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Another incredible day on Wall Street?...China says plans made for US trade talks in January...Banner year for marijuana industry

December 27, 2018

SINGAPORE (AP) — An incredible day on Wall Street, where major indexes finished at least 5 percent higher, lifted Japanese stocks but garnered a mixed reaction elsewhere in Asia and Europe today as some traders returned from a Christmas break. Trading resumed Thursday for European markets, which were closed for the festive season. In early trading today, Germany’s DAX dropped 0.3 percent, France’s CAC 40 added 0.8 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat. Wall Street is poised to open lower with Dow and S&P futures each down 1 percent.

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government says it has made plans for trade talks with US officials in January aimed at ending a dispute that threatens to depress global trade. The Ministry of Commerce says the two sides also would have ‘intensive telephone consultations.’ Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed this month to a 90-day postponement of any more tariff hikes while they negotiate over complaints about Beijing’s industry policies.

BEIJING (AP) — China’s former deputy intelligence chief has been sentenced to life in prison for corruption. A court in Dalian said Ma Jian has been found guilty of crimes including accepting bribes and insider trading. The court said Ma used his political power to aid the business operations of Guo Wengui, a wanted tycoon who has made sensational allegations of corruption in the upper echelons of China’s ruling party.

NEW YORK (AP) — Consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail. That’s what former Saks CEO Steve Sadove says. Sadove, who’s a senior adviser at Mastercard, says retail sales rose 5.1 percent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year ago. Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending online and in stores across all payment types, says total sales topped $850 billion this year, and that online sales continue to grow, up more than 19 percent from a year ago.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — This was a banner year for the legal marijuana industry in the U.S. and worldwide. In 2018, California became the largest legal U.S. marketplace, U.S. drug regulators approved the first marijuana-based pharmaceutical to treat kids with a form of epilepsy, and billions of investment dollars poured into cannabis companies. Thailand legalized medicinal use of marijuana on Tuesday. Beau Whitney of the cannabis market research and data analysis firm New Frontier Data, says legal marijuana was a $10.4 billion industry in the U.S. in 2018.

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