Asian stocks mixed on fears of more US tariffs on China

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower today after President Donald Trump declared he was considering tariffs on an additional $267 billion in Chinese goods, ratcheting up tensions between the world's two biggest economies. It overshadowed a strong U.S. jobs report that kept the Fed on track to raise interest rates.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 climbed 0.4 percent after the country's gross domestic product surpassed expectations by growing at a 3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter. The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.2 percent. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng index tumbled 1.3 percent. The Shanghai Composite index fell 1.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was less than 0.1 percent lower.

U.S. stock indexes fell on Friday after President Donald Trump said he's ready to impose tariffs on essentially every good that's imported from China. The S&P 500 index fell 0.2 percent to 2,871.68, ending the day with its fourth straight loss. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 0.3 percent to 25,916.54. The Nasdaq composite was 0.3 percent lower at 7,902.54.


Business and economic reports today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve releases July's consumer credit data today.



CBS' Leslie Moonves denies wrongdoing

NEW YORK (AP) — Shortly after resigning as CEO of CBS, Les Moonves again denied sexual misconduct allegations.

Moonves' three-paragraph statement says "untrue allegations from decades ago" are being made against him and are not consistent with who he is.

He also says he is deeply saddened to leave the company but wishes CBS and its employees well.

Moonves says it was a privilege to lead CBS during what he called a renaissance that transformed it into a leading global media company.

A dozen women have come forward with allegations of misconduct that include being forced to perform oral sex and retaliation when advances were turned away.

In a statement, CBS says Moonves will donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace.

CBS adds, "The donation, which will be made immediately, has been deducted from any severance benefits that may be due Moonves."

CBS says the network's chief operating officer, Joseph Ianniello, will take over Moonves' duties as president and CEO until its board of directors can find a permanent replacement. For the time being Moonves' role as chairman will remain vacant.



China's trade surplus with US hits record $31 billion

BEIJING (AP) — China's trade surplus with the United States widened to a record $31 billion in August as exports surged despite American tariff hikes, potentially adding fuel to President Donald Trump's battle with Beijing over industrial policy.

Customs data showed exports to the United States rose 13.4 percent to $44.4 billion, ticking up from July's 13.3 percent growth. Imports of U.S. goods rose 11.1 percent to $13.3 billion, decelerating from the previous month's 11.8 percent.

That could help re-ignite U.S. demands that Beijing narrow its trade gap, which has temporarily been overshadowed by their clash over complaints China steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

The Trump administration may be about to slap tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods.

The administration could decide to begin taxing the imports — equal to nearly 40 percent of all the goods China sold the United States last year — after a public comment period ends Thursday.


Trump: Apple can avoid tariffs by shifting production to US

UNDATED (AP) — President Donald Trump agrees with Apple that potential tariffs on Chinese imports could make its gadgets more expensive, but he says the tech company can fix the problem by moving production to the U.S.

In a tweet Saturday, Trump implored the company to shift production from China: "Start building new plants now. Exciting!"

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs of $50 billion on imports from China and is moving to add 25 percent duties on another $200 billion in goods.

This week Apple said in a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative that tariffs will make some of its products, including the Apple Watch and Mac mini, more expensive. The company makes a large percentage of its products in China.

Apple didn't immediately comment on Trump's tweet.


Despite Trump tweet, Ford says it won't make hatchback in US

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ford says it won't be moving production of a hatchback vehicle to the United States from China — despite President Donald Trump's claim that his taxes on Chinese imports mean the Focus Active can be built in America.

Citing Trump's new tariffs, Ford on Aug. 31 said it was dropping plans to ship the Focus Active from China to America.

Trump took to Twitter Sunday to declare victory and write: "This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!"

But in a statement Sunday, Ford said "it would not be profitable to build the Focus Active in the U.S." given forecast yearly sales below 50,000.

For now, that means Ford simply won't sell the vehicle in the United States.


