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Update on the latest in business:

November 13, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Global stocks mixed after Wall Street tech sell-off

UNDATED (AP) — European stocks gained while Asian markets were mixed today after a tech sell-off dragged Wall Street lower.

In early trading, Germany’s DAX advanced 0.5 percent and France’s CAC 40 added 0.4 percent. London’s FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 2 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9 percent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.5 percent. Seoul’s Kospi gave up 0.4 percent.

Wall Street is expected to open higher, with S&P futures up 0.6 percent and Dow futures up 0.5 percent.

OIL PRICES-TRUMP

Oil drops again after Trump tweets against production cuts

UNDATED (AP) — Oil prices are falling again, this time helped lower by a tweet from President Donald Trump.

The presidential tweet Monday was in response to news that OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, and allies including Russia were signaling willingness to consider production cuts to stem a six-week slide in crude prices.

Trump tweeted -- “Hopefully, Saudi Arabia and OPEC will not be cutting oil production. Oil prices should be much lower based on supply!” Oil prices were up slightly at the time but soon went south.

Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 0.4 percent to settle at $59.93 a barrel in New York, the 11th straight loss. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oil, slipped 0.1 percent to close at $70.12 a barrel in London.

MIDEAST-ECONOMY

IMF: Mideast oil producers buoyed by higher prices, for now

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A new report by the International Monetary Fund says higher oil prices are helping to offset increases in public spending by the Middle East’s oil exporting heavyweights like Saudi Arabia, helping these countries narrow their budget deficit by $77 billion.

The IMF’s regional outlook report published today found that the overall fiscal deficit for the Mideast’s oil exporters is projected to decline from around $118 billion last year to $41 billion this year, before narrowing to $3 billion in 2019.

The rosier outlook, however, is not consistent across the region. In Iran, the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on oil exports is expected to drive up inflation there to more than 40 percent by year’s end.

Also, oil prices could slide back down to $60 a barrel by 2021.

ASEAN-TRADE

Southeast Asian summit puts focus on trade tensions, trends

SINGAPORE (AP) — The potential damage to the global trade brought on by President Donald Trump’s tariffs battle with Beijing is looming as leaders of Southeast Asian nations, China, the U.S. and other regional economies meet in Singapore this week.

Newly imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s exports resulting from a battle between the U.S. and China over technology policy and other issues have begun to bite.

It’s unclear if the region’s reliance on trade will lead ASEAN to push ahead with a free trade pact that would commit member countries to opening markets further this week. But the talk in Singapore was of freer trade.

Premier Li Keqiang told a business forum Monday that no country can handle trends toward more protectionism, uncertainty and other destabilizing factors alone.

GOOGLE-INTERNET HIJACKING

Internet traffic hijack disrupts Google services

UNDATED (AP) — An internet diversion that rerouted data traffic through Russia and China disrupted several Google services on Monday, including search and cloud-hosting services.

According to network service companies, service interruptions lasted for nearly two hours and ended about 5:30 p.m. EST. EST.. In addition to Russian and Chinese telecommunications companies, a Nigerian internet provider was also involved.

Google confirmed Monday’s disruption on a network status page but said only that it believed the cause was “external to Google .” The company had little additional comment.

The specific method employed, formally known as border gateway protocol hijacking, can knock essential services offline and facilitate espionage and financial theft. Most network traffic to Google services —94 percent as of October 27 — is encrypted, which shields it from prying eyes even if diverted.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-UTILITIES

Fires put pressure on California utilities despite new law

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California utilities again are facing severe financial pressures from the possibility that their equipment sparked catastrophic wildfires, including two that are now burning at either end of the state.

The pressure comes even though Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September giving utilities some relief beginning next year.

The law made it easier for utilities to pass along costs from fire-related damages to consumers and also avoid possible bankruptcy from a series of major fires that occurred during the 2017 fire season that produced more than $10 billion in losses.

But there was a gap in the law: No damages specific to 2018 were included, so utilities face a higher bar to bill customers to cover those costs. And this year already supplanted 2017 as the most destructive in California’s recorded history.

A woman who owns land near the site where a deadly wildfire started in Northern California said Monday that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. sought access to her property just before the blaze started because the utility’s power lines were causing sparks.

FRONTIER AIRLINES-PILOTS

Frontier pilots could be close to reaching new contract

DENVER (AP) — Frontier Airlines pilots could be close to reaching a new contract after more than two years of talks.

The union representing pilots for the Denver-based discount carrier announced Monday it reached an “agreement in principle” on a deal including improvements to pay, work rules and benefits.

A statement from the Air Line Pilots Association says it still must be reviewed by the Frontier union’s executive council, which will decide whether to send it to pilots for a vote.

Frontier pilots have been working under a contract changed in 2011 to keep their airline out of bankruptcy.

Pilots have picketed in Denver and sent a “strike bus” to cities in the airline’s network over the last year to try to build public awareness for their cause.

THEME PARK GROWTH

Global theme park industry has smallest growth in 5 years

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — An industry group says the global theme park market grew 5 percent last year, but it was the smallest growth in the past five years.

A report produced for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions says the global theme park business was a $45 billion industry in 2017.

The report says there has been slowing expansion in the Americas and Asian markets.

Most of the global gains in revenue will come from attendance gains, which the report says is expected to grow 3.8 percent a year over the next several years.

The report says the Asia-Pacific region will account for almost two-thirds of the global growth in attendance.

The report was released at the trade group’s annual convention in Orlando, Florida. It started Monday.

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