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Update on the latest in business:

January 7, 2019


Japan rebounds, Asia jumps on US data as trade talks begin

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were broadly higher on Monday after strong U.S. jobs data lifted indexes on Wall Street. All eyes are on trade talks in Beijing, where American and Chinese officials are trying to resolve a trade dispute that threatens to worsen an economic slowdown and put a drag on the global economy

U.S. indexes soared on Friday after the Labor Department announced that employers added a better-than-expected 312,000 jobs in December. While the unemployment rate rose slightly, it was taken as a good sign that more people were looking for jobs. Gains were also supported by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell saying that the central bank will be flexible in deciding if and when it raises interest rates. The broad S&P 500 index advanced 3.4 percent to 2,531.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.3 percent to 23,433.16 and the Nasdaq composite was up 4.3 percent at 6,738.86. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks surged 3.8 percent to 1,380.75. Around 90 percent of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange closed higher.

A U.S. delegation, led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish, will sit down for two days of talks with Chinese officials starting Monday. The Commerce Ministry did not give further details on who will be leading Chinese negotiators or on the meeting’s agenda. No agreement is expected, but any progress in a trade dispute that caused both sides to impose billions of dollars of tariffs on each other’s goods will be welcomed. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that negotiations were going “very well” and investors will be keen to see what comes next. Last month, Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on further tariffs for 90 days, to resolve a range of issues stemming from Beijing’s technology policy.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $48.50 per barrel.

The dollar weakened against the yen and the euro.


Jittery Wall Street has a lot ahead to be nervous about

NEW YORK (AP) — One recent characteristic of the stock market is that every day can feel like bedlam.

Investors have been careening from fear to relief and back again depending on the latest news. More tests of the market’s mettle lie ahead, with U.S.-China trade talks, the fourth-quarter earnings period and another Federal Reserve meeting on the horizon.

With each mood shift, stock prices have swung wildly. Unusually big moves — both up and down — have come at a frequency not seen in years.

On Friday, the S&P 500 index soared 3.4 percent following a stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report, news of trade talks between the United States and China and comments from the Fed seen as helpful for stocks.

It was a sharp reversal from just the day before when investors saw the glass decidedly half empty. On Thursday, the S&P 500 plunged 2.5 percent after a disappointing U.S. manufacturing report raised fears about a possible recession and Apple warned about weak iPhone sales in China. That two-day whiplash followed 2018, a year when the S&P 500 had 20 days where it swung by at least 2 percent, twice as many as any of the prior six years.

The market has gotten so topsy-turvy that when Friday’s jobs report first came out, about an hour before the New York Stock Exchange opened, some investors wondered if it would cause relief or panic. The numbers were strong, but were they so strong as to push the Fed to raise rates faster, which would be bad for stocks?


Democrats plan more pressure on Trump to reopen government

WASHINGTON (AP) — With no weekend breakthrough to end a prolonged partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump is standing firm in his border wall funding demands and newly empowered House Democrats are planning to step up pressure on Trump and Republican lawmakers to reopen the government.

Trump showed no signs of budging on his demand more than $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, though on Sunday he did offer to build it with steel rather than concrete, a concession Democrats panned.

With the shutdown lurching into a third week, many Republicans watched nervously from the sidelines as hundreds of thousands of federal workers went without pay and government disruptions hit the lives of ordinary Americans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intends to begin passing individual bills to reopen agencies in the coming days, starting with the Treasury Department to ensure people receive their tax refunds. That effort is designed to squeeze Senate Republicans, some of whom are growing increasingly anxious about the extended shutdown.

Among the Republicans expressing concerns was Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should take up bills from the Democratic-led House.


China’s Huawei unveils chip for global big data market

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei has unveiled a processor chip for data centers and cloud computing in a bid to expand into an emerging global market despite Western warnings the company might be a security risk.

Monday’s announcement comes as Chinese vendors that rely on Western technology step up efforts to develop their own.

Huawei Technologies Ltd., the biggest global maker of network gear and the No. 2 smartphone brand, said its Kunpeng 920 chip is designed to process a growing flood of data from smartphones, entertainment and other services.

The U.S., Australia and some other governments have labeled Huawei and other Chinese suppliers a security risk and imposed curbs on use of their technology. Huawei has denied accusations it is controlled by China’s ruling Communist Party or facilitates spying.


Mexicans scramble for gasoline as stations run dry

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexicans are scrambling for gasoline amid long lines at gas stations and widespread shortages prompted by a change in distribution methods aimed at stemming fuel theft.

State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said the use of more secure transportation methods has resulted in delays for fuel delivery to gas stations in the states of Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Mexico and Queretaro. It is urging consumers not to panic or hoard gasoline, promising that supply will soon stabilize.

Frantic consumers have made a run on the pumps and social media has been filled with images of gas station signs saying they are out of fuel, and consumers comparing the thin supplies to scarcity for basic goods like bread and milk that plagued Mexico during the 1970s.

