Update on the latest in business:


Asian markets mixed after Wall Street high

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed today amid doubts about the status of a U.S.-Chinese trade deal after the U.S. Federal Reserve’s chairman said it is likely to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1% while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.7%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.9%.


Seoul’s Kospi edged up 0.3% while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.6%. India’s Sensex opened up 0.5%. Taiwan and Southeast Asian markets declined while New Zealand advanced.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 3,094.04, a record. The Dow gained 0.3% to 27,783.59, also a record. The Nasdaq dropped 0.1% to 8,482.10.


Navajo company confident about Wyoming, Montana coal bonding

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Navajo tribal energy company officials say they’re confident they can secure necessary bonding for recently purchased coal mines in Wyoming and Montana.

The Navajo Nation president announced Tuesday the tribe would not financially back the bonds for the Navajo Transitional Energy Co., saying they would be risky.

NTEC Governmental and External Affairs Director Steve Grey said Wednesday he’s confident the company can still get the roughly $400 million in bonds.

Grey told reporters by phone the company has enough potential collateral, including a coal mine outside Farmington, New Mexico.

The bonds would ensure the Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines in Wyoming and Spring Creek mine in Montana could be cleaned up if they ever closed.

NTEC bought the mines from Cloud Peak Energy, which is going through bankruptcy.


German economy grows slightly in 3Q, staving off recession

BERLIN (AP) — The German economy returned to modest growth in the July-September period, averting a widely-feared recession.

The Federal Statistical Office says gross domestic product grew 0.1% compared with the previous quarter. It says, however, that the economy in the second quarter contracted 0.2%, greater than the 0.1% previously reported.

Two straight quarters of declining output is a frequently used definition of recession.

A further contraction in the third quarter had been widely expected. Still, the German government’s independent panel of economic advisers said last week there was no sign of a “broad, deep recession” or current need for a stimulus program.

Services companies and the jobs market have held up well in Germany, but the industrial sector, led by automobiles and factory machinery, has seen declines amid trade tensions.


Putin encourages BRICS to collaborate on anti-virus programs

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin tells fellow leaders of the BRICS group of emerging economy nations that he supports more cooperation in information and computing.

He specifically says they should take note of Russia’s advances on anti-virus programs.

Speaking Wednesday at an event for business leaders, Putin also told the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa that Russia has proposed a data-exchange network to help small- and medium-size companies in their nations to find suppliers more efficiently.

Speeches Wednesday night by the five leaders gathered in Brazil’s capital have underscored greater integration to boost the countries’ economic growth.

Chinese President Xi Jinping says mounting protectionism and threats in the world have eroded international trade and investment, weighing down global growth.


South Korean ex-justice minister summoned in financial probe

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean prosecutors have summoned the country’s former justice minister as they expand an investigation into corruption allegations surrounding his family that sparked huge protests.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday confirmed that Cho Kuk arrived at the office for questioning, weeks after the arrests of his wife, brother and another relative over their suspected involvement in financial crimes and faking credentials to help get Cho’s daughter into medical school and obtain scholarships.

Cho resigned as minister last month, citing the burden of the investigation into his family, but has denied legal wrongdoing.

Huge crowds of his supporters and critics have marched in Seoul for weeks, demonstrating how the months long saga has deepened the country’s political divide.


Walmart hires off-duty officers ahead of El Paso reopening

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Walmart has quietly hired off-duty officers at its stores in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman police say targeted Mexicans opened fire in a store in August and killed 22 people.

Walmart plans today to reopen the store where the attack happened and amid ongoing lawsuits over safety. Walmart didn’t have a guard in the store the day of the mass shooting.

A Walmart spokeswoman says the reopening will happen unceremoniously and will follow a brief meeting with employees. She declined comment on security measures.


Motorola flips for its futuristic foldable phone

NEW YORK (AP) — Motorola is bracing for the future by returning to the past. The company is adapting its historical flip-phone design for a smartphone with a foldable screen.

Samsung, Huawei (WAH’-way) and others have phones that fold like a book and offer a double-sized display when unfolded.

Motorola’s new Razr (RAY’-zur) phone, on the other hand, will be smaller than a regular smartphone until unfolded to its full 6.2 inch size. The idea is to make the phone more compact for carrying and storing when folded and not in use.

People have been upgrading smartphones less often as innovation slows down. The phone industry has been looking to foldable screens as a way to revive sales, though they are still niche products.

The phone will launch in the U.S. in January starting at $1,500.


Mexico top court rules e-cigarette sales should be allowed

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s Supreme Court has upheld a challenge to the country’s tobacco law for making it hard to sell e-cigarettes.

Current law allows regulated sales of tobacco products, while at the same time it outlaws “selling, distributing, exhibiting, producing or promoting any object that does not contain tobacco” but whose packaging or design “might identify it with tobacco products.”

The court ruled the law is unconstitutional, saying it violates the rule of fair treatment. The court said Wednesday that sales of e-cigarettes and similar products should be allowed “under the same conditions as products containing tobacco.”

For now, the ruling does not set a nationwide precedent. It applies only to the parties who filed the appeal.


South Africa’s troubled airline cancels flights pre-strike

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s troubled state-owned airline has begun canceling flights after two unions announced their workers would go on strike to protest nearly 1,000 expected job cuts.

South African Airways has warned that the strike that begins Friday morning “endangers the future of the airline.”

The airline has canceled nearly all international and domestic flights it operates on Friday and Saturday after the South African Cabin Crew Association and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa said they would go on strike Friday.

The strike was announced shortly after the airline said it is launching a restructuring process that could affect nearly 950 employees.

The airline says its challenges include insufficient revenue and an aging fleet.

SAA’s international destinations include New York, London, Hong Kong and Frankfurt.

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