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Update on the latest in business:

May 13, 2019


Shares fall in Asia after no deal in China-US trade talks

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares retreated in Asia on Monday after trade talks between the U.S. and China wrapped up Friday without an agreement.

China’s envoy to the trade talks, Vice Premier Liu He said before leaving Washington that Beijing would not compromise on matters of principle and that tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. should be lifted as a condition for striking a deal.

But Liu downplayed the level of tensions, saying China could cope with the challenges posed by the trade dispute.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter over the weekend that “We are right where we want to be with China.” He accused China of “ripping off” America.

The Trump administration said it was preparing to expand 25% tariffs to another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, or practically all imports from China, after raising the import duty on $200 billion of imports from 10%, with effect Friday.

The tariffs war has been hammering Chinese manufacturers and is an added drag on growth for the region.

On Friday, a late-day rally spurred by upbeat comments by U.S. officials pulled markets higher after an early slump triggered by the escalation in the trade war.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% to 2,881.40. The broad index is still up 14.9% for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also gained 0.4%, to 25,942.37. The Nasdaq added 0.1% to 7,916.94, while the Russell 2000 index of small company stocks picked up 0.2% to 1,572.99. Major indexes in Europe closed mostly higher.

U.S. benchmark crude oil barely moved ahead, remaining just above $61.50 per barrel.

The dollar slipped against the yen and was flat against the euro.


Companies await China retaliation; weaker growth expected

BEIJING (AP) — Companies waited Monday to see how China will retaliate for President Donald Trump’s latest tariff hike while forecasters warned the escalating fight over technology and trade might disrupt a Chinese economic recovery.

Regulators have threatened “necessary countermeasures” for Trump’s tariff hikes Friday on $200 billion of Chinese imports in a fight over technology and other trade strains. But three days later, in a break with previous tit-for-tat penalties imposed immediately for U.S. hikes, Beijing had yet to announce what it might do.

Beijing matched Trump’s earliest tariff hikes last July but is running out of goods for penalties due to the lopsided China-U.S. trade balance. Chinese regulators also have started targeting American companies in China by slowing down customs clearance for shipments and issuance of business licenses.

Officials appeared to be studying the potential impact on China’s economy before picking their next steps, said Jake Parker, vice president of the U.S.-China Business Council, an industry group. He said officials might be worried companies may shift operations out of China in response to “aggressive retaliatory actions.”


White House expects retaliation from China over tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president’s chief economic adviser says he expects China to retaliate over increased tariffs, after talks in Washington ended without a deal on trade.

Larry Kudlow also tells “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump’s plan to raise US tariffs to 25 percent across the board could take months to take effect.

The United States began raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25% on Friday after American officials accused Beijing of backtracking on commitments made in earlier rounds of negotiations.

The two countries are sparring over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and pressures American companies into handing over trade secrets, part of an aggressive campaign to turn Chinese companies into world leaders in robotics, electric cars and other advanced industries.


San Francisco may ban police, city use of facial recognition

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco is on track to become the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition by police and other city agencies, reflecting a growing backlash against a technology that’s creeping into airports, motor vehicle departments, stores, stadiums and home security cameras.

Government agencies around the U.S. have used the technology for more than a decade to scan databases for suspects and prevent identity fraud. But recent advances in artificial intelligence have created more sophisticated computer vision tools, making it easier for police to pinpoint a missing child or protester in a moving crowd or for retailers to analyze a shopper’s facial expressions as they peruse store shelves.

Efforts to restrict its use are getting pushback from law enforcement groups and the tech industry, though it’s far from a united front. Microsoft, while opposed to an outright ban, has urged lawmakers to set limits on the technology, warning that leaving it unchecked could enable an oppressive dystopia reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel “1984.”

Skeptics say that without regulations barring law enforcement from accessing driver’s license databases, people who have never been arrested could be part of virtual police line-ups without their knowledge.

They worry people will one day not be able to go to a park, store or school without being identified and tracked.


Pakistan secures preliminary deal for $6B IMF bailout

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The International Monetary Fund says it has reached a preliminary agreement with Pakistan for a $6 billion bailout over the next three years to finance sweeping economic reforms.

