Asian shares mostly higher after Wall St sets new records
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mostly higher in Asia today after a turbulent day on Wall Street Thursday ended with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing above 27,000 for the first time.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.2% today and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite index also climbed 0.4%, while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 lost 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.3%. Shares fell in Taiwan, Jakarta and Bangkok but rose in Singapore.
Thursday’s Wall Street milestones came on a day when the S&P 500 briefly topped 3,000 for the second straight day before the rally ran out of steam.
The market lost some ground after an auction of long-term U.S. government bonds failed to drum up strong demand. That pulled bond prices lower, sending the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to 2.13% from 2.06% late Wednesday, a big move.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 2,999.91 and has set three straight record highs. The Dow gained 0.8% to 27,088.08. The Nasdaq composite gave up an early gain, sliding 0.1% to 8,196.04, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks dropped 0.5% to 1,557.92.
^ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Business and economic reports scheduled for today:
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for June this morning.
US long-term mortgage rates little changed, 30-year at 3.75%
WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. long-term mortgage rates were mostly unchanged this week amid signals from the Federal Reserve that it is preparing to cut interest rates soon.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year mortgage stood at 3.75%, the same as the previous week. A year ago the rate stood at 4.53%.
The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans ticked up this week to 3.22% from 3.18%. It was 4.02% one year ago.
Low interest rates and stabilizing home prices appear to be nudging some home buyers. The National Association of Realtors says that more Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in May compared with the prior month.
Twitter blames internal configuration for outage
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Twitter says “an internal configuration change” is responsible for an outage that lasted for about an hour.
Thursday’s outage began before noon PT; some users were able to access Twitter again by 12:45 p.m. Twitter says some users may be able to access the service as the company works on a fix.
The disruption appeared to affect both web and mobile app users. According to Down Detector, a website that tracks outages, problems were reported from the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.
Outages were widespread in Twitter’s early years, so much so that a cartoon “fail whale” the company would put up during outages came to symbolize Twitter almost as much as its little blue bird icon. In recent years, outages have been less common.
Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google said its contractors are able to listen to recordings of what people say to its artificial-intelligence system Google Assistant.
The company acknowledged that humans can access those recordings after some of its Dutch language recordings were leaked. Google is investigating the breach.
The recordings were obtained by Belgian broadcaster VRT NWS, which noted in a story that they sometimes contain sensitive personal information.
Google says contractors listen to recordings to better understand language patterns and accents. Its user terms confirm recordings may be used by the company. This feature can be turned off, but doing so means Assistant loses much of its personalized touch.
A Bloomberg report earlier this year also revealed Amazon’s Alexa voice technology uses contractors to review recordings, which Amazon later confirmed.
Ford, Volkswagen to reveal details on global alliance
NEW YORK (AP) _ Ford and Volkswagen are planning this morning to unveil details about their budding alliance to build mobility services and autonomous and electric vehicles.
The two companies announced plans in January to collaborate on developing commercial vans and medium-sized pickup trucks while exploring electric and autonomous vehicles together. They said Ford would develop larger vans and pickups while Volkswagen would develop a smaller van for crowded cities.
Many automobile companies are joining forces as they face pressure to develop autonomous vehicles and smartphone-enabled transportation services. They’re competing with companies such as Waymo and Uber to launch the technology. They’re also under pressure to release electric vehicles in markets such as China and Europe to meet tougher pollution limits.
^HELICOPTER PLANT CLOSING
After Trump request, Lockheed keeps helicopter plant open
COATESVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Lockheed Martin has decided to keep its Sikorsky helicopter plant in Pennsylvania open following a request from President Donald Trump.
Wednesday night’s announcement comes little more than a month after the company told the Coatesville facility’s 465 employees the plant would close by the end of the year. The company planned to relocate production work and hoped to move many of the affected employees.
In a statement, Lockheed Martin chairman and CEO Marillyn Hewson said at Trump’s request, she reviewed the decision and decided to keep the plant open while the company pursues additional work.
Trump tweeted his thanks, calling Lockheed Martin “one of the USA’s truly great companies.”
Major programs at the plant have included Sikorsky’s S-92 and S-76D helicopter completion work, as well as Canadian Maritime Helicopter Program modifications and upgrades.
^BOEING PLANE-EXECUTIVE RETIRES
Boeing changes executive in charge of the 737 Max factory
CHICAGO (AP) — The executive who manages the Boeing 737 Max program and the Seattle-area factory where the now-grounded plane is built is retiring.
Eric Lindblad has been in the job less than a year, taking over as Boeing struggled with shortages of engines and fuselages from suppliers.
A Boeing spokesman said Thursday Lindblad’s retirement was long planned and is unrelated to two Max accidents.
Lindblad will be replaced by Mark Jenks, a vice president overseeing possible development of a new mid-size plane. Jenks previously managed the Boeing 787 program.
The 737 Max was grounded in March after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. Preliminary reports highlighted the role of new flight-control software that pushed the planes’ noses down. Boeing hopes to submit a fix to federal safety regulators in September.
S. Korea proposes UN probe over Japanese sanctions claims
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea is proposing an investigation by the United Nations or another international body as it continues to reject Japanese claims that Seoul could not be trusted to faithfully implement sanctions against North Korea.
Seoul’s presidential office says that South Korea has been thoroughly implementing U.N. sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons program. And Seoul is demanding that Japan provide evidence to back up claims made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his conservative aides that there may have been illegal transfers of sensitive materials from South Korea to North Korea.
Tokyo last week tightened the approval process for Japanese shipments of photoresists and other sensitive materials to South Korea, saying such materials can be exported only to trustworthy trading partners.
Huawei calls on US to lift export restrictions
SHENZHEN, China (AP) — The chairman of Huawei (WAH’-way) says the Chinese tech giant has yet to see any benefit from President Donald Trump’s promise to allow U.S. companies to sell some components to the company and called on Washington to remove it from a security blacklist.
Liang Hua says the “unjust and unfair” decision to add Huawei, the biggest maker of network equipment used by phone companies, to a list that restricts exports is hurting its U.S. suppliers and global customers.
Trump promised last month to allow some sales to Huawei but said it stays on the “entity list.”
Liang told a news conference, “So far we haven’t seen any tangible change.” He says “our stance is that the entity list should be lifted completely.”
^MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROWERS-UTAH
Utah farmers and entrepreneurs compete to grow medical pot
NEHPI, Utah (AP) — Dozens of applicants are vying for one of a handful of coveted spots as state-licensed medical marijuana growers in conservative Utah.
State officials expect to award up to 10 licenses later this month. Among the 81 applicants are larger operations already growing hemp in the state, and a handful of out-of-state growers.
Utah officials project medical marijuana revenues to reach $5.4 million in 2020 then grow to $16.2 million in 2021.
Utah joined 33 states to legalize medical marijuana after voters approved a new law last year.
Prosecutors say ex-executive stole money for poker tourneys
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former executive at a Los Angeles digital marketing company has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than $20 million from his employer and using it for personal expenses including buy-ins at professional poker tournaments.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says an indictment unsealed Thursday charges Dennis Blieden with wire fraud and identity theft. He was arrested Wednesday in Las Vegas. It wasn’t immediately known if the 29-year-old has an attorney.
Blieden was a vice president of accounting and finance for StyleHaul, a company that represents “influencers” on YouTube and Instagram.
Prosecutors say he controlled the firm’s finances and transferred money to his personal bank accounts, using it to pay off credit card debts and make investments in crypto-currency. He paid more than $150,000 to enter two poker tournaments.