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Update on the latest in business:

April 5, 2019

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asia shares mixed, Japan gains after wobbles on Wall Street

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed in Asia today, with Chinese markets closed for a holiday.

Overnight, Wall Street had another wobbly day of trading. Modest gains nudged the market’s winning streak to a sixth straight day.

Markets have been wobbly throughout the week as investors wait for the U.S. government’s jobs report today and prepare for a new round of corporate earnings reports next week.

New government data on Thursday showing applications for unemployment aid fell last week to a 49-year low likely means Friday’s jobs report will show a strong rebound in hiring after a weak February, said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 index rose 0.2%, to 2,879.39. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% to 26,384.63.

The Nasdaq fell 0.1%, to 7,891.78, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 0.4%, to 1,567.49.

ECONOMY-JOBS REPORT

Confidence gauge suggests US hiring could slow later in year

WASHINGTON (AP) — A random survey of 2,000 Americans has produced a surprisingly strong track record of forecasting the health of the job market over time.

At the moment, it points to a solid job gain for March in the monthly employment report the government will issue today. But it suggests that hiring could slow later this year.

The survey, a gauge of consumer confidence produced by the research group the Conference Board, goes beyond asking respondents about the state of the economy. It also asks whether they think jobs are “plentiful” or “hard to get.”

The collective responses to those questions can foreshadow how job growth and the unemployment rate will move over time. When more people say jobs are plentiful and fewer say they’re hard to get, hiring typically rises.

FEDERAL RESERVE-CAIN

Reports: Trump considering picking Herman Cain for Fed board

WASHINGTON (AP) — News reports say President Donald Trump is considering nominating Herman Cain, a political ally and former presidential candidate, for a seat on the Federal Reserve board.

The White House declined to comment, but Axios and The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Cain is being considered. The president has already said he plans to nominate another conservative ally, Stephen Moore, for a separate vacancy on the board. Moore’s nomination has encountered criticism that he is unqualified and too politically focused for a Fed board seat.

Cain, a former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination but dropped out after allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity.

TRUMP-SMALL BUSINESS

Trump taps Carranza as Small Business Administration chief

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has announced that U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza is his pick to replace Linda McMahon as Small Business Administration chief.

Trump tweeted Thursday night that McMahon has “done an outstanding job” and that he looks forward to Carranza joining his Cabinet.

Before serving as U.S. treasurer, Carranza was a deputy administrator of the SBA during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Trump announced last week that McMahon, a former executive at World Wrestling Entertainment, would be stepping down to help his re-election effort. The SBA is best known for the small-business loans it makes and the disaster aid it provides to companies and entrepreneurs. It’s also tasked with monitoring government officials’ compliances with contract laws.

Carranza’s nomination must be approved by the Senate.

HUAWEI-COLLEGES

US colleges halt work with Huawei following federal charges

BOSTON (AP) — Colleges in the U.S. are cutting ties with Chinese tech giant Huawei (WAH’-way) as the company faces allegations of bank fraud and trade secret theft.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology told its faculty Wednesday it will not accept new deals with the company or renew existing ones in light of recent federal investigations.

It follows similar decisions at Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, which say they have suspended work with the company.

The U.S. Justice Department in January accused Huawei of violating U.S. trade sanctions with Iran and separately of stealing technology from T-Mobile. Huawei pleaded not guilty in both cases.

CHINA-CHEMICAL BLAST

Chinese authorities shut down site of deadly chemical blast

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities are shutting down an eastern China industrial park after 78 people were killed last month by a chemical explosion.

The city government says that local departments have met to discuss how to eliminate chemical plants with low safety standards and severe pollution issues.

Authorities say the Xiangshui (shee-AHNG’-shoo-ee) Chemical Industrial Park, the site of last month’s deadly blast, will be completely shut down.

In 2017, an explosion that killed 10 at a nearby plant prompted the State Administration of Work Safety to dispatch inspectors. They discovered more than 200 safety hazards at Yancheng chemical factories, including 13 at the plant where the most recent explosion occurred.

State broadcaster CCTV reported that the blast ultimately claimed 78 lives and left dozens with severe injuries.

CHEMICAL PLANT FIRE-LAWSUIT

Worker at Texas chemical plant damaged by fire files lawsuit

HOUSTON (AP) — A worker injured in a fire this week at a Houston-area chemical plant is suing the company that owns the plant and is seeking more than $1 million in damages.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday is believed to be the first submitted on behalf of a worker injured in Tuesday’s fire at the KMCO chemical plant in Crosby, located near Houston. Randy Villaloboz says in the suit he suffered severe injuries and mental anguish, and claims KMCO failed to properly train employees or maintain a safe work environment.

One worker was killed in the fire. KMCO said Thursday that two others are hospitalized in critical condition.

TRIBES-OIL DRILLING

US backs off appeal of Montana energy lease cancellation

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration has scaled back its fight against oil and gas leases on land considered sacred to Native American tribes in Montana and Canada.

The leases are in the nearly 10-square-mile Badger-Two Medicine area bordering Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Reservation.

The Obama administration had canceled the leases following longstanding opposition from the Blackfoot tribes, but a judge overturned the cancellations in September.