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Update on the latest in business:

November 7, 2018


Asian shares waver as US midterm vote yields mixed outcome

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares erased earlier gains to close mostly lower today.

Most Asian benchmarks spent a large share of Wednesday in positive territory but retreated in late trading. The future contracts for the Dow and the S&P 500 were marginally higher.

Wall Street, which closed higher overnight, appeared on an upbeat course. U.S. futures were higher, with the contract for the Dow up 0.1 percent at 25,661.00 and the S&P 500 adding 0.1 percent to 2,762.00.

In Asia Wednesday, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gave up 0.3 percent and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.5 percent, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.7 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 percent. Shares also rose in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia.


Major business and economic reports due out today

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve policymakers are meeting today.

The Fed also releases consumer credit data for September.


Judge approves restructuring for Puerto Rico government bank

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A federal judge overseeing a bankruptcy-like process for Puerto Rico has approved the restructuring of the island’s Government Development Bank in a move that officials called a “major milestone.”

The government issued a statement saying Tuesday’s ruling is a significant step forward for the U.S. territory as it tries to restructure a portion of its more than $70 billion public debt. The bank oversaw the island’s debt transactions and was a lender to the central government and municipalities.

A federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances also praised the ruling, which comes as the island struggles to emerge from a 12-year recession.


China unveils stealth combat drone in development

ZHUHAI, China (AP) — A Chinese state-owned company says it is developing a stealth combat drone in the latest sign of the country’s growing aerospace prowess.

The CH-7 unmanned aerial vehicle also underscores China’s growing competitiveness in the expanding global market for drones.

The drone’s chief designer Shi Wen says it can “fly long hours, scout and strike the target when necessary.”

A model of the aircraft is being displayed at this week’s Zhuhai air show in southern China, a biannual event that showcases China’s latest advancements in military and civilian aviation.

With a wingspan of 22 meters (72 feet) and a length of 10 meters (33 feet), the swept-wing CH-7 is the size of a combat aircraft and its single engine can propel it at roughly the speed of a commercial jet airliner.


Pro and college football games dominate the TV ratings

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With political battles raging, viewers overwhelmingly cast their TV votes for football.

According to Nielsen ratings out Tuesday, eight of the 10 most popular telecasts last week were NFL or college games and related programs.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” Green Bay-New England contest was the week’s No. 1 show and the top-rated NFL game of the season, the network said.

More than 23 million viewers saw the Patriots’ 31-17 victory over the Packers.

CBS was the No. 1 network among all viewers last week, powered by the Alabama-LSU game with its 29-0 Crimson Tide victory over the Tigers. The prime-time game drew 11.5 million viewers.

A couple of top 10 series, “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS,” also helped boost CBS. It’s the most-watched network for the season so far.


Papa John’s still struggling after founder’s departure

UNDATED (AP) — Papa John’s continues to struggle with the fallout from its founder’s noisy departure, but its CEO says a new ad campaign is helping turn things around.

The pizza chain says it lost $13 million in the third quarter, a 160 percent decline from the July-September period a year ago.

Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 20 cents per share. That fell short of Wall Street’s forecast of 22 cents, according to FactSet. Revenue dropped 16 percent to $364 million, also missing analysts’ estimates.

North American same-store sales plummeted 9.8 percent in the third quarter. It was the fourth straight quarter of declines in the region, which houses most of the company’s 5,247 restaurants. International same-store sales also fell.

Papa John’s well-publicized struggles with its founder, John Schnatter, have been a drag on sales all year.

Schnatter stepped down as CEO late last year after he blamed disappointing sales on NFL player protests because the chain advertises heavily during football games. Then, in July, Schnatter resigned as chairman after it was revealed he used the N-word during a conference call.


BMW earnings fall amid market turmoil over emissions tests

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany luxury automaker BMW says net profit fell 24 percent in the third quarter as the company faced market disruptions caused by other companies failing to get vehicles certified for new European Union emissions tests.

The Munich-based automaker also says it’s spending more to develop the electric and autonomous vehicle technologies that are expected to transform the industry.

BMW managed to get its cars certified under tougher new tests but Daimler and Volkswagen both had to sell off uncertified vehicles ahead of the Sept. 1 deadline, leading to pressure on prices. BMW also faced headwinds from warranty actions and trade tensions.

Net profit fell to 1.40 billion euros ($1.6 billion) from 1.84 billion euros in the year-ago quarter. Revenues rose 4.7 percent to 24.74 billion euros.


Australia to block Chinese $9 billion energy takeover bid

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government has warned it intends to block a Hong Kong and Chinese consortium’s 13 billion Australian dollar ($9 billion) takeover bid for an energy infrastructure company because it conflicts with Australia’s national interest.

CK Consortium needs approval of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board to take over APA Group, which owns more than 43,700 kilometers (27,100 miles) of gas pipeline in Australia.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says that today he told the consortium of his preliminary view that the takeover is not in Australia’s interests. In practice, the decision to block the sale is final.

Frydenberg says in a statement that the sale “would result in an undue concentration of foreign ownership by a single company group in our most significant gas transmission business.”

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