Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mixed after encouraging China GDP data

TOKYO (AP) — Major share benchmarks are mixed in Asia today after China announced its economy grew at a better than expected 6.4% annual pace in the last quarter.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3% and the Shanghai Composite added 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged 0.1% higher while the S&P ASX 200 in Australia lost 0.3%. Shares rose in Taiwan and Singapore.

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On Wall Street Tuesday, stocks closed slightly higher, erasing modest losses from the day before. The gains followed a rally in overseas stock indexes and came as investors sized up the latest batch of company earnings reports.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 2,907.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3% to 26,452.66. The Nasdaq composite added 0.3% to 8,000.23. The index had not closed above 8,000 points since October.

The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks picked up 0.2% to 1,582.79.

JAPAN-TRADE

Japan reports exports, trade surplus slid in March

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s exports declined in March as shipments to China dropped more than 9%, pulling the nation’s trade surplus sharply lower.

The data released today by the Finance Ministry was more or less in line with forecasts.

It says total exports for the world’s 3rd largest economy fell 2.4% from a year earlier while imports rose 1%.

Exports to the U.S., Japan’s biggest single overseas market, rose slightly while imports fell, increasing the politically sensitive trade surplus by nearly 10%.

The report came as Japan and the U.S. finished launching trade talks aimed at clinching an agreement aimed at redressing that imbalance, which totaled $67.6 billion in 2018 according to U.S. figures.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s office says he and Japan’s trade minister agreed to continue talks soon.

CHINA ECONOMY

China: Economic growth steady amid tariff battle with US

SHANGHAI (AP) — China’s economic growth held steady in the latest quarter amid a tariff war with Washington in a sign Beijing’s efforts to reverse a slowdown might be gaining traction.

The government says the world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.4 percent over a year earlier in the three months ending in March. That matched the previous quarter for the weakest growth since 2009.

Communist leaders stepped up government spending last year and told banks to lend more after economic activity weakened, raising the risk of politically dangerous job losses.

Data showed consumer spending, factory activity and investment all edged up in March from the previous month.

The fight with Washington over Beijing’s technology ambitions has battered Chinese exporters.

BOEING-PLANE

Panel: Pilots won’t need simulator training for Boeing jet

UNDATED (AP) — A group that advises federal aviation regulators says pilots won’t need new training on flight simulators to learn how to operate the Boeing plane that was grounded after two deadly crashes involving a new anti-stall system.

The group says there should be computer and classroom instruction about new software on the Boeing 737 Max.

The advisory group says that should be adequate training for pilots who have flown earlier versions of the 737.

On Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration posted a draft report by the group, the flight standardization board. The FAA will take public comments through April 30, then make a final decision on training requirements.

ZINKE-GOLD MINING JOB

Former US Interior boss parlays post into private career

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is quickly parlaying his time in President Donald Trump’s cabinet into a lucrative private career.

Zinke says he has landed a post at a Nevada mining company and is pursuing involvement in natural gas exports that have surged under Trump.

The rapid transition from the highest levels of the executive branch to the corporate boardroom is raising questions about possible conflicts of interest.

It comes fewer than four months after Zinke left a cabinet position overseeing the country’s oil and gas, coal and other natural resources and those companies that profit off their extraction.

Zinke tells The Associated Press that his work for Nevada-based U.S. Gold Corp., which focuses on mining exploration and development, will not constitute lobbying. But the company’s CEO cites Zinke’s “excellent relationship” with the Bureau of Land Management and the Interior Department.

JD-CHINESE BILLIONAIRE ARRESTED

Woman who accused Chinese billionaire Liu of rape sues

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A woman who says JD.com founder Richard Liu (loo) raped her in Minneapolis is suing the Chinese billionaire and his company.

The woman is a student at the University of Minnesota. She sued Liu on Tuesday, alleging that he raped her at her apartment.

Liu was arrested Aug. 31 in Minneapolis on suspicion of felony rape and released within hours. He had been attending a weeklong residency as part of the University of Minnesota’s doctor of business administration China program.

Prosecutors announced in December that Liu would not face criminal charges because they could not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Liu’s attorneys said at the time that his arrest was based on a false claim.

MARTHA STEWART-BRAND SOLD

Martha Stewart brand to be sold again

NEW YORK (AP) — The Martha Stewart brand is getting a new home.

Sequential Brands Group, which bought the Martha Stewart brand nearly four years ago for about $353 million, says it is selling it to Marquee Brands for about $175 million. As part of the deal, Marquee will also acquire the brand of TV chef Emeril Lagasse (EM’-ur-ul leh-GAH’-see).

Marquee owns several clothing and footwear brands, including Ben Sherman and Body Glove. The company says the acquisition will help it grow into the home and food categories.

GODIVA-EXPANSION

Godiva moves beyond chocolate to open 2,000 cafes

NEW YORK (AP) — Godiva is looking beyond its iconic gold gift box of chocolates.

The Belgium confectioner is rolling out 2,000 cafes that will serve a complete menu of items like the croiffle, a croissant and waffle hybrid. Other items include an expanded list of coffees and a new collection of teas as well as grab-and-go items like sandwiches and yogurt parfaits.

The cafes mark Godiva’s foray into prepared meals. The first one officially opens in Manhattan Wednesday and is part of an ambitious growth plan spearheaded by CEO Annie Young-Scrivner to increase its revenue fivefold in the next six years.

One-third of the new cafes will be in the U.S.

The company is privately owned and doesn’t report sales or profits.

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