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Update on the latest in business:

November 12, 2018


Asia shares gain ahead of key data; oil recovers

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were mostly higher today ahead of key economic data, such as industrial production figures from China and Japan later in the week.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.1 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.1 percent, the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.9 percent higher and Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent. But the Kospi in South Korea dipped 0.5 percent. Shares were flat in Thailand but were lower in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

On Wall Street, technology and internet stocks sank Friday on Chinese growth worries and weak forecasts by companies including video game maker Activision Blizzard and chipmaker Skyworks Solutions.

The S&P 500 index lost 0.9 percent to 2,781.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8 percent to 25,989.30, and the Nasdaq composite gave up 1.6 percent to 7,406.90. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks tumbled 1.8 percent to 1,549.49.


Abu Dhabi summit: Oil production cuts may be necessary

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Major oil producers on hand for a summit in Abu Dhabi acknowledge that production cuts of up to 1 million barrels a day may be necessary.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said today that an analysis suggested that cuts may be necessary, but authorities felt there were many assumptions built into that.

His counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Suhail al-Mazrouei, currently the president of OPEC, similarly said “changes” would likely be necessary.

He, however, added that “we need not to overreact when these things happen.”

Crude oil dropped to a low of $30 a barrel in January 2016. Benchmark Brent crude, which had been trading above $80 a barrel recently, now hovers just over $70.

The officials spoke today at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference.


SAP buying Qualtrics for $8 billion in cash

UNDATED (AP) — SAP says it has agreed to pay $8 billion cash for survey-software provider Qualtrics International Inc., which was preparing for an initial sale of stock to the public.

SAP said Sunday that the deal was approved by boards of both companies and Qualtrics shareholders. The sale is expected to close in the first half of next year.

Prove, Utah-based Qualtrics filed last week for an IPO. Its products help companies get feedback from employees and customers. Qualtrics said in a regulatory filing that it has more than 9,000 customers including more than 75 percent of Fortune 100 companies.

For Germany’s SAP, the deal is one of its biggest. In 2014, it paid about $8.3 billion for Concur, which makes software to manage employee travel and expenses.


SoftBank mobile unit to go for IPO raising some $20 billion

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. will carry out an initial public offering of its Japanese mobile subsidiary, set for Dec. 19.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange approved the listing of 1.6 billion shares of SoftBank Corp. today, at 1,500 yen ($13) a share, raising potentially more than 2 trillion yen ($20 billion).

Founded in 1986, initially running software, broadband and fixed-line telecommunications businesses, the company has expanded to become one of Japan’s top mobile service providers.

The parent is investing in a range of companies globally, including U.S. wireless company Sprint, British IoT company ARM, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and U.S. ride-sharing service Uber.

Recently, SoftBank Group Chief Executive Masayoshi Son was in the spotlight for his relations with the Saudi prince after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee).


Pabst says MillerCoors is trying to put it out of business

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Pabst Brewing Company and MillerCoors are heading to trial to settle a contract dispute in which Pabst accuses the brewing giant of trying to undermine its competitor by breaking a contract to make their products.

Pabst’s lawyers argue the company’s very existence relies on its business relationship with Chicago-based MillerCoors, which has made and shipped nearly all of Pabst’s beers since 1999.

MillerCoors argues it’s not obligated to continue brewing for Pabst and that Pabst doesn’t want to pay enough to justify it.

The trial in Milwaukee County Circuit Court begins Monday and is scheduled through Nov. 30.

Pabst’s attorneys say MillerCoors is lying about its brewing capacity to hinder Pabst’s ability to compete. MillerCoors says it’s simply deciding what makes economic sense for the company’s future.


Farm supervisor charged in Australia strawberry tampering

SYDNEY (AP) — A former strawberry farm supervisor was accused in an Australian court today of retaliating over a workplace grievance by putting needles into the fruit, sparking recalls that devastated the Australian industry.

Magistrate Christine Roney said while prosecutors were alleging My Ut Trinh was “motivated by spite or revenge” she would not consider granting bail for the woman until the reasons for her actions became clearer.

While no injuries were reported from the needles, the crisis escalated to six states and neighboring New Zealand. Australia’s multimillion-dollar strawberry industry suffered major financial losses, with fruit recalled from supermarket shelves and destroyed. Major food distributors in New Zealand removed Australian strawberries from stores.


‘Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch’ makes off with $66M at box office

LOS ANGELES (AP) — You’re a mean one — and you’re number one — Mr. Grinch.

“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” made off with $66 million for Universal Pictures to top the weekend North American box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Last week’s top film, the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” drops to second for 20th Century Fox with a $30.8 million weekend that brings its overall take to $100 million.

“Minions” makers Illumination produced the latest interpretation of “The Grinch,” with the title character voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. The film was widely expected to be No. 1 with few other major openings this weekend, but it surpassed projections that had it bringing in closer to $60 million.

Paramount Pictures’ war-horror hybrid “Overlord” was third with $19 million.

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