SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were broadly higher Monday on signs that the U.S. and China were closing in on a trade deal after months of negotiations.
On Saturday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that the U.S. and China were moving closer to an agreement on trade.
Speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings, Mnuchin said the U.S. and China had held phone discussions last week and he wasn’t sure if more face-to-face meetings would be needed. He did not give a timeframe for when negotiations might be wrapped up.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday that the discussions were “moving forward” and “new substantial progress” was made.
On Wall Street, strong gains by banks on Friday led the broad S&P 500 index to its third straight weekly gain. It finished 0.7% higher at 2,907.41.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded 1% to 26,412.30 and the Nasdaq composite advanced 0.5%, to 7,984.16. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was up 0.4% at 1,584.80.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $63.50 per barrel.
The dollar weakened against the yen and the euro.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Business and economic reports scheduled for release today
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department releases international money flows data for February this afternoon.
Also, Citigroup reports quarterly financial results before the market opens.
Global finance officials pledge to tackle economic slowdown
WASHINGTON (AP) — Global finance officials are pledging closer cooperation in efforts to lift the world economy out its current slowdown, but tensions persist on a number of fronts between the United States and other nations over trade and other issues.
Officials wrapped up the spring meetings of the 189-nation International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Saturday, expressing hope the slowdown that began last year will be followed by stronger growth in the second half of this year and into 2020.
The IMF’s steering committee said all members, in order to protect the current economic expansion, would “act promptly to shore up growth for the benefit of all.”
At a closing news conference, the committee chairman and head of the central bank of South Africa, said every country needs to be ready to address issues involving financial stability “with all available tools.”
China, Japan tout ‘recovered’ ties amid global uncertainty
BEIJING (AP) — Japan’s foreign minister says China and Japan have the opportunity to “take charge of the economic field” during a time of worldwide uncertainty.
Taro Kono met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Sunday to discuss youth exchanges and economic relations between the two countries.
Kono said China-Japan ties “completely recovered” in 2018 following turbulence in previous years due to an unresolved dispute over islands in the East China Sea.
Trade and investment have since rebounded, and companies from the two countries are considering joint projects in third countries such as Thailand.
Wang said China and Japan are “two major neighbors and major economies” that should contribute to peaceful and stable development amid a “complicated and profoundly changing” global economic situation.
In California, giant Stratolaunch jet flies for first time
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A giant six-engine aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan completed what company officials called a superb initial flight over California’s Mojave Desert, bringing to life a dream held by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen.
Stratolaunch Systems Corp. chief executive Jean Floyd said Saturday the aircraft made a “spectacular” landing that was on the mark. Stratolaunch, which was founded by Allen, is vying to be a contender in the market for air-launching small satellites. He died in October.
The behemoth, twin-fuselage Stratolaunch jet lifted off from Mojave Air and Space Port shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday and climbed into the desert sky 70 miles north of Los Angeles. The company said the jet flew 2 ½ hours, achieving a maximum speed of 189 mph and altitudes up to 17,000 feet.
American Airlines cancels Max flights through mid-August
NEW YORK (AP) — American Airlines is canceling 115 flights per day through mid-August because of ongoing problems with the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
The cancellations represent 1.5% of American’s total flights each day of the summer.
The U.S. grounded Boeing’s 737 Max plane in mid-March after two deadly plane crashes. Boeing aims to finish fixing the planes in late April, and changes would have to be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration and foreign regulators for approval.
American has 24 Max jets and had previously planned to cancel Max flights through early June. Airline officials say by extending cancellations through the summer they can plan more reliably for the peak travel season.
The airline says its reservations and sales teams will work with customers to manage their travel plans.
Mazda recalls nearly 190K cars due to failing wipers
DETROIT (AP) — Mazda is recalling nearly 190,000 Mazda 3 compact cars in the U.S. because the windshield wipers can fail.
The company says in documents posted Saturday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the recall covers cars from the 2016 through 2018 model years.
The Japanese automaker traced the problem to metal deposits that can cause a wiper relay to stick, knocking out the wipers and limiting driver visibility. The company says it has no reports of crashes or injuries due to the problem.
Dealers will replace the front wiper control module at no cost to owners starting June 3.
