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Update on the latest in business:

November 28, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks mixed after wobbly trading on Wall Street

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed today after a wobbly day of trading on Wall Street and uncertainty ahead of the G-20 meeting of world leaders later in the week.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished 1.0 percent higher today, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed, inching down less than 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi recovered, up 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite gained 1.1 percent. Southeast Asian benchmarks were lower, with shares down in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index rose 8.72 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,682.17. The index jumped 1.6 percent Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 108.49 points, or 0.4 percent, to 24,748.73 on Tuesday. And the Nasdaq composite inched up 0.85 points to 7,082.80 after surging 2.1 percent a day earlier.

HOLIDAY SALES-NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION

Retail group says holiday season off to a strong start

NEW YORK (AP) — The largest U.S. retail trade group says the holiday shopping season has gotten off to a “very strong” start.

The National Retail Federation says consumer spending has been strong, fueled by a better economy and stores’ investments in online services.

The trade group’s assessment comes even after a survey of more than 3,000 shoppers Thanksgiving and Friday forecast that fewer people would turn out for the five-day weekend that ended Monday compared to a year ago. It attributed the drop to stores spreading out their deals beyond the Black Friday weekend.

The group now says it expects sales for November and December will be at the high end of its earlier forecast of a 4.3 to 4.8 percent rise. That would be below last year’s 5.3 percent increase.

TRUMP-FEDERAL RESEVE

Trump calls Federal Reserve ‘much bigger problem than China’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he thinks the Federal Reserve’s policies are a greater threat to U.S. economic growth than a burgeoning trade war with China.

Trump told The Washington Post on Tuesday: “I think the Fed is a much bigger problem than China.”

Trump adds that he is “not even a little bit happy” with Fed Chairman Jay Powell, whom he selected last year.

The Fed has raised interest rates steadily under Powell’s leadership as the central bank has tried to balance promoting maximum employment with controlling inflation. Those decisions have drawn rebukes from Trump, who wants the Fed to focus on economic growth.

GENERAL MOTORS-TRUMP

White House expresses ‘disappointment,’ ‘anger’ at GM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is expressing “great disappointment” in General Motors after the automobile giant announced it would be cutting thousands of jobs.

National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said Tuesday the White House’s reaction was “a tremendous amount of disappointment maybe even spilling over into anger.”

Kudlow met with GM CEO Mary Barra on Monday after the company announced it would shut down five plants and slash 14,000 jobs in North America. Kudlow says it felt as though GM “kind of turned” its back on President Donald Trump by closing the plants in the Midwest.

Kudlow says he didn’t see a recession in the offing and didn’t rule out that the White House may take action against GM.

General Motors Co. says it’s abandoning many of its car models and restructurings to focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles.

DIGITAL ADVERTISING-FRAUD

US charges 8 in online advertising fraud scheme

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says it has charged eight people in connection with the takedown of two international cybercriminal rings that cost advertisers tens of millions of dollars.

In an indictment unsealed Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court, prosecutors say the perpetrators programmed computers they controlled to load advertisements on fake webpages in order to fraudulently obtain digital advertising revenue.

Prosecutors say the ads were never actually viewed by human internet users.

Most of the defendants are in Eastern Europe. Three were arrested overseas and are awaiting extradition. The others remain at large. Charges include wire fraud, computer intrusions, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

Prosecutors say Google and Microsoft helped the U.S. and other international law enforcement agencies unravel the digital schemes.

INDONESIA-LION AIR CRASH

Pilots struggled to control plane that crashed in Indonesia

UNDATED (AP) — Lion Air pilots struggled to maintain control of a Boeing jet as its automatic safety system repeatedly pushed the plane’s nose down, according to a draft of a preliminary report by Indonesian authorities investigating last month’s deadly crash.

The investigators are focusing on whether faulty information from sensors led the plane’s system to force the nose down. The new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people on board.

The New York Times reported that information from the Lion Air jet’s flight data recorder was included in a briefing for the Indonesian Parliament and reported by Indonesian media. The report is expected to be issued on Wednesday.

The MAX aircraft, the latest version of Boeing’s popular 737 jetliner, includes an automated system that pushes the nose down if a sensor detects that the nose is pointed so high that the plane could go into an aerodynamic stall.

MLB-MGM

MGM Resorts is MLB’s official gaming partner after NBA, NHL

NEW YORK (AP) — MGM Resorts has made its third deal in four months with a major U.S. sports league, becoming Major League Baseball’s official gaming partner in the U.S. and Japan.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that MGM will become an MLB-authorized gaming operator and will promote itself with teams and on the MLB Network, MLB.com and the MLB At Bat app.

MGM in August became the exclusive official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA, and the first official sports betting partner of the NHL last month.

NEW ZEALAND-HUAWEI BAN

New Zealand halts Huawei from 5G upgrade over security fears

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s international spy agency has halted mobile company Spark from using Huawei (wah-way) equipment in its planned 5G upgrade, saying it posed a “significant network security risk.”

The action follows a ban in Australia, where the Chinese telecommunications giant was blocked in August from rolling out Australia’s 5G network due to security concerns.

In New Zealand, Huawei has previously helped build mobile networks. In March, Spark and Huawei showcased a 5G test site across the street from the Parliament, in a publicity move that was attended by then Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran.

The latest development could have diplomatic and economic implications for New Zealand, which relies on China as its largest trading partner but which is also part of the “Five Eyes” security alliance that includes the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia.

New Zealand was the first developed nation to sign a free-trade deal with China in 2008, and China buys billions of dollars of New Zealand’s dairy exports each year, which are often used in making infant formula.

STREET SELLERS

Pushcart vendors — in LA for decades — might become legal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — They seem to be everywhere on the streets of Los Angeles — pushcarts and tables filled with everything from hot dogs and tamales to toys and tools.

Such sales are illegal, although the law is rarely enforced.

Now, after a decade of debate and compromise, the Los Angeles City Council will consider an ordinance today that would grant permits to sidewalk vendors.

If the measure is enacted, it would put the city on the same legal footing as New York and Chicago on the issue.

An estimated 50,000 vendors peddle their wares along Los Angeles sidewalks and in parks and other public places. Many are immigrants who have pushed for years for the change.

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