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June 11, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian markets mixed ahead of Trump-Kim summit in Singapore

BEIJING (AP) — Asian markets were mixed Monday before President Donald Trump planned to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and after his outburst at Canada’s prime minister over trade.

U.S. and North Korean officials were preparing for a meeting Tuesday between Trump and Kim aimed at settling the standoff over the North’s nuclear arsenal. Pyongyang has said it is willing to deal away its entire nuclear arsenal if the United States provides it with reliable security assurances and other benefits. But many say this is unlikely, because the weapons help to guarantee the survival of Kim’s government.

Trump took more swipes at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, contending that “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal.”

Investors looked ahead to meetings this week of major central banks. The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected announce an interest rate hike on Thursday. Also Thursday, the European Central Bank is expected to give more indications about whether it might bring forward a rate hike now expected in mid-2019. On Friday, the Bank of Japan is due to give its latest policy update.

U.S. stocks ended higher Friday, led by consumer products and health care companies. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 2,779.03. The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.3 percent to 25,316.53. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.1 percent to 7,645.51.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil slipped but remains above $65.50 per barrel.

The dollar declined against then yen and the euro.

TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT-THE MISSION

Unorthodox Trump faces toughest test yet in NKorea summit

SINGAPORE (AP) — Embarking on a self-described “mission of peace,” President Donald Trump puts his seat-of-the-pants foreign policy to its toughest test yet as he attempts this week to personally broker an end to North Korea’s nuclear program in talks with Kim Jong Un.

The impulsive American president, who just this weekend sowed chaos within the Western alliance, is set to face his match on the global stage as he prepares to meet Kim in Singapore on Tuesday.

In the historic first meeting between the leaders of the technically-still-warring nations, Trump is prioritizing instinct over planning. Unlike traditional summits between heads of state, where most of the work is completed in advance, U.S. officials say the only thing certain ahead of these talks will be their unpredictability.

Ever since Trump shocked allies, White House officials and, by some accounts, the North Koreans themselves when he accepted Kim’s March invitation for a meeting, the two leaders have lurched toward an uncertain encounter that could affect millions.

Trump landed in Singapore on Sunday evening, about four hours after Kim arrived in the island city-state. The two are scheduled to meet for the first time Tuesday morning.

SKOREA-CRYPTO EXCHANGE-HACK

Bitcoin at 2-month low after South Korean exchange hacked

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean cryptocurrency exchange says hackers have stolen about one-third of the coins traded on its market.

Coinrail’s announcement Monday sent bitcoin prices tumbling to a two-month low.

Coinrail said hackers stole cryptocurrencies including Pundi X, Aston and NPER. It did not give the value of the stolen coins but Yonhap News agency cited unnamed industry sources saying about coins worth about 40 billion won ($37 million) were lost.

Bitcoin was trading at $6,780, down from more than $7,500 before the weekend, according to Coindesk, which monitors prices.

Coinrail said it was cooperating with police and suspended trading.

DETROIT TRAIN STATION-FORD

Owners of Detroit’s old train station to discuss its future

DETROIT (AP) — Owners of the vacant, hulking 105-year-old Michigan Central Station are planning to make an announcement about its future.

Matthew Moroun, son of building owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun, said the announcement will come Monday in front of the 500,000-square-foot, 18-story train station that closed in 1988. No details were given.

After years of failed plans, talk has centered on redevelopment spearheaded by Ford Motor Co. Ford board member Edsel B. Ford II has said the Dearborn-based automaker is in discussions to buy the station but few details have been made public.

Ford recently began moving about 200 members of its electric and autonomous vehicle business teams into a refurbished former factory near the train station.

With its massive columns, the building has become an iconic symbol of Detroit’s fall from greatness.

NEW WORLD TRADE CENTER TOWER

80-story 3 World Trade Center to open after years of delays

NEW YORK (AP) — An 80-story office building set to open this week at the World Trade Center will be the third completed skyscraper at the site where the twin towers stood.

Monday’s ribbon-cutting for the 1,079-foot (329-meter) 3 World Trade Center marks a major step in the rebuilding of the site, stalled for years by disputes among government agencies, trade center developer Larry Silverstein, insurers and 9/11 victims’ family members who wanted the entire site to be preserved for eternity as a memorial.

The new $2.7 billion building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Rogers, has been the fifth-tallest building in New York City since construction topped out in 2016.

Three World Trade’s 62-foot (19-meter) lobby faces the National Sept. 11 Museum. Wedged between the Santiago Calatrava-designed transportation hub and 4 World Trade Center, also built by Silverstein, the new building consists of an 80-story tower straddling a 17-story “podium.”

The skyscraper boasts an annealed glass exterior with 10,000 glass panels that have been cooled slowly to reduce internal stress, meaning the glass shouldn’t break into shards if it is struck.

