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Update on the latest in business:

June 6, 2018


Asian stocks gain after Wall Street rise ahead of G7 meeting

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher today ahead of a meeting of major industrialized economies overshadowed by tension over U.S. steel tariffs.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent today, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index edged down 3 points. South Korean markets were closed for a holiday. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia also rose.

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks mostly rose, helped by gains for technology companies and retailers as up-and-down trading related to trade tensions gave way to smaller moves. The S&P 500 index added 0.2 percent to 2,749, while the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.1 percent to 24,800. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.4 percent. Smaller retailers did especially well following strong first-quarter results. Amazon and Macy’s also rose.


Major business and economic events scheduled for Wednesday:

WASHINGTON (AP) — In today’s economic reports, the Commerce Department will release international trade data for April.

The Labor Department releases first-quarter productivity data.


Trustees report warns Medicare finances worsening

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected and Social Security’s financial problems can’t be ignored either. That’s what the government says in a sobering checkup on programs vital to the middle class.

The report from program trustees says Medicare will become insolvent in 2026 — three years earlier than previously forecast. Its giant trust fund for inpatient care won’t be able to fully cover projected medical bills starting at that point.

The report says Social Security will become insolvent in 2034 — no change from the projection last year.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that there’s time to fix the problems, but that certain long-term issues persist.”


GOP senators push for bill to rein in Trump on tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Key Senate Republicans are pushing longshot legislation that would require Congress to sign off on President Donald Trump’s import tariffs, a rare attempt to stand up to Trump on a bedrock issue that once defined the GOP.

Congressional Republicans are mostly at odds with what they view as Trump’s protectionist instincts on trade. Still, prospects for any bill to challenge the president remain uncertain.

Many Republicans are hesitant to confront Trump in a legislative showdown that could end badly for them. Doing so could court a veto and bruise their standing with Trump voters they need in midterm elections.

Trump took office promising to cancel trade deals and crack down on unfair trading practices. But that stance is at odds with Republicans’ longstanding preference for free markets and open trade.


China institutes on US campus: Fount of learning or threat?

WASHINGTON (AP) — As tensions between the U.S. and China rise over trade and security, perceptions vary wildly about educational exchanges that have thrived since diplomatic relations were normalized four decades ago.

Increasingly, U.S. authorities are concerned that Chinese professors and students could exploit access to universities to gather intelligence and sensitive research — an issue a Senate judiciary panel will address today. And while the China-funded Confucius Institutes that have mushroomed worldwide since 2004 focus on benign subject matter, U.S. lawmakers are pushing for them to be more tightly regulated or even shuttered.

The debate over Confucius Institutes has become a testing ground for the American response to China’s growing global reach, and underscores anxieties over the more than 350,000 Chinese who study in the United States, more than one third of all foreign students.


Tesla shareholders reject bid to strip Musk of chairman role

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk has rebuffed a shareholder attempt to overhaul the electric car maker’s board and strip him of his role as chairman. This, despite worries about the company’s shaky finances and inability to meet its production goals for its first mass-market sedan.

All three directors seeking to remain on Tesla’s nine-member board were re-elected during the company’s annual meeting held Tuesday in Mountain View, California.

The company said a “supermajority” of shareholders rejected a proposal to force Musk to step down as Tesla’s chairman, a position he has held since 2004 — four years before he also assumed the CEO job.


Report: Facebook shared user data with flagged Chinese firm

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — The New York Times says Facebook has acknowledged it shared user data with several Chinese handset manufacturers. That includes Huawei, a company flagged by U.S. intelligence officials as a national security threat.

The report quotes Facebook as saying the handset makers were among 60 it had shared data with as early as 2007. Facebook told the newspaper it planned to wind down the Huawei deal this week.

The data included work history, relationship status and likes on device users and their friends.

The report didn’t say the data was misused. Facebook did not immediately reply to a request for comment.


World Bank: Global economy is healthy but growth will slow

WASHINGTON (AP) — The steadily expanding global economy should remain resilient — at least for a couple of years — according to the World Bank.

The anti-poverty agency predicts global growth will decelerate slightly from a solid 3.1 percent this year to 3 percent next year and 2.9 percent in 2020.

The world economy is generally healthy but must contend with rising interest rates in wealthier countries and weaker demand for commodities in developing nations. It also faces risks from trade disputes, financial volatility and geopolitical tensions.

The World Bank predicts that U.S. growth will register 2.7 percent in 2018, aided by tax cuts, before slowing to 2.5 percent next year and 2 percent in 2020.


Handbag designer Kate Spade found dead in apparent suicide

NEW YORK (AP) — Kate Spade, a fashion designer known for her sleek handbags, was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment Tuesday in an apparent suicide. She was 55.

News of her death shocked the fashion world and led to an outpouring of tributes from her legions of fans.

The company Spade founded, Kate Spade New York, now has more than 140 retail shops and outlet stores across the U.S. and more than 175 shops internationally. It was sold last year to Coach for $2.4 billion. But Spade and her husband — who is the brother of comedian David Spade — started a new handbag company recently, called Frances Valentine.


Comedian Chris Farley’s family suing bike-maker Trek

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The family of late comedian and film star Chris Farley has filed a federal lawsuit against Trek Bicycle for naming its fat-tired bikes Farley. They say the Wisconsin-based bike company misappropriated Farley’s name and traded on his “fat guy” brand of comedy.

Chris Farley was born and raised in Madison, about 30 miles from Waterloo, where Trek is based. He died in 1997.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Tuesday that the lawsuit originated in California last year but a judge on Friday ordered that it be heard instead in federal court in Madison because that is closer to all of the parties involved.


WSJ replaces Gerard Baker with Matt Murray as editor

NEW YORK (AP) — News Corp. says it has named Matt Murray as editor-in-chief of its flagship newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, and the Dow Jones Newswires. He succeeds Gerard Baker, who is staying on as the Journal’s editor-at-large, a new position.

Murray most recently served as the Journal’s executive editor. The company said Tuesday that the Journal’s daily circulation grew by more than a third during Baker’s five-and-a-half year tenure. But The New York Times and others have reported that Baker faced newsroom unrest over what some saw as too-cozy coverage of President Donald Trump.

Baker will write a column in the paper’s weekend section and other articles and host a WSJ-branded news show on the Fox Business Network.

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