Asian stocks fall on risks, while US closes for Thanksgiving
SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were mostly lower on Friday as traders dwelled on risks from a drawn out dispute between the U.S. and China. Wall Street was closed Thursday for Thanksgiving.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will meet at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina next week. The leaders are hoping to unwind a spiraling dispute over Beijing’s technology policy and trade practices. The countries have placed additional tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods, fueling worries over softening global growth. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. has asked its allies to stop using telecommunications equipment from Huawei, which is Chinese-owned. The report cited people familiar with the matter.
Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. has fired Carlos Ghosn as its chairman, after he was arrested for alleged financial improprieties. The powerful executive has been credited for Nissan’s revival from near bankruptcy. He will continue to remain chairman of French carmaker Renault, whose shares plunged after Ghosn’s arrest and have yet to fully recover.
At Macy’s, shoppers can scan and pay for goods on their own smartphones. And at Target, Walmart and others, workers will be sent to store aisles to check customers out on mobile devices.
Retailers hope the changes will make in-store shopping less of a hassle.
Shoppers are also facing new free shipping options. Target leapt in front of Walmart and Amazon to offer two-day free shipping for the holidays without any minimum purchases. Online leader Amazon followed, dropping its $25 minimum. Walmart is still sticking with its $35 threshold.
Swine fever adds to China’s economic headaches
BEIJING (AP) — Reeling from rising feed costs in Beijing’s tariff fight with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese pig farmers face a new blow from an outbreak of African swine fever that has sent an economic shockwave through the countryside.
First detected in August, the disease has killed 1 million pigs, prompting authorities to restrict shipments of most of its 700 million swine, even though nearly all are still healthy. That has disrupted supplies of pork, China’s staple meat, to big cities while prices collapsed in areas with an oversupply of pigs that farmers are barred from shipping to other provinces.
The disease adds to a swarm of challenges for Chinese leaders as they fight with Trump over Beijing’s technology policy and try to shore up cooling growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
Samsung apologizes over sicknesses, deaths of some workers
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics apologized Friday for illnesses and deaths of some of its workers, saying it failed to create a safe working environment at its computer chip and display factories.
The announcement by the South Korean technology giant came weeks after the company and a group representing ailing Samsung workers agreed to accept compensation terms suggested by a mediator and end a highly-publicized standoff that went on for more than a decade. The company’s apology was part of the settlement.
Kinam Kim, president of Samsung’s device solutions division, said the company failed to “sufficiently manage health threats” at its semiconductor and liquid crystal display manufacturing lines. As detailed in Associated Press reporting over the past decade, dozens of employees who worked there have experienced grave illnesses such as leukemia and brain tumors.
But while cutting a deal and loosely admitting to lapses in safety standards, Samsung has yet to fully acknowledge its workplace environment as the direct cause of the illnesses.
ECB officials saw little contagion from Italy’s debt woes
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Top officials at the European Central Bank expressed concern at their last rate-setting meeting about higher government borrowing costs for Italy but saw little evidence that the debt troubles were spreading to other eurozone countries.
The written account released Thursday of the Oct. 25 meeting of the bank’s 25-member governing council revealed discussion of increasing borrowing costs for “one large euro area country” but that “contagion” to other markets or countries “had so far remained limited.”
The officials were concerned bigger deficits in indebted countries could hurt market confidence. Italy has the second highest debt level in the eurozone, at 132 percent of GDP.
The officials reiterated their stance that they saw an “on-going, broad-based recovery” and that they would end their bond purchase stimulus at year end.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Major business and economic reports due out today
WASHINGTON (AP) — There are no major business or economic reports scheduled for Friday.
Markets will be open for a half-day, closing at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.
Nissan board fires Ghosn as chairman following arrest
TOKYO (AP) — Nissan has fired Carlos Ghosn as chairman in a dramatic end to the powerful executive’s nearly two decade reign at the Japanese automaker.
The company says its own investigation detected serious misconduct, including under-reporting of Ghosh’s income and misuse of company assets.
Nissan said its board of directors met for several hours Thursday and voted unanimously to dismiss Ghosn.
Prosecutors say he is suspected of under-reporting $44.6 million in income from 2011 to 2015.
The economy ministers of Japan and France say they’re committed to the alliance between carmakers Nissan and Renault despite the arrest of the man who dominated the union.
The acting chief of carmaker Renault is seeking to soothe markets, car buyers and his employees by promising continuity despite the arrest.
UK’s May faces more criticism for post-Brexit ties text
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May faced wide-ranging criticism from skeptical lawmakers Thursday as she sought to portray a draft agreement on a post-Brexit relationship with the European Union as a “good deal for our country.”
Addressing the House of Commons after the publication of a 26-page draft political declaration with the EU on post-Brexit relations, May said the agreement will ensure a “smooth and orderly” British departure from the European Union. Britain officially leaves the 28-nation EU — the first country to ever do so — on March 29.
May is due to travel to Brussels on Saturday for further Brexit meetings, including with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a day before a summit of the EU’s 27 other leaders at which both the political declaration on post-Brexit relations as well as the divorce agreement, which alone has legal status, are expected to be formally signed off.
The withdrawal agreement needs to be sealed soon to leave enough time for the European Parliament and the U.K. Parliament to endorse it.
Samsung apologizes over sicknesses, deaths of some workers
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics has apologized for the sickness and deaths of some of its workers, saying it failed to create a safe working environment at its computer chip and display factories.
The announcement by the South Korean technology giant on Friday came weeks after the company and a group representing ailing Samsung workers agreed to accept compensation terms suggested by a mediator and end a highly-publicized standoff that went on for more than a decade.
Samsung’s device solutions chief Kinam Kim says the company failed to “sufficiently manage health threats” at its semiconductor and liquid crystal display manufacturing lines.
The civic movement against Samsung began in 2007 when taxi driver Hwang Sang-gi refused to accept as settlement after his 23-year-old daughter died of leukemia after working at a Samsung factory.