Asia shares retreat on fears China-US trade row might spread
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower on Friday as worries that the standoff between the U.S. and China over trade might expand put investors in a selling mood.
Stocks ended sharply lower on Wall Street in a broad sell-off that left the benchmark S&P 500 index on track for its third straight weekly loss and had the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 400 points until late afternoon.
Traders sought safety in the bond market, driving bond prices higher, which pulled the yield on the 10-year Treasury to 2.31%, the lowest level in more than a year. It was at 2.33% by midday Friday in Asia.
The stock market has been gyrating since Washington and Beijing escalated their dispute over trade earlier this month. Now, the two sides have broken off negotiations and appear set for a long standoff. Investors are concerned that a prolonged trade war could stunt economic growth and hurt corporate profits.
The S&P 500 index fell 1.2% to 2,822.24. The index was down 2.5% before the selling eased. The Dow lost 1.1% to 25,490.47. At its lowest, the Dow slid 448 points.
The Nasdaq composite dropped 1.6% to 7,628.28. The Russell 200 index of small company stocks gave up 2% to 1,501.38.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $58.50 a barrel.
Business and economic reports scheduled for today:
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Commerce Department releases its April report on durable goods today.
Trump links Huawei to China trade talks
NEW YORK (AP) _ President Donald Trump, whose administration has singled out Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei (WAH’-way) as posing a threat to U.S. national security, is suggesting that he may be open to making it an issue in the stalled trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.
Trump told reporters Thursday that Huawei is “very dangerous.” But he added, “If we made a deal, I can imagine Huawei being included in some form of a trade deal.”
The U.S.-China trade dispute has festered after the Trump administration hiked tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing retaliated with increased tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods.
Meanwhile, Trump is providing another $16 billion in aid to U.S. farmers hurt by his trade policies.
Last year, the Trump administration delivered farmers an $11 billion bailout.
China tariffs to cost average US household $831
NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Federal Reserve estimates that the Trump administration’s latest round of tariff hikes on Chinese goods will cost the typical U.S. household $831 a year.
President Donald Trump has imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports. The tariffs were raised from 10% after trade talks stalled earlier this month.
Economists at the New York Fed wrote that rather than buy the tariff-burdened Chinese goods, U.S. companies are likely to purchase from suppliers from other countries. But those goods are still likely to cost more than pre-tariff Chinese goods.
According to the economists “these higher tariffs are likely to create large economic distortions and reduce U.S. tariff revenues.”
UNITED STATES-SAUDI ARABIA
Trump mulls bypassing Congress on Saudi arms sales
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say the Trump administration is considering an emergency declaration that would allow it to make a new arms shipment to Saudi Arabia without the approval of Congress.
Two officials say a decision on invoking a national security waiver in the Arms Control Act to bypass congressional review of proposed sales to the Saudis could come as early as Friday. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Congressional opposition to U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia has been growing. Lawmakers have blocked about $2 billion in arms sales to the kingdom for more than a year due to concerns over civilian casualties in the Saudi-led military operation in Yemen and outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
UNITED STATES-MEXICO-CENTRAL AMERICA
Mexico asks US to invest in Central America
WASHINGTON (AP) — Mexico is proposing that the United States finance seven projects designed to boost the economies of three Central American nations whose poverty and violence now pushes desperate migrants to travel north.
Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters Thursday after meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan that he plans to showcase the same proposal next week in Germany.
Ebrard will meet Friday with President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan at the White House, where he expects to get an update on talks about the U.S. committing some $10 billion in development investments for Mexico and Central America.
Earlier this week in Mexico, a U.N. commission presented a roadmap to boost development in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
FAA chief upbeat about prospects for Boeing 737 Max’s return
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ After an all-day meeting with global aviation regulators, the chief of the Federal Aviation Administration sounded more upbeat than ever about prospects for clearing the troubled Boeing 737 Max to fly again.
Aviation officials from more 30 countries met with the FAA on Thursday to hear the U.S. regulator’s approach to reviewing changes that Boeing is making after two crashes that killed 346 people.
“We are going through an incredibly intensive and robust process to make the safety case to unground the Max,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell told reporters when the closed-door meeting was over. He added that the agency won’t let the plane fly – quote -“until we have made that safety case.”
Boeing has not yet submitted a final, formal application for its update to a flight-control system that has been implicated in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. That submission will be followed by test flights to demonstrate the changes to FAA experts.
^THEME PARK ATTENDANCE
Theme park attendance crosses half-billion mark for 1st time
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Worldwide attendance at the 10 biggest operators of amusement parks increased 4% last year and crossed the half-billion-visitors mark for the first time, according to an industry report released this week.
