Update on the latest in business:
Stocks edge higher on hopes of US-China trade resolution
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are higher on Wall Street this afternoon with traders holding out hope for progress in U.S.-China trade frictions.
Over the weekend, President Trump tweeted he had a “long and very good call” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, adding: “Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute. Big progress being made.” Meanwhile, the official Xinhua News Agency cited a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that “China stands ready to work with the United States to move forward the China-U.S. ties which are underpinned by coordination, cooperation and stability.”
Health care companies, retailers and technology stocks are driving the gains as the market overcomes a midmorning wobble. Even so, the benchmark S&P 500 index was on track to end a volatile year with its worst showing in a decade.
House Democrats unveil plan to open government
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats are unveiling legislation to reopen the government without money for President Donald Trump’s border wall.
The House is preparing to vote on the package Thursday when the new Congress convenes. This is according to an aide who was not authorized to discuss the plan publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
It will include one bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Feb. 8, with $1.3 billion for border security.
The package will also include six other bipartisan bills to fund the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Housing and Urban Development and others closed by the partial shutdown. Some have already passed the Senate. Those bills will provide money through the remainder of the fiscal year, to Sept. 30.
The partial government shutdown is in its second week over Trump’s demand for $5 billion for the wall.
Trump tells Democrats ‘come back from vacation’
In new year message, Corbyn slams May on Brexit
LONDON (AP) — The leader of Britain’s main opposition party has used his new year message to condemn Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said today that May has made a “mess” out of Brexit and put Britain into an unneeded crisis.
He said May has let down voters across the country, disappointing both those who wanted to leave the EU and those who had favored remaining in the bloc in the 2016 referendum.
Corbyn says Labour is ready to offer a “radical alternative” to the present government.
May intends to have Parliament vote on her plan in mid-January.
Brexit, tariffs, populism could buffet Europe in 2019
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — 2019 is set to be a year of major change for Europe, with big decisions that will affect the continent’s economy.
Britain is due to leave the European Union but there is no clarity on how that will happen, or how painful it will be economically. The EU has long seen deepening ties among countries as the best way to create prosperity, but a rise in populist and nationalist politics is likely to further test that commitment. And threats loom from outside, including possible U.S. tariffs on cars.
The economy is already slipping. Growth in the 19 EU countries that use the euro enjoyed slipped from a decade-high of 2.4 percent in 2017 to an estimated 2.1 percent this year. It is expected to ease further to 1.9 percent next year, according to the EU’s executive Commission.
Here’s a look at the major events and challenges that will shape the coming year in the European Union.
In France, protests planned amid New Year’s Eve celebrations
PARIS (AP) — Paris is preparing to hold its annual New Year’s Eve celebrations on the Champs-Elysees under heavy security as some yellow vest protesters are planning to march on the famed avenue.
Anti-government protesters angry over taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s pro-business policies have issued calls on social media for a “festive event” in Paris and other French cities.
Hundreds of thousands of Parisians and tourists traditionally gather on the Champs-Elysees to celebrate New Year’s Eve and watch the light show at the Arc de Triomphe monument.
Paris police has set up a security perimeter in the area, with bag searches, a ban on alcohol and traffic restrictions.
France has deployed more than 147,000 security forces nationwide.
Previous New Year’s Eves in France have seen burned cars and other disorder.
MICHAEL KORS-CAPRI-NAME CHANGE
Michael Kors, now Capri Holdings, completes Versace deal
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Kors is changing its name to Capri, now that it has added two high-end brands to its stable.
Michael Kors has announced that it acquired the Italian fashion house Versace for more than $2 billion (1.83 billion euros) in September, less than two years after acquiring Jimmy Choo, the shoemaker that rocketed to fame on the high heels of “Sex and the City.”
Michael Kors Holdings, like its counterparts in France, has charged aggressively into the upper echelons of luxury fashion hoping to pump up sales. Kering snapped up Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Pomelato and LVMH bought Bulgari and Loro Piana.
Capri Holdings Ltd. is projecting $8 billion in annual sales, with most of that coming from Michael Kors. Starting Wednesday, its New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol will be CPRI.
Gianni Versace founded Versace in 1978. The family-run business was thrown into chaos with Versace’s murder 21 years ago. His sister, Donatella Versace, will continue with the company, holding the position of creative director.
NYC pharmacies can’t sell cigarettes starting Jan. 1
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City pharmacies won’t be allowed to sell cigarettes or other tobacco products starting Tuesday.
The Wall Street Journal reports the ban also includes businesses that contain pharmacies, such as supermarkets and big-box stores.
The city’s health department says the change will affect about 500 pharmacies currently selling tobacco products.
The new rules follow a ban on electronic cigarette sales at pharmacies that took effect in late August.
The owner of the St. George Pharmacy on Staten Island says cigarette sales had drawn customers who ended up making other purchases. Al Gentile says the government shouldn’t ban certain stores from selling tobacco products that can be purchased elsewhere.
But a deputy health commissioner, Sonia Angell, says it’s important for pharmacies to promote health.