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Update on the latest in business:

December 6, 2018


Asian shares skid as Huawei CFO arrest revives trade jitters

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock prices skidded today following the arrest of a senior official at Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei (wah-way)that could derail progress in China-U.S. trade talks.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled 2.7 percent and Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 2.5 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi sank 1.6 percent. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 1.7 percent. Shares also fell in Taiwan and all other regional markets.

Markets were closed in the U.S. on Wednesday for a day of mourning following the death of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. The future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 1.3 percent to 24,712.00 and the future for the S&P 500 lost 1.2 percent to 2,668.30.


Business and economic reports scheduled for today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department releases its October reports on international trade and factory orders.

Also, mortgage company Freddie Mac releases the weekly mortgage rates.


Fed survey cites rising concerns about trade tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve says that the U.S. economy was growing in the fall, but there were concerns about higher tariffs from a widening trade war, rising interest rates and tight labor markets.

In its latest report on economic conditions around the country, the Fed says most of its 12 regions saw moderate growth through late November. Dallas and Philadelphia says growth had slowed, while St. Louis and Kansas City depicted growth as slight.

The report, known as the beige book, found that optimism about the future had waned somewhat. Business contacts cited “increased uncertainty,” stemming from factors including retaliatory tariffs levied on U.S. exports, rising interest rates spurred by the Fed’s credit tightening and labor market constraints.


Trump’s push for tariffs squeezes a weakening global economy

NEW YORK (AP) — The global economy was already showing signs of a slowdown when President Donald Trump reminded the world of his love of tariffs and sent a chill through financial markets.

“I am a Tariff Man,” Trump announced Tuesday to signal his devotion to import taxes — a remark that served to downplay the likelihood of ending his trade war with China. Stocks sank across the world, in part over fear that an escalation in tariffs would choke off economic growth and possibly send a global slowdown into a recession.

By Wednesday, Trump had tweaked his message to suggest more optimism on the odds of forging a deal with President Xi Jinping. Their meeting last weekend at an economic conference in Argentina produced a 90-day truce.


OPEC members expected to agree cut in crude production

VIENNA (AP) — OPEC members are meeting to agree on their response to recent declines in oil prices, with analysts predicting a cut in production of at least 1 million barrels per day.

Crude prices began falling in October and continued to plunge last month because of oversupply and fears weaker global economic growth would dampen energy demand. The price of both benchmark U.S. crude and the standard for internationally traded oil fell 22 percent in November.

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that “Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!”


Climate reality check: Global carbon pollution up in 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists say after several years of little growth, global emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have experienced their largest jump in seven years.

World carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to have risen 2.7 percent from 2017 to 2018. That’s according to three studies released Wednesday from the Global Carbon Project, an international scientific collaboration that tracks greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists say the calculations, announced during negotiations to put the 2015 Paris climate accord into effect, puts some of the landmark agreement’s goals nearly out of reach.

Andrew Jones of Climate Interactive, which models greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures but was not part of the research, says “this is terrible news.”


Officials meet with GM chief over plant closing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ohio officials in Congress have met in Washington with General Motors’ chief executive in their bid to keep a northeastern Ohio assembly plant from closing.

GM announced last week that it will stop making the Chevy Cruze at its Lordstown plant by March and is considering closing the plant for good. It is part of a massive restructuring for the Detroit-based automaker.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown say they urged GM’s Mary Barra Wednesday to consider bringing other products to Lordstown. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, whose district includes the plant, also met with Barra.

Portman also contacted President Donald Trump and his labor secretary.

GM has about 1,500 people left at its Lordstown operation. Barra says the company is focused on relocation and training opportunities for affected workers.


Toyota US chief says car sales are close to bottoming out

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota’s top U.S. executive says car sales nationwide have bottomed out and his company will keep making them despite a dramatic shift to trucks and SUVs.

U.S. CEO Jim Lentz told the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday that car sales fell below 30 percent of sales last month, and he thinks that’s close to the bottom.

While Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are canceling many car models, Lentz doesn’t see that happening with Toyota. He says U.S. consumers still are buying more than 4 million compact, midsize and near-luxury cars each year, so cars are still a huge market. He says Toyota can pick up sales as other companies cut back on car models.