The shortage has given ammunition to government critics, who say many of the new administration’s policies and goals are throwbacks to past decades.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, said Sunday that complicity within Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, has allowed the fuel theft to blossom for years, growing from $500,000 a year more than a decade ago to roughly $3 billion in stolen fuel last year.


Business and economic reports scheduled for the coming week:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Institute for Supply Management releases its December service sector index this morning.


Trump expresses optimism in trade talks with China

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is expressing optimism about trade negotiations with China as U.S. officials are expected in Beijing for talks aimed at easing a trade battle.

Trump said Sunday he spoke recently to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump says: “I really believe they want to make a deal. The tariffs have absolutely hurt China very badly.”

After several tit-for-tat tariff increases, the leaders agreed Dec. 1 to postpone further hikes. American officials are due in Beijing Monday.

Both governments face pressure to reach a settlement.

Chinese economic growth fell to 6.5 percent in the quarter ending in September. Third-quarter U.S. growth was 3.4 percent and unemployment is at a five-decade low. But surveys show consumer confidence is weakening due to concerns about growth.


China upbeat ahead of US trade talks, but differences large

BEIJING (AP) — China has sounded a positive note ahead of trade talks with Washington, but economists warn they face lengthy wrangling over technology and the future of their economic relationship.

Both sides have expressed interest in settling their tariff battle over Beijing’s technology ambitions. Yet neither has indicated its stance has changed despite a Dec. 1 agreement by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to postpone further increases.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said American and Chinese envoys will have “positive and constructive discussions” during meetings Monday and Tuesday.

Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Beijing responded with penalties on $110 billion of American goods.


CES 2019: Chinese tech firms lay lower amid trade tensions

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The annual CES gadget show has become a demonstration of China’s rapidly growing technology might.

But some Chinese firms have stepped back from the spotlight as the 2019 show kicked off Sunday in Las Vegas.

The world’s biggest tech conference is opening amid a 90-day cease fire in the U.S.-China trade war launched by President Donald Trump. Chinese firms account for more than a quarter of the conference’s 4,500 exhibitors, but the number of small entrepreneurs buying up booth space has declined. Some big names are still attending but taking a more subdued approach.

Last year, a top executive for Chinese telecom Huawei delivered a keynote talk. This year, Canada arrested another Huawei executive at U.S. behest; she now awaits extradition to the U.S., adding to the rising tensions.


CES 2019: Tech show isn’t immune from government shutdown

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The CES 2019 gadget show is revving up in Las Vegas, but even technology’s biggest trade event isn’t immune to the effects of the partial government shutdown.

Organizers said Saturday that several scheduled government speakers have canceled their travel plans. These include Ajit Pai, head of the Federal Communications Commission, and at least nine other federal officials.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is still planning to deliver a keynote talk Wednesday on federal initiatives to advance drone technology and self-driving vehicles.

The technology extravaganza opens to attendees on Tuesday. Many large tech companies no longer exhibit at CES, but find other ways to make their presence known. Apple, for instance, has splayed a huge sign across a high-rise hotel overlooking the conference center.


Netflix and chill no more - streaming is getting complicated

UNDATED (AP) — Streaming TV may never again be as simple, or as affordable, as it is now.

Big media companies such as Disney and WarnerMedia are creating their own streaming services in an effort to shoulder aside more inclusive video services such as Netflix. They’re expected to launch later in 2019.

That doesn’t just mean additional competition. The new options will also “lock up” many popular shows and movies that are now more widely available on services like Netflix and Amazon.

As a result, consumers are going to face a bewildering array of new choices - and new expenses. Paying for multiple streaming services could rival the cost of the average cable bill — not counting the expense of internet service.


CBS News president steps down, replaced by veteran producer

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS News says David Rhodes has stepped down as president of its troubled news division, and he’ll be replaced by veteran “48 Hours” producer Susan Zirinsky.

Acting CBS chief Joseph Ianniello says Rhodes had decided to move on after eight years with the news division.

CBS has seen its morning news anchor, Charlie Rose, and “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager both lose their jobs following misconduct issues in the past years.

The network’s morning show has struggled in the ratings since Rose’s departure, and the evening news has also struggled with anchor Jeff Glor.


Disneyland raising prices ahead of summer expansion opening

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prices for daily tickets, parking and annual passes have been raised up to 25 percent at Disneyland Resort ahead of the scheduled opening of a Star Wars-themed expansion.

Less than a year ago, the resort increased prices by up to 18 percent. Now, the cheapest daily ticket will cost more than $100.

The Los Angeles Times reports price increases in recent years have not thinned the throngs at Disneyland and nearby California Adventure Park.

More visitors are expected for this summer’s opening of the expansion called “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.”

Spokeswoman Liz Jaeger says the resort offers a variety of tickets while helping manage demand and spread visitation.

Disney representatives said more days would be blocked out for most annual passes compared to last year but didn’t provide more specifics.

Update hourly