In Asia today, Tokyo’s Nikkei closed up 0.4 percent and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.6 percent. Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.3 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.9 percent. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta advanced.
On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow are up by 0.2 percent.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Major business and economic reports scheduled for release today:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department releases its October report on personal income and spending today.
Also, the National Association of Realtors releases its pending home sales index for October.
Later today, the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its October interest-rate meeting.
US calls China’s tariffs on American autos ‘egregious’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Three days before a U.S.-China summit, the top U.S. trade official is blasting Beijing for imposing “egregious” taxes on American-made cars.
In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer complained that China slaps 40 percent tariffs on U.S. auto imports — more than the 15 percent tariffs it imposes on other countries and the 27.5 percent U.S. tax on Chinese auto imports.
Lighthizer said the president had directed him to “examine all available tools to equalize the tariffs applied to automobiles.”
The statement comes before a dinner meeting Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng). The two leaders are expected to seek a resolution to a trade dispute between their countries that has shaken financial markets and threatened the global economy.
CHINA-SPYING ON CARS
In China, your car could be talking to the government
SHANGHAI (AP) — The Associated Press has found global automakers feed real-time information about electric vehicles to monitoring centers backed by the Chinese government, often without car owners’ knowledge.
Already more than 220,000 vehicles are monitored in Shanghai alone. Nationally more than 1.1 million are. Among dozens of shared data points is a constant stream of location information, which could reveal where people live, work, shop and pray.
Critics say data sharing could undermine automakers’ competitive position and be used to further state surveillance as the ruling Communist Party steps up its use of technology to monitor citizens.
The rules apply to all new energy vehicle makers. Chinese officials say the system aims to protect public safety and facilitate industrial and infrastructure development, and that confidentiality agreements protect carmakers’ intellectual property.
US-UK AIR SERVICE AGREEMENT
US and UK strike deal to preserve air service after Brexit
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and United Kingdom have reached an agreement to maintain air service between the two countries after Brexit.
The so-called open-skies agreement will maintain the same access to the U.S. that planes flying from the U.K. enjoy under the current U.S.-Europe air treaty. The U.K. will no longer be under that U.S.-Europe treaty after it leaves the European Union.
Airlines for America, a trade group representing most big U.S. airlines, is praising the agreement, saying it will ensure the continuation of key transatlantic routes.
Flights between the two countries carry about 20 million passengers a year, accounting for nearly one-third of all air travel between the U.S. and Europe.
MillerCoors, Pabst settle lawsuit over brewing contract
MILWAUKEE (AP) — MillerCoors and Pabst Brewing Co. have settled a lawsuit in which the hipster’s brand of choice claimed the bigger brewer lied about its ability to continue brewing Pabst’s beers to put that company out of business.
The settlement came Wednesday as jurors were in deliberations.
Chicago-based MillerCoors said in a statement the settlement was “amicable” and that all “outstanding issues with Pabst” were resolved. Settlement details were not disclosed.
MillerCoors has brewed and shipped most of Pabst’s beers since 1999. Pabst, which was founded in Milwaukee but now based in Los Angeles, sued in 2016 after MillerCoors announced it wouldn’t have the capacity to brew for Pabst when the contract expired in 2020.
Pabst claimed that the contract allowed for two five-year extensions if Pabst wanted and that MillerCoors was worried Pabst would cut into its market share. MillerCoors called the claim a conspiracy theory.
SOUTH KOREA-JAPAN-FORCED LABOR
SKorea orders 2nd Japan firm to compensate forced laborers
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s top court has ordered a Japanese company to compensate 10 Koreans for forced labor during Tokyo’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court was widely expected as the court ruled last month that another Japanese company must compensate four Korean men for similar colonial -era forced labor.
The Oct. 30 ruling, the first of its kind, drew immediate protests from Japan which has argued the issue of forced laborers was already settled when Tokyo and Seoul signed a treaty in 1965 that restored diplomatic ties.
The Supreme Court says Mitsubishi Heavy Industries must provide 80 million to 150 million won ($71,190-133,510) in compensation to each of 10 plaintiffs or their bereaved family members.
Opioid case has new complication: Babies born in withdrawal
UNDATED (AP) — The long-running federal court case seeking to hold drugmakers responsible for the nation’s opioid crisis has a new complication: How does it deal with claims covering the thousands of babies born to women with addiction?
Attorneys representing the children and their guardians want their claims separated from the federal case in Cleveland that involves hundreds of local governments and other entities such as hospitals.
They will argue that Thursday before a federal judicial panel in New York.
One of the lead lawyers representing the children says they have been directly harmed by the actions of drugmakers and are entitled to their own payments.
Drug manufacturers and distributors oppose creating a new structure for the lawsuits over the children.