Update on the latest business


European, Asian markets mostly lower in light trading

SINGAPORE (AP) — European and Asian markets were mostly lower in light trading today as a partial U.S. government shutdown stems holiday cheer.

In early trading, France’s CAC 40 dropped 0.9 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 index, which will close early on Christmas Eve, was 0.8 percent lower. Markets in Germany, Italy and Brazil are closed. Wall street is poised for a higher open after ending its worst week in more than seven years. Dow futures are up 0.6 percent and the broad S&P 500 futures are up 0.7 percent.



Business and economic reports scheduled for today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The stock market closes today at 1 p.m.

Tomorrow, stock and bond markets are closed for Christmas Day.


White House: Trump would accept less money for border wall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Both sides in the long-running fight over funding President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall appear to have moved toward each other, but a partial government shutdown is entering Christmas without a clear resolution in sight.

A top White House official warns the shutdown could stretch into January. It affects about one-fourth of the federal government.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney says he’s waiting to hear from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer about a counteroffer the White House presented Schumer over the weekend.

Mulvaney would only say the offer was between Trump’s $5.7 billion request and the $1.3 billion Democrats have offered. Mulvaney says, “We moved off of the five and we hope they move up from their 1.3.”

Schumer’s office says the parties remain “very far apart.”


Partial government shutdown compounds risks for US economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Now in its 10th year, America’s economic expansion still looks sturdy. Yet the partial shutdown of the government that began Saturday has added another threat to a growing list of risks.

The stock market’s persistent fall, growing chaos in the Trump administration, higher interest rates, a U.S.-China trade war and a global slowdown have combined to elevate the perils for the economy.

Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, says he thinks the underlying fundamentals for growth remain strong and that the expansion will continue. But he caution that the falling stock market reflects multiple hazards that can feed on themselves.

Daco says “What really matters is how people perceive these headwinds — and right now markets and investors perceive them as leading us into a recessionary environment.”


Treasury secretary: Trump denied suggesting firing Fed chair

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) says President Donald Trump has denied ever suggesting firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Trump has been attacking the Fed — and Powell personally — for the central bank’s interest rate increases. Trump blames the independent agency’s hikes for recent stock market turmoil and signs of economic weakness.

Bloomberg News cited four people familiar with the matter in reporting Friday that Trump discussed firing Powell after this week’s rate increase.

But Mnuchin pushed back Saturday in a pair of tweets.

Mnuchin says he spoke with Trump and Trump said that, while he “totally” disagrees with Fed policy, he “never suggested” firing Powell and doesn’t believe he has the right to do so.

No Fed chairman has ever been removed by a president.


Treasury Secretary talks to bank CEOs amid Wall St. jitters

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) called the CEOs of six major banks Sunday in an apparent attempt to reassure jittery financial markets coming off a turbulent week in the stock market that is now bracing for potential repercussions from a partial shutdown of the U.S. government.

In an unusual move, Mnuchin disclosed the calls with the heads of Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo in a tweet about the private conversations.

Mnuchin said the CEOs all assured him they have ample money to finance all their normal operations, even though there haven’t been any serious liquidity concerns rattling the market.

Worries about slowing economic growth and rising interest rates saddled the U.S. market with its worst week in more than seven years.


BP sells 3 Texas wind turbine farms to Ares Management group

HOUSTON (AP) — Oil and gas producer BP has sold three of its Texas wind farms to funds managed by affiliates of Los Angeles-based private equity firm Ares Management Corporation.

London-based BP says the deal includes its Silver Star, Sherbino Mesa 2 and Trinity Hills turbine farms. Terms of the sale, announced Friday in Houston, weren’t released.

Silver Star is about 100 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Sherbino Mesa 2 is located 40 miles west of Fort Stockton. Trinity Hills operates 50 miles southwest of Wichita Falls.

BP, saying it wants to optimize and upgrade its other American turbine farms, will still have interest in 11 wind farms in eight U.S. states.


SpaceX launches Air Force’s best GPS yet, ends banner year

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX has launched the U.S. Air Force’s most powerful GPS satellite ever built.

A Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday, hoisting the satellite into orbit.

The satellite was supposed to soar Tuesday but rocket concerns and then weather delayed the flight.

Heather Wilson, secretary of the Air Force, says this next-generation GPS satellite is three times more accurate than previous versions and eight times better at anti-jamming. It’s the first in a series and nicknamed Vespucci after the 15th-century Italian explorer who calculated Earth’s circumference to within 50 miles (80 kilometers).

Lockheed Martin developed the advanced GPS technology and is building the satellites at a facility near Denver.

Sunday’s launch was Space X’s 21st and final launch of the year, a company record.


‘Aquaman’ outswims ‘Poppins,’ ‘Bumblebee’ with $67.4M debut

NEW YORK (AP) — In a flood of new releases, “Aquaman” swam ahead of “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Bumblebee” to lead the busy pre-Christmas weekend with an estimated $67.4 million over the weekend.

Without a “Star Wars” film on the December schedule for the first time in four years, a crowded slate of films sought to capitalize on the lucrative holiday period in theaters.

The DC Comics superhero film “Aquaman” arrived already a juggernaut overseas, where it’s grossed more than $400 million. Including advance previews, “Aquaman” reeled in $72.1 million in U.S. and Canada theaters.

Returns were more modest for Disney’s “Mary Poppins” sequel and Paramount’s “Transformers” spinoff.

“Mary Poppins Returns” debuted with $22.2 million over the weekend, $31 million since opening Wednesday. “Bumblebee” opened with $21 million.


Judge overrules injunction stalling Boeing-Embraer venture

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A temporary injunction freezing a joint venture between airplane manufacturers Boeing and Embraer has been overruled by a Brazilian justice.

The ruling was made Saturday morning by Federal Court President Therezinha Cazerta, who said that the matter is outside the court’s purview.

The $5.26 billion venture was stalled by a similar court procedure earlier in the month.

Labor unions say that it’s actually a sale and will move most of the business to the U.S.

Under the current terms, Boeing is to receive 80 percent of the venture and Embraer the remaining 20 percent. The subsidiary is expected to take on all of Embraer’s commercial aviation activities.

The agreement between the two companies is championed by Embraer as necessary to keep the company competitive.


South Korea fines BMW $10 million over several engine fires

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says it will fine BMW 11.2 billion won ($9.9 million) and file a criminal complaint against the company with state prosecutors over an allegedly botched response to dozens of engine fires reported in the country.

South Korea’s Transport Ministry said Monday its investigation panel after a five-month review concluded that the German automaker deliberately tried to cover up technical problems and moved too slowly to recall vehicles after around 40 of its cars caught fire earlier this year.

BMW recalled some 172,000 vehicles in July and October over the fires it has blamed on a faulty exhaust gas component. The company said there had been no reports of injuries linked to the fires.

BMW’s South Korean unit didn’t immediately comment on the ministry’s announcement.


Updated lawsuit teases new details against OxyContin maker

UNDATED (AP) — An updated complaint in Massachusetts’ lawsuit against Purdue Pharma claims members of the family that owns the OxyContin maker are personally responsible for fueling abuse of the deadly painkiller.

The filing late Friday in Suffolk Superior Court expands on the lawsuit the state filed in June against the drugmaker, 16 current and former executives and members of the Sackler family, which owns the company.

The suit asserts that the Sacklers controlled a deceptive sales campaign by Purdue aimed at getting more people on higher doses of opioids to boost profits.

Much of the specifics on the allegations against Purdue executives and Sackler family members are blacked out while the state works to release a less-redacted complaint.

Several states and localities have sued Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue, which has denied the allegations.

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