Asian stocks mixed after Wall Street’s losing week
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed today following Wall Street’s losing week as investors looked ahead to a week of data releases and public comments by central bankers.
U.S. stocks fell for a second day Friday — the first time that has happened in a record-setting month. Medical deviceS slumped after a Citigroup analyst said Amazon might be on the verge of shaking up their industry by speeding up distribution and cutting prices. Energy companies gave up some recent gains while retailers, media companies and household goods companies moved higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 0.1 percent to 2,582.30, finishing the week down 0.2 percent after setting a record Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.2 percent to 23,422.21. The Nasdaq composite turned higher and rose 0.89 points to 6,750.94.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil inched up but remained just under $57 per barrel.
The dollar rose against the yen and declined against the euro.
SOUTHEAST ASIA-HONG KONG
Hong Kong, Southeast Asian nations sign free-trade pact
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Hong Kong signed a free-trade agreement and an investment deal Sunday with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in pacts that it said are a vote against protectionism elsewhere.
ASEAN officials said the free-trade agreement they signed with Hong Kong in Manila is the sixth such deal forged by the 10-nation bloc after concluding similar pacts with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
The Philippines is hosting an annual summit of ASEAN heads of state with Asian and Western leaders that opens today.
Hong Kong Commerce Secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah said the new free-trade accord is “a loud and clear vote from all of us here for freer and more open trade” amid protectionist tendencies in other parts of the world.
He said ASEAN is Hong Kong’s second-largest merchandise trading partner and fourth-largest partner in services trade “but the best is yet to come,” with the agreements expected to fuel new investment opportunities and boost trade flows.
Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, this year’s chairman of the ASEAN Economic Ministers, said the signing of the two agreements marks the commitment toward shared prosperity and inclusive growth in the region.
Uncertainty clouds plans for Venezuela’s financial recovery
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Cash-strapped Venezuela will launch into a discussion today with foreign investors about rescuing itself from crushing debt incurred during better times for the oil-rich country.
Investors eager to be paid back, however, worry that confusion clouds the meeting.
It’s nearly impossible for Americans to enter Venezuela on short notice, the government has provided them with no blueprint as a starting point and officials heading the talks have been sanctioned by the Trump administration, making it illegal for Americans to negotiate with them.
President Nicolas Maduro invited investors to Caracas a little more than a week ago while announcing his goal of renegotiating a foreign debt that he said has become impossible to repay because of a U.S.-led financial “blockade” of the socialist-run country.
On the eve of the meeting Maduro tried to send a reassuring message that Venezuela will avoid default despite its mounting financial woes. He pointed out that since taking office in 2013, Venezuela has made more than $70 billion in debt payments, including more than $2 billion in the past month.
As Venezuela spent heavily on social programs under the late President Hugo Chavez, a time when global oil prices soared, its debt skyrocketed to over $120 billion, about half of which is in the form of dollar-denominated bonds. The drop in crude prices has ravaged the country that sits atop the world’s largest oil reserves, leading to widespread shortages amid triple-digit inflation.
Strained relations between Venezuela and the United States are compounding the situation.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Business and economic reports scheduled for the coming week:
WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s not much on tap for the early part of the week.
The Treasury Department releases October’s federal budget today.
On Tuesday, the Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for October.
Uber seals multibillion-dollar investment from Softbank
DETROIT (AP) — Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank has reached a deal with Uber to invest billions in the ride-hailing giant.
Uber Technologies Inc. confirmed the investment in a statement Sunday without giving details.
But a person briefed on the deal told The Associated Press that SoftBank Group will buy about $1 billion worth of new Uber stock, then will offer to purchase shares from investors and Uber employees with the goal of reaching a 14 percent stake in the company. Uber currently is valued at $68.5 billion, but stock offers will be based on a lower valuation, so it’s unknown just how much the total deal multibillion-dollar deal will be worth, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details were not released.
Uber’s statement said it reached an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer Investment Group.
The move also clears the way for Uber, among the most valuable tech firms in the world, to sell stock to the public. Under the deal, the initial public offering will take place before the end of 2019.
SoftBank in Tokyo declined comment.
Dubai Air Show opens with Emirates’ $15.1B Boeing buy
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Long-haul carrier Emirates purchased 40 American-made Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners on Sunday at the start of the biennial Dubai Air Show, a $15.1 billion deal certain to please President Donald Trump who has touted the plane’s sales as a job creator in America.
The deal appeared to surprise Boeing’s archrival Airbus, whose staff had attended a long-delayed news conference and left the room just moments before the announcement.
Airbus has pinned hopes of continuing production of its double-decker jumbo jet on Emirates, the world’s largest operator of the aircraft which took delivery of its 100th A380 earlier this month. Reports circulated before the air show that a major A380 sale would be coming.
But instead, Emirates CEO and Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum explained how the airline considered the Airbus A350 and decided to pick the Boeing 787-10.
It’s the second time Airbus has lost out on selling the A350 to Emirates. In June 2014, the state-owned Emirates cancelled an order for 70 A350s after a “fleet requirement” review.
‘Thor’ tops ‘Daddy’s Home 2,’ ‘Orient Express’ at box office
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The God of Thunder isn’t ready to relinquish his box office throne yet.
Studios on Sunday estimate that “Thor: Ragnarok” added $56.6 million from North American theaters in its second weekend in theaters, bringing its domestic total to $211.6 million.
It easily beat out new openers including the comedy sequel “Daddy’s Home 2” and the lavish Agatha Christie adaptation “Murder on the Orient Express.”
Paramount’s “Daddy’s Home 2,” which adds John Lithgow and Mel Gibson to the Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg formula, took second place with $30 million.
The star-studded “Murder on the Orient Express” meanwhile screeched into third place with an estimated $28.2 million.
“A Bad Moms Christmas” took fourth with $11.5 million in weekend two and “Jigsaw” rounded out the top five with $3.4 million.
FOR PROFITS-STUDENT LOANS
Lawsuit seeks new recourse on for-profit college fraud
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two women who claim they were defrauded by a for-profit college have sued the Education Department and a private loan servicer in a case their attorneys say could provide a new legal remedy for tens of thousands of students frustrated with the department’s inaction on claims seeking loan forgiveness.
The lawsuit, filed Sunday in federal court in New York, comes as the department begins work this week rewriting Obama administration rules designed to boost protections for students defrauded by their schools.
Tina Carr and Yvette Colon had attended Sanford-Brown Institute, a for-profit college in New York, and are seeking to have their student loans erased. Their lawsuit cites federal and state law that prohibits fraud as well as the contract they signed with their school. Previous lawsuits invoked the department’s own regulations in their search for loan relief.