Alibaba: Jack Ma to step down as chairman in September 2019

BEIJING (AP) — E-commerce giant Alibaba Group says founder Jack Ma will step down as chairman in September 2019.

The company announced Monday that Ma will be succeeded by Daniel Zhang, the company's CEO.

Alibaba said Ma will remain a member of the group that has a right to nominate a majority of the company's board of directors.

Ma is a former English teacher who founded the company in 1999. Ma is one of the world's richest entrepreneurs.


Japan revises April-June growth data up to 3 percent

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese economy grew at a robust annual rate of 3 percent in April-June, according to revised government data, on the back of healthy capital spending.

The revised data released Monday is an upward revision from the 1.9 percent annual rate from an earlier preliminary reading, and a reversal from the 0.6 percent annual contraction rate in January-March.

That contraction had ended two years of continual expansion, the longest stretch in nearly three decades for Japan.

Junichi Makino, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said the recovery momentum is better than expected, and will likely continue as electronics, auto and chemical sectors invest more, and consumer spending holds up.

He said despite worries about President Donald Trump's tariff policies, some targeting Japan, the impact appeared to be minimal so far.


Average US price of gas steady at $2.91 per gallon

LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. gas prices remained steady over the past two weeks and an analyst says the pump price may start to drop later this month.

Trilby Lundberg says the average price of regular-grade gas as of Friday was $2.91 per gallon.

In California, however, the average was $3.63 per gallon, up 3 cents from two weeks ago.

The price in the San Francisco Bay Area was even higher while the city with the lowest average was Jackson, Mississippi at $2.51 per gallon.

Consumers may see prices fall 2 to 4 cents per gallon by the end of the month, Lundberg says, because gasoline supplies are plentiful, growth in demand is weak and refiners are ending their production of summer blend gas that's designed to reduce pollution but is costlier to produce.


With 'The Nun,' Warner Bros.' box office streak continues

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The horror movie "The Nun" has topped the domestic box office in its first weekend, scoring a best for the "Conjuring" franchise.

Studio estimates on Sunday say the Taissa Farmiga film brought in $53.5 million from North American theaters.

It's the fifth consecutive weekend that a Warner Bros. movie has held first place, following in the successful footsteps of "Crazy Rich Asians" and "The Meg," and the fourth that the studio has held the first and second place spots.

"The Nun" scared "Crazy Rich Asians" into second place for the first time in its four-week run. The rom-com added $13.6 million.

The Jennifer Garner revenge movie "Peppermint" opened in third to $13.3 million.

And holdovers rounded out the top five with "The Meg" in fourth and "Searching" in fifth.


'Broken' economics for preschool workers, child care sector

SEATTLE (AP) — A dire workforce crisis in a booming U.S. economy is prompting the child care industry to turn to business tactics more closely resembling Wall Street than "Sesame Street."

There are now noncompete policies for child care workers and families and non-refundable wait list fees for parents seeking day care slots.

Some child care centers offer college tuition incentives for low-paid workers.

Child care centers say they're struggling to meet seemingly insatiable demand — especially in expensive urban areas like Seattle, New York and San Francisco.

Underlying the phenomenon is a shrinking pool of childcare workers with employers still offering poverty-level pay and skyrocketing demand for high-quality childcare programs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says median child care worker pay is $22,000 — less than what parking lot attendants make.


Boris Johnson's Brexit 'suicide vest' comment sparks furor

LONDON (AP) — Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has compared Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for Brexit to putting the country's constitution in a "suicide vest" and handing the detonator to the European Union.

The attack, and Johnson's choice of language, widened the divide in the governing Conservative Party over Brexit.

Johnson, a strong supporter of Brexit, quit May's government in July after rejecting her proposal for close economic ties with the bloc after the U.K. leaves next year. His article in the Mail on Sunday ramped up speculation that he plans to challenge her leadership.

But some Conservative colleagues condemned his language.

Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan tweeted that the comments marked "one of the most disgusting moments in modern British politics" and should be "the political end of Boris Johnson."