Aegean signs preliminary deal to buy Pratt & Whitney engines

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s dominant Aegean Airlines has signed a preliminary agreement with Pratt & Whitney to buy new fuel-efficient and lower-pollution engines for up to 62 new passenger jets.

The memorandum of understanding signed in Athens Wednesday is worth up to $1.5 billion, and is part of the 5-billion-euro ($5.7 billion) agreement announced in the summer for Aegean to buy new Airbus A320 neo planes.

The Pratt & Whitney GTF engines are designed to offer at least 16 percent better fuel efficiency and 75 percent noise reduction, as well as significantly lower pollution emissions, according to Aegean.

The memorandum of understanding will also provide for long-term maintenance for the new engines.

Aegean was founded 19 years ago and serves 150 destinations in 44 countries.


China demands Canada release Huawei executive

BEIJING (AP) — China’s foreign ministry has demanded Canada release a top executive at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei (wah-way) Technologies and reveal the reasoning behind her arrest.

A ministry spokesman says China is in contact over the case of Meng Wanzhou with both Canada and the U.S., which requested her detention on suspicion of trying to evade U.S. curbs on trade with Iran.

The ministry says Meng’s legal rights must be ensured and that neither Canada or the U.S. had so far responded to China’s concerns.

Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, faces possible extradition to the United States, according to Canadian authorities. Meng was detained in Vancouver on Saturday, the day President Donald Trump met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Argentina.


Forbes: Rangers remain most valuable NHL franchise

TORONTO (AP) — The New York Rangers are the NHL’s most valuable franchise for a fourth consecutive year, according to Forbes.

The Rangers top the annual list of franchise valuations at $1.55 billion, up 3 percent from last year.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are second at $1.35 billion, and Montreal Canadiens third at $1.3 billion, 4 percent increases for both clubs.

Original Six clubs make up the top five, with the Chicago Blackhawks fourth at $1.05 billion and the Boston Bruins fifth at $925 million. The Detroit Red Wings are not far behind in eighth ($775 million) and have seen an 11 percent increase thanks to a new downtown arena.

Los Angeles (sixth, $810 million), Philadelphia (seventh, $800 million), Vancouver (ninth, $735 million) and Washington (10th, $725 million) round out the top 10. The Capitals enjoyed a league-best 16 percent boost with their first Stanley Cup title.

The Vegas Golden Knights are 12th at $575 million after reaching the Cup final as an expansion team.

At the other end of the list are the Florida Panthers (30th, $295 million) and Arizona Coyotes (31st, $290 million). The clubs were the only two to lose value according to Forbes, down 3 percent each.


For-profit college closes operations, surprising students

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A troubled chain of for-profit colleges has closed abruptly in dozens of locations nationwide, after its accrediting agency suspended approval.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Education Corp. of America on Wednesday closed schools operating as Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute and Golf Academy of America.

The company in October said it owed $46.8 million to unsecured creditors, asking a judge to keep landlords from kicking it out of locations.

ECA earlier announced it was closing some locations once students completed classes, but said it would continue others.

The director of Project on Predatory Student Lending, Toby Merrill, says students can ask the U.S. Department of Education to cancel loans if a school closes.

The company website says information about transcripts and recommendations about transfers will be available starting about Dec. 17.


Target to pay $7.4M to settle California waste suit

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Target store chain has agreed to pay $7.4 million to settle California allegations that it improperly dumped hazardous waste into landfills, ranging from batteries to drugs and syringes.

Minnesota-based Target didn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing in the lawsuit settlement filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court.

The state and some two dozen local governments alleged that between 2012 and 2016, Target mishandled hazardous waste ranging from batteries and aerosol cans to fluorescent light bulbs.

Target will pay $3.2 million in fines, $3 million to conduct compliance inspections and audits of its trash facilities, plus additional money for environmental projects.

It’s the second settlement of allegations that Target violated hazardous waste rules. Under a 2011 settlement, Target agreed to pay $22.5 million in penalties, court fees and environmental funding.

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