The report by the Themed Entertainment Association and the Economics Practice at AECOM said global attendance at waterparks increased by 2.5%, and the top museums had relatively flat attendance last year.
The report said growth in North American parks was driven by the adaptation of strong intellectual properties into new attractions, such as a land based on the “Toy Story” franchise at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Attendance growth through the addition of new attractions based on movies or books is expected to continue this year with the opening of the “Star Wars: Galaxy Edge” lands at Disney parks in California and Florida and the debut of a new Harry Potter ride at Universal Orlando Resort, the report said.
Attendance at Walt Disney parks across the globe grew by almost 5% with more than 157 million visitors in 2018. That was more than double the next-closest theme park company, Merlin Entertainment Group, which owns the Legoland parks and other attractions. Merlin parks and attractions had 67 million visitors in 2018, an increase of 1.5%.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment parks made comebacks after attendance struggles in recent years stemming in part from backlash created by the documentary “Blackfish,” which implied killer whales are harmed by captivity.
Magic Kingdom in Florida was the best-attended park in the world with 20.8 million visitors in 2018, followed by Disneyland in California with 18.6 million visitors.
Dressbarn expects to have all its stores shut in early 2020
NEW YORK (AP) — Dressbarn says it expects to have all its 650 stores closed in the first half of 2020.
The women’s clothing chain announced earlier this week that it was shutting all its stores but hadn’t given a timeline for the closures until Thursday.
Dressbarn’s owner, Ascena Retail Group Inc., has said it wants to focus on its other brands, such as Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant. An executive said Dressbarn wasn’t profitable enough.
Ascena said in a regulatory filing that that it couldn’t yet determine how much Dressbarn’s closure would cost the Mahwah, New Jersey-based company.
Dressbarn, which has been selling women’s clothing for nearly 60 years, employs about 6,800 people.
PHILADELPHIA MEDIA NETWORK-BUYOUTS
Philadelphia Inquirer offers buyouts, citing revenue decline
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The publishers of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com are offering buyouts to staff but the threat of layoffs looms if there aren’t enough volunteers.
Philly.com reports that Philadelphia Media Network’s publisher and chief executive emailed employees Thursday.
Terrance C.Q. Egger says the decision is due to the decline in revenue for the organization, which is owned by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a nonprofit.
The president of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia has told union members in an email the announcement is “sickening.” She says there’s a threat of layoffs if not enough staffers volunteer for buyouts.
The terms of the buyout offers weren’t available.
The news comes a day after a federal bankruptcy judge approved the sale of the Reading Eagle to Digital First Media.
Bank CEO pleads not guilty in bid to get Trump post
NEW YORK (AP) — A banker who prosecutors say tried to buy himself a senior post in President Donald Trump’s administration by making risky loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to a financial institution bribery charge.
Stephen M. Calk, 54, was released on $5 million bail after making a brief appearance in Manhattan federal court.
Calk, who lives in Chicago where The Federal Savings Bank is headquartered, was told by Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman to have no contact with bank employees except for his brother. Prosecutors will submit an official list of bank employees he cannot contact by next week.
Tokyo-Vegas investment chief gets 50 years in Ponzi scheme
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The former head of a Tokyo and Las Vegas investment firm has been sentenced to 50 years in a U.S. prison for bilking thousands of Japanese victims in what prosecutors called a $1.5 billion international Ponzi scheme.
Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed as offensive Edwin Fujinaga’s apologies for what prosecutors ranked among the nation’s largest-ever fraud cases.
She sentenced the 72-year-old on Thursday to what amounts to death behind bars.
The judge also ordered Fujinaga to pay nearly $1.3 billion in restitution, although a prosecutor conceded it might never be paid.
Navarro oversaw a trial at which a jury found the former head of MRI International Inc. guilty of 20 counts of fraud and money laundering.
Prosecutors say Fujinaga’s more than 10,000 investors thought they were safely investing in a medical collections business.
THEME PARK ATTENDANCE
Theme park attendance crosses half-billion mark for 1st time
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Worldwide attendance at the 10 biggest operators of amusement parks increased 4% last year and crossed the half-billion-visitors mark for the first time.
According to a report released this week by Themed Entertainment Association and the Economics Practice at AECOM, global attendance at waterparks increased by 2.5%, and the top museums had relatively flat attendance last year.
The report credits the adaptation of strong intellectual properties into new attractions.
Walt Disney parks across the globe had more than 157 million visitors in 2018, more than double the next-closest theme park company, Merlin Entertainment Group, which owns the Legoland parks and other attractions.
Magic Kingdom in Florida was the best-attended park with 20.8 million visitors in 2018, followed by Disneyland in California with 18.6 million visitors.