Group asks gov’t to probe Nissan automatic emergency braking
DETROIT (AP) — A U.S. auto safety group wants the government to investigate automatic emergency braking on some Nissan Rogue SUVs, alleging the safety feature makes the vehicles brake when there’s no emergency.
The nonprofit Center for Auto Safety filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seeking the probe. The group says about 675,000 Rogues from 2017 and 2018 should be recalled.
Nissan says it has told customers of a software update that improves performance of the automated braking system. But the center says the campaigns don’t acknowledge the seriousness of the problem and give owners little incentive to get the SUVs fixed.
The center says it found 87 complaints about unintended braking on Rogues in NHTSA’s database. The government says it will evaluate the petition.
Volkswagen unveils fully-electric SUV for China market
UNDATED (AP) — Volkswagen is planning to release a fully-electric SUV in China which could compete with Tesla’s Model X.
The German automaker said Sunday the ID. ROOMZZ will be unveiled at the upcoming Shanghai Auto Show and will be available in 2021.
Volkswagen says the zero-emission vehicle can go approximately 450 kilometers (280 miles) before the battery has to be recharged. The concept car includes a fully-automatic driving mode which allows seats to be rotated 25 degrees to create a lounge-like atmosphere.
The announcement comes one month after Volkswagen’s former CEO Martin Winterkorn was charged by U.S. regulators with defrauding investors during its massive diesel emissions scandal.
Volkswagen has said it will boost electric vehicle production to 22 million over the next decade. It made fewer than 50,000 battery-only vehicles last year.
FRUIT RECALL-SALMONELLA OUTBREAK
Cut melon linked to US salmonella outbreak recalled
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis-based company has issued a recall for melon products sold in 16 states after being linked to a salmonella outbreak.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday that the recall includes cut watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe produced by Caito Foods LLC. The fruit has been sold under various brands or labels at Kroger, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Target and Whole Foods.
The affected states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Health officials advise consumers to check packaging to determine if the melon was distributed by Caito Foods, and, if so, not to eat it. They advise stores to pull the products from shelves.
Authorities say 93 people have been sickened, 23 of whom were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Study finds diabetes drug may prevent, slow kidney disease
UNDATED (AP) — A new study shows that a drug used to help control blood sugar in people with diabetes also can prevent or slow kidney disease, which causes millions of deaths each year and requires hundreds of thousands of people to use dialysis to stay alive.
Doctors say it’s hard to overstate the importance of this study, and what it means for curbing this problem, which is growing because of the obesity epidemic.
The study tested the drug Invokana (in-vo-KAHN-ah) in people with Type 2 diabetes who were already getting standard treatments. Invokana lowered by 30% the risk of kidney failure, the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant or some other problems.
Results were discussed Sunday at a medical meeting in Australia and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
‘Shazam!’ bests newcomers with $25.1M second weekend
NEW YORK (AP) — A quartet of newcomers in movie theaters couldn’t shake “Shazam!” from the top spot, as the superhero comedy led the box office for the second straight weekend with an estimated $25.1 million in ticket sales.
Lionsgate’s “Hellboy” remake has been expected to vie with “Shazam!” on the weekend. But on the heels of terrible reviews, it flopped with $12 million.
That allowed the body-swap comedy “Little” to move into second place with a strong $15.5 million opening. The film stars 14-year-old Marsai Martin, along with Regina Hall and Issa Rae.
The animated Laika Studios release “Missing Link” disappointed with a $5.8 million debut. The college romance “After” opened with $6.2 million.
Federal report finds ‘pervasive’ harassment at AccuWeather
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal investigation found a “severe and pervasive” culture of entrenched sexual harassment inside a company run by one of President Donald Trump’s nominees to head a prominent federal agency.
The Labor Department report of January 2018 makes a harsh assessment of the internal culture at AccuWeather, which provides commercial weather forecasting services.
The Associated Press has obtained a copy of that report. It concludes that AccuWeather executives ignored multiple sexual harassment claims, and those who complained feared retaliation.
AccuWeather’s chief executive at the time, Barry Myers, has been nominated to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is awaiting a Senate confirmation vote.
A statement from the company denied all allegations, but AccuWeather did agree last year to pay $290,000 as part of a settlement of the findings.