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Update on the latest in business:

December 3, 2018


Shares advance in Asia following Xi-Trump tariffs truce

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were broadly higher on Monday after the U.S. and China reached a 90-day truce in a trade dispute that has dampened global growth and rattled investors worldwide.

The meeting between Trump and Xi was the highlight of the summit of the major industrial nations this weekend. The leaders called a cease-fire in their trade dispute, to last for at least 90 days to allow time to smooth out disagreements over Chinese technology policies that the U.S. and other trading partners consider predatory.

U.S. indexes rose Friday on hopes that President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would make progress on resolving a bruising tariffs dispute at their working dinner on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The S&P 500 index added 0.8 percent to 2,706.17. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.8 percent higher at 25,538.46 and the Nasdaq composite also rose 0.8 percent to 7,330.54. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 0.5 percent to 1,533.27.

Oil futures rebounded ahead of a Dec. 6 gathering of OPEC members and other major producers in Vienna. They are expected to discuss 2019 output levels in the face of falling prices. Saudi Arabia has said it wishes to cut output, but it’s unclear how large the cut will be. Benchmark U.S. crude rose nearly $3 to climb above $53.50 per barrel.

The dollar rose against the yean and weakened against the euro.


Business economists: Solid growth ahead but risks from trade

WASHINGTON (AP) — A group of business economists foresee U.S. economic growth remaining solid next year, with unemployment falling further and only a slight chance of a recession. But they express concern about potential risks, notably from trade conflicts.

In its latest forecast being released Monday, the National Association for Business Economics predicts that the economy will grow 2.7% next year, only slightly below the 2.9% that they expect for all of 2018 as measured by the gross domestic product.

The 2.9% predicted growth for this year would be up significantly from meager gains of 1.6% in 2016 and 2.2% in 2017. But it would still fall shy of the pace that President Donald Trump has pledged to achieve with his program of tax cuts and deregulation.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed to double the lackluster 2% average annual growth that has prevailed since the Great Recession ended. The current expansion, in its 10th year, is the second-longest on record but is also the weakest in the post-World War II period. If the expansion continues through mid-June, it will become the longest on record in the United States, surpassing the one that ended in 2001.

The NABE forecasting panel of 53 economists foresees only a small risk that the expansion will end next year, putting the risk of a recession in the second half of 2019 at 20%. The economists see the risk reaching 30% in the second half of 2020, a presidential election year, and 50% in 2021 and later.


Qatar’s energy minister says country is pulling out of OPEC

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The tiny, energy-rich Gulf Arab nation of Qatar says it will withdraw from OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in January.

Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada made the surprise announcement during a news conference in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Monday.

Qatar is the world’s biggest exporter of liquid natural gas.

Qatar, a country of 2.6 million people where citizens make up over 10 percent of the population, discovered the offshore North Field in 1971, the same year it became independent.

It took years for engineers to discover the field’s vast reserves, which shot Qatar to No. 3 in world rankings, behind Russia and Iran, with which it shares the North Field.


Trump and Xi agreement buys time in trade war

WASHINGTON (AP) — The dinner-table diplomacy that Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping of China conducted over the weekend produced something as vague as it was valuable: an agreement to keep talking.

Forged over grilled sirloin at the Group of 20 summit Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the ceasefire Trump and Xi agreed to Saturday night illustrated that the leaders of the world’s two largest economies can at least find some common ground, however tentative and ill-defined it might be. The truce pulled the United States and China back from an escalating trade war that was threatening world economic growth and had set global investors on edge.

What Trump and Xi achieved was the gift of additional time — 90 days, at least — to try to resolve the thorny and complicated issues that divide them. Most important among them, and perhaps the most intractable, is the U.S. argument that Beijing has deployed predatory tactics in a headlong drive to overtake America’s global supremacy in high technology.

Yet reaching a permanent peace will hardly be easy. The Trump administration asserts, and many experts agree, that China systematically steals trade secrets and forces the U.S. and other foreign countries to hand over sensitive technology as the price of admission to the vast Chinese market.

Washington also regards Beijing’s ambitious long-term development plan, “Made in China 2025,” as a scheme to dominate such fields as robotics and electric vehicles by unfairly subsidizing Chinese companies and discriminating against foreign competitors.


US-China trade truce to boost markets; wild swings not over

WASHINGTON (AP) — Experts say the truce in the trade dispute between the U.S. and China should boost financial markets, at least likely through year’s end.

But the stock market’s wild gyrations of recent months likely will persist as the two countries strain to reach a permanent accord.

The U.S. was set to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods Jan. 1. President Donald Trump agreed Saturday in a meeting with Chinese Leader Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit to hold off for 90 days while the two sides try to settle their differences.

That looming deadline, as well as Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion of goods from China, possibly including iPhones and laptops, had contributed to sharp declines in stocks since early October.


Business and economic reports scheduled for today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Institute for Supply Management releases its November manufacturing index today.

Also, the Commerce Department releases its report on construction spending for October.


Tourism slumps in Mexico border city since caravan arrives

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tour operators and medical and dental offices in the Mexican border city of Tijuana are reporting a slowdown in business since a caravan of Central American migrants arrived.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Sunday that tourists and visitors have been cancelling planned trips to the Mexican state of Baja California since the border crossing shut down briefly a week ago after some migrants tried to rush across.

