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Update on the latest in business:

July 11, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks tumble as Asia braces for more US tariffs on China

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets have tumbled after the Trump administration’s move to impose tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese exports was criticized by Beijing, upping the ante in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.2 percent today and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.6 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.7 percent. The Shanghai Composite index tumbled 2.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.8 percent. Shares also fell in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

A strong performance by household goods makers lifted major U.S. indexes on Tuesday. The S&P 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 2,793.84, climbing to its highest level since Feb. 1. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6 percent to 24,919.66. The Nasdaq composite picked up 3 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 7,759.20. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 0.5 percent to 1,695.62 after big gains over the last five days.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

Major business and economic events scheduled for Wednesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for June this morning, while the Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for May.

US-CHINA TARIFFS

China vows retaliation for latest US tariff threat

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government has criticized the latest U.S. threat of a tariff hike as “totally unacceptable” and vowed to retaliate in their escalating trade war.

The Commerce Ministry gave no details today, but Beijing responded to last week’s U.S. tariff hike on $34 billion of imports from China by increasing its own duties on the same amount of American goods.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced a $200 billion list of Chinese goods for possible 10 percent tariffs including fish, apples and burglar alarms.

A Commerce Ministry statement said, “It is totally unacceptable for American side to publish a tariff list in a way that is accelerating and escalating.” It said, “the Chinese government will be forced to impose necessary countermeasures” to protect its “core interests.”

CHINA-TESLA

Tesla announces deal for Shanghai factory

BEIJING (AP) — Electric car producer Tesla says it will build its first factory outside the United States in Shanghai.

Tesla says an agreement signed Tuesday with a Shanghai city government agency calls for construction to start in the near future. It says production would begin three years after that and eventually increase to 500,000 vehicles annually.

The announcement comes amid mounting U.S.-Chinese trade tensions and follows Beijing’s decision in April to end restrictions that required foreign automakers to work through joint ventures with local partners.

China is the world’s biggest electric vehicle market. Automakers are investing heavily to develop models to appeal to local customers.

FACEBOOK PRIVACY SCANDAL

Facebook faces U.K. fine over its privacy scandal

LONDON (AP) — Facebook is facing its first financial penalty for allowing the data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to forage through the personal data of millions of unknowing Facebook users.

A U.K. government office announced its intention to fine Facebook 500,000 pounds ($663,000), the maximum possible, for failing to safeguard that user information.

The penalty is a pittance for Facebook. But it would represent the first tangible punishment for the company’s privacy scandal, which tarnished its reputation, temporarily pushed down its shares and forced CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress, but otherwise had few lasting repercussions.

Cambridge Analytica, a London firm financed by wealthy Republican Party donors, worked for the 2016 Trump campaign and for a while employed Steve Bannon, who managed President Donald Trump’s campaign and later became a White House adviser.

WORLD’S INNOVATIVE ECONOMIES

China joins 20 most innovative economies, US falls to No. 6

NEW YORK (AP) — A new report says China has joined the world’s top 20 most innovative economies for the first time while the United States has fallen out of the five top-ranked countries.

The Global Innovation Index 2018 is co-sponsored by the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization. It keeps Switzerland in the No. 1 spot, followed by the Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom and Singapore.

The United States fell from fourth in 2017 to sixth this year, while China jumped from 22nd to 17th.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said Tuesday that China’s ranking represents a breakthrough for its economy, which is rapidly transforming and prioritizing research and ingenuity.

The index is published annually by WIPO, Cornell University and INSEAD, the graduate business school.

TRUMP-DRUG PRICES

Trump says drug maker Pfizer ‘rolling back price hikes’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says pharmaceutical company Pfizer is “rolling back price hikes, so American patients don’t pay more.”

Trump is tweeting that he and Health Secretary Alex Azar discussed the issue Tuesday with Pfizer CEO Ian Read.

Pfizer has issued a statement saying Read has agreed to “defer the company’s price increases that were effective on July 1 to give the president an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the healthcare system.”

Pfizer says it will “return these prices to their pre-July 1 levels as soon as technically possible.”

Trump complained about the price increases on Twitter Monday, writing: “Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason. They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves.”

FACEBOOK PRIVACY SCANDAL

UK lawmaker says fine imposed on Facebook over user privacy

LONDON (AP) — The chairman of the U.K. Parliament’s media committee says the government office that investigated the Cambridge Analytica scandal has fined Facebook 500,000 pounds ($663,000) for failing to safeguard users’ data.

Damian Collins said the Information Commissioner’s Office concluded that Facebook “contravened the law by failing to safeguard people’s information.”

Collins said Wednesday that the company “should now make the results of their internal investigations known to the ICO, our committee and other relevant investigatory authorities.”

Facebook has been under scrutiny since allegations surfaced that London-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica used data from tens of millions of Facebook accounts to help U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

The alleged offenses took place before the roll out of new European Union data protection laws that allow for much larger fines.

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