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Update on the latest in business:

May 17, 2019

^FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mixed as Huawei sanctions stir trade fears

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed on Friday amid worries that U.S. economic sanctions on Huawei may cast a pall on trade negotiations with China.

An executive order by the Trump administration, aimed at banning Huawei equipment from U.S. networks, took effect on Thursday. The order also subjects the Chinese telecommunications giant to strict export controls. China has threatened to retaliate. It remains to be seen how the move will affect trade negotiations.

Some investors took cues from Wall Street, which closed higher for the third straight day, led by strong performances from technology companies and banks.

The broad S&P 500 index climbed 0.9% to 2,876.32 on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8% to 25,862.68 and the Nasdaq composite rebounded 1% to 7,898.05. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks was 0.6% higher at 1,557.24.

Benchmark U.S. crude slipped but remains just under $63 a barrel.

The dollar retreated against the yen and the euro.

^JAPAN-US-TRADE

Japan’s trade negotiator: US won’t impose quotas on autos

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s trade negotiator said Friday Washington won’t be demanding any numerical restrictions on Japanese auto exports to the U.S.

Toshimitsu Motegi, the economy minister, told reporters he had confirmed this by speaking with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The comments could not immediately be confirmed after office hours in the U.S. Earlier, media reports said this was a possibility.

Autos are a big issue in trade talks between the two countries that began after President Donald Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc. Japan is part of the TPP and has a trade deal with the European Union.

The trade surplus with the U.S. has long been a sticking point in bilateral relations. Trump is set to visit Japan later this month.

The administration sees the threat of the auto tariffs and other restrictions as a way to gain leverage over trading partners such as the European Union and Japan in ongoing trade talks.

A decision on whether the White House will impose tariffs on autos from Europe is due by Saturday. CNBC, quoting unnamed sources, earlier reported that the administration was close to announcing a postponement of the auto tariffs for up to six months.

^AUTO INSURANCE-MICHIGAN

Michigan governor open to drivers forgoing unlimited benefit

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that she was open to letting drivers forgo mandatory, unlimited medical benefits covered by their auto insurance premiums, but only if they were still required to buy some level of coverage.

The Democrat’s position, which she announced after touring a rehabilitation facility for motorists and others with brain injuries, was seen as a potentially significant development as the Republican-led Legislature considers bills that would cut the country’s highest car insurance rates. GOP leaders reported “productive” conversations with the Whitmer administration and decided not to send her legislation she had threatened to veto.

Michigan is the only state to require unlimited personal injury protection, or PIP, benefits — which on average make up half of auto premiums. Under differing measures that won quick approval in the state House and Senate last week, motorists could choose zero PIP coverage or higher levels as long as they have regular health insurance.

The average premium in Michigan — $2,693, according to the most recent report from The Zebra, an insurance comparison website — is 83% higher than the national average of $1,470. Detroit’s premium on average is $5,464, far surpassing any other U.S. city.

^EXPORT CONTROLS-HUAWEI

Economic sanctions on Huawei could backfire on US firms

UNDATED (AP) _ The Trump administration’s decision to restrict all U.S. technology sales to Chinese telecommunications powerhouse Huawei for national security reasons doesn’t just up the ante in the China trade war.

It’s also bound to hurt U.S. suppliers and accelerate Beijing’s drive toward greater technological independence.

The White House issued an executive order Wednesday apparently aimed at banning Huawei’s equipment from U.S. telecom networks and information infrastructure. It then announced a more potent and immediate sanction that subjects the Chinese company to strict export controls.

The order took effect Thursday and requires U.S. government approval for all purchases of U.S. microchips, software and other components globally by Huawei and 68 affiliated businesses. Huawei says that amounted to $11 billion in goods last year.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the sanctions are “not really a part of the trade negotiation” but added that they could be reversed should Huawei no longer be deemed “a significant danger” to U.S. national security.

The U.S. government has long insisted that equipment from suppliers including Huawei poses an espionage threat because it is legally beholden to China’s ruling party. But U.S. officials have presented no evidence of any Huawei equipment serving as intentional conduits for espionage by Beijing.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

Business and economic reports scheduled for today:

UNDATED (AP) _ There are no major business events or economic reports scheduled for today.

BOEING-PLANE

Boeing finishes software update for grounded airliner

UNDATED (AP) _Boeing says it has finished with its updates to the flight-control software implicated in two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max, moving a step closer to getting the plane back in the sky.

Aviation regulators still have more questions about how pilots interact with the plane’s controls under different circumstances, and Boeing says it is providing that information.

The next major step is a certification flight with Federal Aviation Administration representatives on board. Boeing said Thursday that flight has not yet been scheduled.

In crashes in Indonesia in October and Ethiopia in March, an automated system called MCAS mistakenly turned the noses of the planes down in response to faulty readings from a single sensor. Pilots were unable to recover; 346 people died.

IVANKA TRUMP-INDIANA

Salesforce pledges skill training as part of Trump program

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Business software company Salesforce says it aims to provide skills training to 500,000 people as part of a Trump administration push to boost career opportunities among Americans.

Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff made the pledge Thursday during an event at its downtown Indianapolis offices with President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump.

The San Francisco-based company says its free online platform Trailhead will offer training over the next five years in tech skills needed for credentials for Salesforce administrator, developer and marketing manager positions.

Benioff says Salesforce wants people from every background to have the skills needed to thrive in the digital economy.

Ivanka Trump says a goal of the “Pledge to America’s Workers” program is that everyone has equal access to career training and opportunities.

LAS VEGAS SHOOTING-LAWSUITS

MGM Resorts reports $800M ‘possible’ Vegas settlement figure

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Casino giant MGM Resorts is telling federal regulators it thinks it might pay up to $800 million to settle liability lawsuits stemming from the October 2017 mass shooting that became the deadliest in modern U.S. history.

The company also tells the Securities and Exchange Commission it is insured for $751 million of that amount.

However, a Las Vegas plaintiffs’ lawyer heading out-of-court talks with the company is calling it premature for MGM Resorts to report that it’s “reasonably possible” a settlement will be reached by May 2020.

Attorney Robert Eglet says nothing is signed. He calls the company figure “not probable.”

Eglet represents about 4,200 claimants who say they were harmed when a shooter rained gunfire from a Mandalay Bay resort suite into an open-air concert, killing 58 people and injuring more than 800.

OBIT-IM PEI

I.M. Pei, architect who designed Louvre Pyramid, dies at 102

NEW YORK (AP) — I.M. Pei (PAY), the globe-trotting architect who revived the Louvre museum in Paris with a giant glass pyramid and captured the spirit of rebellion at the multi-shaped Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the U.S., has died at age 102.

His death was confirmed Thursday by a spokesman at his New York architecture firm.

Pei’s works ranged from the trapezoidal addition to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to the chiseled towers of the National Center of Atmospheric Research that blend in with the reddish mountains in Boulder, Colorado.

His buildings added elegance to landscapes worldwide with their powerful geometric shapes and grand spaces.

Among them are the striking steel and glass Bank of China skyscraper in Hong Kong and John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston.