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Update on the latest in business:

July 10, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Higher Asian markets mirror optimism on Wall Street

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were mostly higher today as overnight gains on Wall Street and the lack of bad news surrounding U.S.-China tariffs boosted sentiment.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei added 0.7 percent and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.1 percent. The Shanghai Composite index was less than 0.1 percent higher. Shares rose in Taiwan and were mostly higher in Southeast Asia.

Monday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index rose 0.9 percent to 2,784.17. It’s the third straight day that the index has climbed at least 0.8 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 1.3 percent to 24,776.59. And the Nasdaq composite added 0.9 percent to 7,756.20.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

Major business and economic events scheduled for Tuesday:

WASHINGTON — Labor Department releases job openings and labor turnover survey for May this morning.

PANAMA-CHINA

Panama, China open talks on free trade agreement

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Officials from Panama and China are meeting in the opening round of talks to reach a free trade agreement, one year after the two countries established diplomatic relations.

The talks started Monday in Panama City and are expected to last through Friday.

Panama’s commerce minister says his country hopes to become the point of entry for Chinese investments and products for the region.

Augusto Arosemena says that would be a fundamental part of the talks. China is the second largest user of the Panama Canal after the United States.

Panama dropped relations with Taiwan and established relations with China in June of last year.

JAPAN-SOFTBANK

SoftBank raises stake in Yahoo Japan in purchase from Altaba

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese internet company SoftBank Corp. is investing about $2 billion to raise its stake in Yahoo Japan through an acquisition from U.S. investment company Altaba Inc.

SoftBank has been boosting its collaboration with Yahoo Japan, a search-engine company, to strengthen its e-commerce, smartphone services and other businesses.

The deal, announced today in a statement from Softbank will raise its stake in Yahoo Japan to 48 percent from about 43 percent. The three-way transaction between Altaba, SoftBank and Yahoo Japan will cut Altaba’s stake to 27 percent.

SoftBank, a leading Japanese telecommunications company, has financial-technology, ride-booking services, solar energy and the Pepper human-shaped companion robot among its widespread businesses.

It also owns British semiconductor company ARM, an innovator in the “internet of things,” and a Japanese baseball team, the Softbank Hawks.

TWITTER-ACCOUNT PURGE

Twitter’s fake account purge drags stock lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter shares tumbled Monday after a news report quantified its purge of fake and malicious accounts, noting that the aggressive action could harm its user growth.

Twitter has been open but vague about its crackdown, an effort aimed at preventing the spread of fake news and making its service more welcoming for real people.

The Washington Post put numbers on the effort Friday, reporting that Twitter suspended 70 million accounts in May and June. Twitter shares fell more than 9 percent amid fears that the removals could dent the company’s reported user figures.

The stock shaved that loss after Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal tweeted that most of the removed accounts are inactive and thus don’t count against Twitter’s monthly user numbers. Twitter reported 336 million users in April.

YOUTUBE-NEWS

YouTube aims to crack down on fake news, support journalism

NEW YORK (AP) — Google’s YouTube says it is taking several steps to ensure the veracity of news on its service by cracking down on misinformation and supporting news organizations.

The company says it will make “authoritative” news sources more prominent, especially in the wake of breaking news events when false information can spread quickly.

At such times, YouTube will show users a short text preview of a news article in search results. This is aimed at countering the quick and often fake videos that can proliferate immediately after shootings, natural disasters and other major happenings.

Company executives announced the effort at YouTube’s New York offices.

ROUNDUP WEED KILLER-LAWSUITS

First trial over Roundup weed killer cancer claim underway

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Lawyers for a school groundskeeper dying of cancer have asked a San Francisco jury to find that agribusiness giant Monsanto’s widely used weed killer Roundup likely caused his disease.

Dewayne Johnson’s lawsuit is the first case to go to trial among hundreds of lawsuits alleging Roundup caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Brent Wisner, an attorney for Johnson, told jurors during his opening statement on Monday that his client sprayed large quantities of Roundup for two years at his job at a San Francisco Bay Area school district. Wisner said Johnson read the label carefully and even contacted the company after developing a rash, but was never warned it could cause cancer.

George Lombardi, an attorney for Monsanto, said there is overwhelming evidence that Roundup and similar products do not cause cancer.

UBER-LIME SCOOTERS

Uber poised to make investment in scooter-rental business

UNDATED (AP) — The ride-hailing company tweeted a link Monday to a story about an Uber investment in Lime, a startup based in San Mateo, California.

Bloomberg News reports the companies will announce that Uber is investing in Lime in a deal that values the scooter outfit at $1.1 billion. The report says Uber will put its names on the bikes.

Customers can rent Lime scooters in many urban locations and leave them parked for the next customer to ride. The company is looking to buy tens of thousands of lightweight scooters to expand its reach.

For Uber, the move follows its purchase earlier this year of Jump Bikes, which rents electric bicycles in a half-dozen cities including San Francisco, Chicago and Washington.

NORDSTROM-SMALL STORES

Nordstrom to add 2 more stores in LA with no inventory

NEW YORK (AP) — Nordstrom is expanding its small-store model that doesn’t offer shoppers clothes to buy and take home.

The upscale department store chain will open two more such Nordstrom Local stores in Los Angeles this fall, one in Brentwood and the other downtown. Nordstrom’s first no-inventory store opened last fall in West Hollywood.

The 3,000-square-foot store carries some merchandise for shoppers to try on, but there aren’t any clothes there for sale. Shoppers can meet with a stylist and order merchandise online to be delivered to the store on the same day. The stores also focus on services like onsite tailoring. A typical Nordstrom store averages about 140,000 square feet.

Seattle-based Nordstrom and other department stores are wrestling with how to respond to shoppers’ shift online.

IHOP-NAME

Shocking! IHOP acknowledges it faked IHOb name change

NEW YORK (AP) — IHOP has come clean.

The pancake chain has acknowledged that a name change announced last month was just a publicity stunt to promote its hamburger menu.

The company best known for its breakfasts already had burgers on the menu but had started using the IHOb name on social media, its website and for in-store promotions to draw attention to a new line of burgers made of Black Angus ground beef.

On Monday, it was back on social media, this time to promote a pancake deal tied to IHOP’s 60th birthday.

On Twitter, the company said, “That’s right, IHOP! We’d never turn our back on pancakes (except for that time we faked it to promote our new burgers).”

SHARING ECONOMY-CAMPING

Rent a tent: Startup matches landowners with campers

BERLIN, N.Y. (AP) — A land-sharing startup called Tentrr matches landowners looking for extra cash with vacationers yearning for solitude under the stars.

The Manhattan-based company’s CEO, Michael D’Agostino, says it’s like Airbnb for the great outdoors.

The company is backed by $15 million in venture capital and has established 500 sites in the Northeast from Pennsylvania to Maine since it began in 2015 in the Catskills. It plans to launch campsites in southern California soon.

Landowners pay Tentrr $1,500 to set up safari tents and other camping gear and list their sites online. Tentrr gets 20 percent of booking fees, which are generally $100 and up.

The tents are made in Colorado and the deck platforms, picnic tables and other equipment are made at Tentrr’s factory in Oneonta, New York.

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