Tourism-friendly business owners say visitors fear getting trapped in Mexico should the crossing close again.

Antonio Gamboa, who owns a well-known food truck park, says business has slumped 30 percent.

Mexican authorities began moving Central American migrants out of an overcrowded shelter near the U.S. border on Friday and taking them to a former concert venue further from the crossing.


Reports: Nexstar snags $4.1B deal to buy Tribune Media

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Media outlets are reporting that Nexstar Media Group, whose stations reach nearly 39 percent of all U.S. television households, has reached an agreement to buy Tribune Media for around $4.1 billion.

The deal would make Texas-based Nexstar the biggest operator of local TV stations in the U.S. The agreement was reported Sunday by Reuters and Bloomberg citing unnamed people familiar with the deal. They said the deal could be announced Monday.

Tribune’s deal to sell itself to Sinclair Broadcast Group for $3.9 billion collapsed about three months ago. Sinclair is currently the largest local TV operator.

Chicago-based Tribune Media owns or operates 42 local TV stations reaching about 50 million households and national entertainment network WGN. It also has a stake in the TV Food Network.


Alberta government imposes oil production cuts for province

TORONTO (AP) — Alberta’s premier is imposing industrywide oil production cuts in the Canadian province.

Premier Rachel Notley announced Sunday that output will be lowered 325,000 barrels a day in January to address a storage glut that she blames on a lack of pipelines. The government says the reduction will be evaluated monthly.

Alberta produces 3.7 million barrels a day, but that is 190,000 barrels more than can be shipped. About 35 million barrels is sitting in storage, and the oversupply results in the province’s crude selling for around $10 a barrel, a fraction of what other world producers get.

Notley says Canada’s economy is losing $80 million Canadian (US$60 million) a day.

Canada has the world’s third-largest oil reserves and is the top source of foreign oil for the U.S.


World Bank ups climate funding to $200 billion

KATOWICE, Poland (AP) — The World Bank Group says it is doubling funding for poor countries preparing for climate change to $200 billion over five years.

The Washington-based organization said Monday that about half would come from the World Bank itself, while the rest would be sourced from other institutions within the group and private capital.

The bank said some $50 billion will be earmarked for climate adaptation, a recognition that some adverse effects of global warming can’t be avoided anymore but require a change in practice.

This includes building homes that can withstand more extreme weather and finding new sources of freshwater as rising seas contaminate existing supplies.

The announcement comes as leaders are meeting in Poland for U.N. talks on tackling global warming.


Argentina and China sign deals strengthening ties after G-20

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — China and Argentina have signed new trade deals reinforcing their economic and political ties.

Presidents Mauricio Macri of Argentina and Xi Jinping of China announced the more than 30 agriculture and investment deals Sunday.

China is among Argentina’s top export markets, especially for agricultural commodities that are the engine of its economy.

Macri said that China’s development benefits Argentina and the world.

The visit comes after U.S. officials said they had reached a 90-day truce in the trade dispute with China that has rattled financial markets and imperiled global economic growth.

That announcement followed a Saturday dinner meeting between Xi and President Donald Trump following the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Xi will go on to visit Panama, which has been negotiating a free-trade deal with China.


UK’s Labour will try to topple May if Brexit deal rejected

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s opposition Labour Party is ramping up the pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May, saying it will call a no-confidence vote in the Conservative leader if Parliament rejects her Brexit deal on Dec. 11.

May is battling to persuade skeptical British lawmakers to back the deal agreed between her government and the European Union last month. Rejecting it would leave the U.K. facing a messy, economically damaging “no-deal” Brexit on March 29.

Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said Sunday it’s “inevitable” that Labour will bring a no-confidence motion in the government if Parliament rejects the Brexit agreement. The left-of-center party says it will vote against the deal.

If May’s Conservative government lost a no-confidence vote it would have two weeks to overturn the result. If that failed, Britain would hold a new national election.


Where are the drones? Amazon’s customers are still waiting

UNDATED (AP) — Jeff Bezos boldly predicted five years ago that drones would be carrying Amazon packages to people’s doorsteps by now.

Amazon customers are still waiting. And it’s unclear when, if ever, this particular order by the company’s founder and CEO will arrive.

Bezos made billions of dollars by transforming the retail sector. But overcoming the regulatory hurdles and safety issues posed by drones appears to be a challenge even for the world’s wealthiest man. The result is a blown deadline on his claim to CBS’ “60 Minutes” in December 2013 that drones would be making deliveries within five years.


‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ repeats as No. 1 at box office

NEW YORK (AP) — Thanksgiving leftovers have led the box office, with Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” grossing $25.8 million to repeat as the No. 1 film in U.S. and Canadian theaters.

The “Wreck-It Ralph” sequel dropped steeply after nearly setting a Thanksgiving record last weekend. But with only one new film in wide release, nothing came close to “Ralph Breaks the Internet” in the typically quiet post-Thanksgiving weekend.

Still going strong in its fourth week of release, Universal’s “The Grinch” came in second with $17.7 million in ticket sales. “The Grinch” edged in front of last week’s No. 2 film, the “Rocky” sequel “Creed II.” MGM’s boxing drama took in $16.8 million, bringing its cumulative total to $81.2 million.

The Sony horror film “The Possession of Hannah Grace” opened modestly with $6.5 million.

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