Inside, office space is being readied for anchor tenant 3M, an advertising firm, with exposed ceilings that suggest a Soho loft.

There are outdoor terraces on the 17th, 60th and 76th floors including an outdoor deck that will be shared by all the building’s tenants.

TRUMP GOLF-HIGH HOPES

Trump sons open new clubhouse as numbers sag at its courses

NEW YORK (AP) — The president’s company is hoping a new clubhouse opening at a Trump golf resort in New York City will revive its fortunes, one of several of his courses posting disappointing numbers recently.

Donald Trump’s two adult sons are cutting the ribbon on a clubhouse at the Trump Golf Links in the Bronx on Monday with hopes it will attract more visitors. Data from the city obtained in a freedom of information request by The Associated Press show revenue at the course fell 7 percent last year, echoing trouble at a few of Trump’s other 17 courses for which figures have been made public.

Greens fees fell last year at Trump’s Los Angeles course, and his two Scottish resorts and one in Ireland posted losses in 2016, the latest year available.

TRUMP-G-7

Amid tensions, all G-7 members sign statement

LA MALBAIE, Quebec (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says all countries attending the Group of Seven summit have signed a joint communique despite sharp trade tensions with the U.S.

Trudeau says the U.S., Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan figured out “consensus language” they could all agree to.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently slapped tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, angering his counterparts before he arrived at the summit. Some had predicted it would be difficult for all the leaders to reach any kind of consensus because of the sharp disagreements.

Speaking at the close of the summit, Trudeau insisted that any renegotiated trade agreement covering the U.S., Canada and Mexico will not include a sunset clause.

Trudeau says a trade deal that expires automatically every five years is not a trade deal. He says he’s opposed to an expiration date of any length.

TRUMP-G-7-REACTION

In reversal, Trump doesn’t endorse G-7 statement

LA MALBAIE, Quebec (AP) — President Donald Trump has tweeted that he now doesn’t endorse the G-7 joint statement after what he calls Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “false statements” at a closing news conference.

Trump also tweeted that Trudeau had acted “so meek and mild” during their meetings and that his tough talk later is “dishonest & weak.”

Trump issued the tweets from Air Force One just as Canada released the joint statement. The president was flying to Singapore to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

GERMANY-MERKEL-G7

Merkel: G-7 summit with Trump was a ‘sobering’ experience

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel found the contentious Group of Seven summit with U.S. President Donald Trump a “sobering” and “depressing” experience but says European leaders won’t be “taken advantage of” on trade.

She conceded in an interview on German public television Sunday that the meeting’s outcome “wasn’t a great thing” and that “I have spoken of a sobering experience, which for me is a lot.”

Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and the other leaders clashed with Trump over steel and aluminum tariffs as well as his decision to abandon a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program.

The group managed a common statement in which they agreed to disagree on some issues, only to have Trump disavow the document in a tweet after leaving the meeting.

SALMONELLA OUTBREAK

Salmonella linked to pre-cut melon sickens 60 in Midwest

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Health officials say a salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melon has sickened 60 people in five Midwestern states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Caito Foods LLC on Friday recalled pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and fruit medleys containing at least one of those melons that were produced at its facility in Indianapolis.

It says the five states where people were sickened are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. The CDC says the fruit was also distributed to stores in Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina. It was sold in clear plastic clamshell containers at Costco, Jay C, Kroger, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart and Whole Foods/Amazon.

Officials say people should throw away or return recalled products.

The CDC says 31 of the people sickened have been hospitalized, but there have been no deaths reported. Those sickened often develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated food. The illness often lasts 4 to 7 days.

FILM-BOX OFFICE

‘Ocean’s 8’ opens with franchise-best $41.5M to top weekend

NEW YORK (AP) — “Ocean’s 8,” the female-led overhaul of the starry “Ocean’s” franchise, opened with $41.5 million at the box office, taking the weekend’s top spot from the fast-falling “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

According to estimates Sunday, “Ocean’s 8” set a new best for the franchise, not accounting for inflation. The three previous “Ocean’s” films all debuted with between $36-39 million in the last decade.

“Solo” slid to second place with $15.2 million on its third weekend.

The weekend’s second biggest opening was the acclaimed indie horror thriller “Hereditary.” Though audiences gave the notoriously scary film a D-plus CinemaScore, it set a company record for boutique distributor A24 with a $13 million debut.

GAS PRICES

Gas prices remain steady with average of $3.01 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average price of regular-grade gasoline in the U.S. has remained relatively steady for the past three weeks with a national average of $3.01 per gallon.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that a drop in crude prices has not been seen at the pump. Lundberg says that station operators kept the difference between wholesale and retail prices to make up for tight margins.

The average on May 18 was a fraction under $3 a gallon.

The highest average price in the contiguous 48 states was $3.81 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest was $2.54 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The average price for diesel fuel rose 4 cents, to $3.27.

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