On Wall Street, the market extended its losing streak into a fourth week on Monday. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 2,938.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.4% to 26,478.02. The Nasdaq dropped 0.3% to 7,956.29.
The market is coming off a three-week skid following a mostly discouraging batch of economic data that stoked investors’ worries that a slowdown in U.S. economic growth could worsen. The combination of uncertainty over the costly trade war between the U.S. and China and the impeachment inquiry unfolding in Washington is likely to continue to drag on the economy and weigh on markets.
Budget office estimates US deficit just under $1 trillion
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government ran a budget deficit of just under $1 trillion in the just-closed fiscal year.
That’s according to the latest, almost official estimate by the Congressional Budget Office.
Last year’s deficit ran $779 billion, but this year’s came in at $984 billion, more than $200 billion higher despite very low unemployment and continuing economic growth.
Many mainstream economists have long taken the position that deficits and the nation’s $22 trillion national debt are unsustainable. CBO notes that deficits have been growing faster than the size of the economy for four years in a row, ending 2019 at 4.7 percent of gross domestic product.
But there’s no appetite in Washington to try politically painful medicine to deal with the deficit.
The Treasury Department will release final deficit figures mid-month.
Facebook to settle advertiser lawsuit for $40 million
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Facebook has agreed to pay $40 million to advertisers who said it inflated the amount of time its users watched videos.
The San Jose Mercury News says the California-based social media giant denied any wrongdoing in a lawsuit settlement. The settlement notice was filed Friday by the plaintiffs in Oakland federal court.
Advertisers sued Facebook in 2016 over user metrics that supposedly measured the average length of time consumers spent viewing posted video ads. The lawsuit said that the time was inflated by up to 900 percent and that helped convince advertisers to buy Facebook’s video advertising services.
Facebook publicly acknowledged an error in the formula. The company denied allegations that its engineers knew about problems for more than a year and did nothing.
Chinese envoy going to US on Thursday for trade talks
BEIJING (AP) — China’s chief trade envoy is going to Washington on Thursday for talks aimed at ending the tariff war between the world’s two largest economies.
The Ministry of Commerce says that Vice Premier Liu He (LEE’-oo hu) will lead a delegation that will include China’s commerce minister and central bank governor and industry, technology and agriculture regulators.
The two governments have made conciliatory gestures ahead of the talks including lifting or postponing punitive tariffs. But there has been no sign of progress toward settling their core disputes over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology ambitions.
The two sides have raised import duties on billions of dollars of each other’s goods, fueling fears their dispute might tip the global economy into recession.
^US-CHINA TECH BLACKLIST
US seeks to blacklist Chinese artificial intelligence firms
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States is blacklisting a group of Chinese tech companies that develop facial recognition and other artificial intelligence technology that the U.S. says is being used to repress China’s Muslim minority groups.
A move Monday by the U.S. Commerce Department puts the companies on a so-called Entity List for acting contrary to American foreign policy interests.
The blacklist effectively bars U.S. firms from selling technology to the Chinese companies without government approval.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a written statement Monday that the U.S. government “will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China.” The blacklisted companies include Hikvision and Dahua, both of which are global providers of video surveillance technology.
The companies are among 28 organizations added to the blacklist Monday. The Commerce Department’s filing also targets local government agencies in China’s northwestern Xinjiang (shihn-jahng) region.
^BOEING PLANE-SOUTHWEST PILOTS
Southwest pilots’ union sues Boeing over grounding of plane
DALLAS (AP) — The union representing Southwest Airlines pilots is suing Boeing and calling the grounded 737 Max unsafe.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association says in the lawsuit that Boeing rushed the plane into service and misled pilots by saying it was little different than previous versions of the 737. The union says those claims turned out to be false.
The lawsuit filed in a Texas state court in Dallas is a blow to Boeing’s plan to restore public confidence in the plane, which remains grounded after two crashes that killed 346 people.
Boeing hopes to use pilots in a campaign to reassure travelers to fly on the plane once regulators approve changes that the company is making to a key flight-control system. Southwest in the biggest operator of Boeing 737s.
ACLU files suit on behalf of pregnant LA dockworkers
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawsuit alleges that a dockworkers’ union and a shipping trade group discriminate against pregnant day workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed the suit Monday on behalf of three women who are non-union dockworkers.
The legal action claims the women were denied promotions that would lead to union membership and full-time jobs, which can carry a six-figure salary. The suit also alleges non-union pregnant and breast-feeding women were denied accommodations such as reassignment to clerical duties.
It names International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13 and the Pacific Maritime Association. The Los Angeles and Long Beach facilities form the largest port complex is the nation.
^US CUSTOMS-FORCED LABOR
Company making Costco pajamas flagged for forced labor
UNDATED (AP) _ U.S. Customs and Border Protection has slapped rare detention orders on goods imported from an unprecedented five countries in one day based on allegations that people producing those items might be children, or adults subjected to forced labor.
Among them, a Chinese company that makes baby pajamas sold at Costco, and rubber gloves used by surgeons made by a Malaysian company that sells to the U.S. subsidiary of Ansell, an Australian protective gloves manufacturer.
The U.S. importers say they don’t condone forced labor and that they plan to investigate. And the foreign firms deny labor abuse.
The orders, issued by Customs and Border Protection on Oct. 1, are used to hold shipping containers at the U.S. ports of entry until the agency can investigate the claims of wrongdoing.
Kroger, Walgreens to stop selling e-cigarettes in US
NEW YORK (AP) — Two major retailers say they will no longer sell e-cigarettes in the U.S. amid mounting health questions surrounding vaping.
Supermarket chain Kroger and drugstore chain Walgreen announced Monday they would discontinue sales of e-cigarettes at their stores nationwide, citing an uncertain regulatory environment.
The vaping industry has come under scrutiny after hundreds of people have fallen ill and at least eight have died after using vaping devices.
Walmart announced last month that it would stop selling e-cigarettes at its stores nationwide.
Kroger said it would stop selling e-cigarettes as soon at its current inventory runs out at its more than 2,700 stores and 1,500 fuel centers. The Cincinnati-based company operates the Ralphs, Harris Teeter and other stores. Walgreens, based in Deerfield, Illinois, operates more than 9,500 stores in the U.S.
Samsung predicts profit decline as chip market swoons
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics is predicting its operating profit for the last quarter will fall by more than half from a year earlier amid sluggish global demand for computer chips.
The South Korean technology giant estimates an operating profit of 7.7 trillion won ($6.4 billion) for the July-September quarter, which would be a 56.2% drop from the same period last year.
The company says its third quarter revenue likely rose 5.3% from last year to 62 trillion won ($52 billion).
South Korea’s biggest company is suffering from the slowdown in its core industry, though analysts say the demand will likely revive as next-generation networks are rolled out.
Samsung is the world’s biggest maker of semiconductors and smartphones, but it has struggled with falling prices for DRAM and NAND memory chips since late last year. The situation was made worse by U.S. sanctions against China’s Huawei Technologies, a major purchaser of Samsung’s chips.
HBO orders 2 new seasons of Axios news series
NEW YORK (AP) — HBO has ordered two new seasons of its Sunday night news program modeled after the Axios website, which has produced newsmaking interviews with presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and business leaders Elon Musk and Tim Cook.
The decision, announced on today, means 12 episodes each year in 2020 and 2021.
“Axios on HBO” wraps up its second season with four new episodes that begin on Oct. 20.
Axios’ daily newsletter concentrates on politics, business and technology with an emphasis on brevity, which producers Matthew O’Neill and Perri Peltz use as models for the TV show.
HBO turned to Axios for a news series after its deal for a daily news show produced by Vice was not renewed.