.

Evidently confident despite the risks ahead, U.S. employers have added jobs this year at a robust monthly average of 214,500. Many businesses say they’ve reached the point where they can’t even find enough people to fill jobs. Unemployment is at a low 4 percent.

All that hiring is occurring in an economic expansion that is entering its 10th year.


Trump administration takes another swipe at ‘Obamacare’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health care insurance customers could be in for some sticker shock over next year’s prices now that the Trump administration says it’s freezing payments under an “Obamacare” program that protects insurers with sicker patients from financial losses.

The move is expected to add to premium increases next year. At stake are billions of dollars in payments to insurers with sicker customers.

Officials said Saturday that the administration is acting because of conflicting rulings in lawsuits filed by some smaller insurers who question whether they’re being fairly treated.

The program takes payments from insurers with healthier customers and redistributes the money to companies with sicker enrollees. No taxpayer subsidies are involved.

The idea is to remove the financial incentive for insurers to “cherry-pick” healthier customers. Medicare private insurance plans also use the strategy.


UK media: Most senior Brexit official quits government

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s most senior official in charge of negotiating the country’s exit from the European Union resigned Sunday, accusing Prime Minister Theresa May of undermining Brexit with her plan to keep close trade ties with the bloc.

Brexit Secretary David Davis quit just two days after May announced she had finally united her quarrelsome government behind a plan for a divorce deal with the EU.

In a blow to the beleaguered prime minister, Davis told May in a letter that the government’s proposals for close trade and customs ties “will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.”

Davis’s late-night resignation undermined May’s already fragile government, which has lost several ministers in the past year over sexual misconduct allegations and other scandals. Davis was a strong pro-Brexit voice in a Cabinet divided between supporters of a clean break with the bloc and those who want to keep close ties with Britain’s biggest trading partner.

May’s office said a replacement for Davis would be announced today.


Chinese premier praises EU, says free trade must be upheld

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — The Chinese premier says free trade and international cooperation must be upheld to avoid slowing down the global economy.

Premier Li Keqiang (lee kuh-TYAHNG’) also praised the European Union, calling the 28-member bloc an “indispensable force” and very important for global peace, stability and prosperity.

Li, China’s No. 2 leader behind President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng), spoke Saturday in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, during a meeting with 16 countries from central and eastern Europe, amid escalating trade battles between the United States and China.

The summit is part of China’s “New Silk Road” bid to boost its influence in Europe through investments and closer economic links.

Li said: “Unity between China and Europe and cooperation between us can ensure peace and stability in the whole world.”


Deal for Weinstein Co. covers back pay for De Niro, Streep

NEW YORK (AP) — An agreement reached in the sale of Harvey Weinstein’s movie studio won’t leave Hollywood stars like Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep holding the bag.

Lantern Capital Partners said Friday it’s agreed to make payments to unsecured creditors, such as actors seeking residuals, as part of a $289 million Weinstein Co. acquisition it expects to close Friday.

A judge must approve the deal. A Wednesday hearing is scheduled in Delaware.

De Niro and Bradley Cooper say they’re each owed $940,706 for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Streep says she’s owed $168,611 for “August: Osage County.”

The Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in March amid fallout from sexual assault allegations against Weinstein.

The movie mogul is due in court Monday for arraignment on charges alleging a sex crime against a third woman.


‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ buzzes to $76 million debut

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite its heroes’ diminutive size, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” opened with typical Marvel might at the box office, with an estimated $76 million in ticket sales.

According to studio estimates Sunday, the “Ant-Man” sequel easily surpassed the $57 million debut of the 2015 original in North America. The 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” comes on the heels of two mammoth Marvel successes this year: “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The two films that trailed “Ant-Man” at the weekend box office hit milestones. Disney’s “Incredibles 2″ passed “Finding Dory” to become Pixar’s top-grossing film domestically, not accounting for inflation. It earned $29 million in its fourth weekend.

With $28.6 million in its third weekend, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” crossed $1 billion worldwide.


Chinese tech giant Tencent plans US listing for music arm

BEIJING (AP) — Tencent, China’s most valuable tech company, says it plans to spin off its streaming music service on a U.S. stock exchange.

Tencent Holdings Ltd., in a statement issued through the Hong Kong stock exchange, said share price and other details of the stock offering in Tencent Music have yet to be decided.

Tencent’s other businesses include the popular WeChat social media platform and online games and video. Most of its activity focuses on its faster-growing home market in China but the company is gradually expanding abroad.

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