IMF envoy Ernesto Ramirez Rigo said in a statement Sunday that the two sides have reached a “staff level agreement” subject to approval by the IMF management and the executive board.

Pakistan had initially sought an $8 billion bailout to address a long-running fiscal crisis and has held months of talks with the international lender.

The U.S., which exerts major influence over the IMF, has said it should not finance the tens of billions of dollars in loans that Pakistan has taken from China as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.


‘Pikachu’ tries to dethrone the ‘Avengers,’ but just misses

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Despite hefty competition from newcomers like “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” “Avengers: Endgame” has held onto the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office for the third weekend in a row.

The Walt Disney Co. says Sunday that the superhero pic earned an estimated $63.1 million from North American theaters, bringing its domestic total to $723.5 million.

“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” opened in second place with a promising $58 million.


States bring price fixing suit against generic drugmakers

BOSTON (AP) — Attorneys general from more than 40 states are alleging the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers conspired to artificially inflate and manipulate prices for more than 100 different generic drugs, including treatments for diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other medical conditions.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court Friday, also names 15 individual senior executives responsible for sales, marketing and pricing.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said investigators obtained emails, text messages and telephone records to prove a multi-year conspiracy against 20 firms.

A spokesman for Teva Pharmaceuticals, one of the companies named in the suit, said Teva hasn’t engaged in any conduct that would lead to civil or criminal liability.

Investigators said the drugs account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States.


Washington to offer first ‘public option’ insurance in US

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington is set to become the first state to enter the private health insurance market with a universally available public option.

A set of tiered public plans will cover standard services, and are anticipated to be up to 10% cheaper than comparable private insurance, thanks in part to savings from a cap on rates paid to providers. Unlike existing government-managed plans, the Washington plans are set to be available to all residents regardless of income by 2021.

The Legislature approved the measure creating the plans last month, and Gov. Jay Inslee is scheduled to sign it into law Monday.

The move also thrusts the state into the national debate over the role of government in health care, with a hybrid model that puts it to the left of market-only approaches, but stops short of a completely public system.


Uber, Lyft losses keep competitors at bay

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A fare war between Uber and Lyft has led to billions of dollars in losses for both ride-hailing companies as they fight for passengers and drivers.

But in one way it has been good for investors who snatched up the newly public companies’ stock: The losses have scared off the competition, giving the leaders a duopoly in almost every American city.

The two San Francisco companies have already lost a combined $13 billion. And with no clear road to profits ahead, no one else has much of an incentive to mount a challenge using the same model that relies on human drivers.

That allows Uber and Lyft to continue offering low fares to grow, which will be good news for riders. But it figures to test the patience of investors.


As Preakness approaches, strike at Pimlico possibly averted

BALTIMORE (AP) _ A strike by workers at Pimlico Race Course may have been averted just before the running of this year’s Preakness Stakes.

The Baltimore Sun reports the Maryland Jockey Club and its employees at Pimlico Race Course and other tracks agreed “in principle” to a new employment contract on Friday. The Preakness takes place May 18.

The tentative agreement was confirmed by Joel Smith, an attorney for the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 27. Officials declined to provide details about any pay raises in the three-year proposed contract.

The contract of the 149 union members who work at Pimlico and Laurel Park, and at the jockey club’s operations in Timonium and Bowie, expired Dec. 31, 2017.


Potential sale of shuttered GM plant clouded with doubt

UNDATED (AP) _ A potential deal to sell a shuttered General Motors plant in Ohio is still leaving the factory’s future very much up in the air.

One reason is that the buyer looking at the site is a new electric vehicle maker that has only about 100 employees and serious financial concerns.

GM confirmed this past week that it’s negotiating the sale of its massive assembly plant in Lordstown. Production there ended in March as part of a major restructuring for GM.

A tweet from President Donald Trump that touted the potential sale set off cautious optimism and some skepticism about whether it will happen.

Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, whose district includes the plant, says a sale won’t help GM workers in the area and that any long-term job growth would be years away.