Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian markets mixed after US-China trade deal

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed today following a U.S.-Chinese trade deal that disappointed some investors.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite Index was up less than 2 points and Tokyo’s Nikkei was flat. Seoul’s Kospi was off less than 2 points.

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Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 1.8% and India’s Sensex opened down 5 points.

On Wall Street Friday, the week ended with small gains to record highs for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq composite index.

Technology companies, which rely heavily on China for sales as well as parts, led the gainers Friday, outweighing losses in banks, energy stocks and elsewhere.

The S&P 500 index added less than 0.1% to an all-time high of 3,168.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up less than 0.1% to 28,135.38. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.2% to 8,734.88.

MEXICO-US-TRADE

Mexico trade negotiator: We’ll never accept US ‘inspectors’

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s trade negotiator for North America said Sunday that Mexico categorically opposes allowing foreign labor inspectors to operate in the country, saying that was not contemplated in the recent agreement with Washington and Ottawa on the USMCA pact to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Jesús Seade was flying to Washington to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (LYT’-hy-zur) and U.S. lawmakers to express his country’s “surprise and concern” over language in implementation legislation introduced Friday in the U.S. Congress calling for the posting of up to five labor attaches to monitor Mexico’s labor reform.

Seade, an undersecretary in the Foreign Relations Department, said on Twitter that while the proposed attaches exact functions are not yet clear, “Mexico will NEVER accept them if it is in any way about disguised inspectors, for one simple reason: Mexican law prohibits it.”

BRITAIN-BREXIT-ELECTION

No letup for UK lawmakers: Johnson presses ahead with Brexit

LONDON (AP) — There will be no letup for U.K. lawmakers worn out after Britain’s bruising election campaign. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to begin “before Christmas” the push to secure Parliamentary approval for his Brexit deal.

Buoyed by its landslide victory in Thursday’s election, Johnson’s Conservative government plans to move fast to make good on his campaign mantra to “get Brexit done.” That means ensuring legislation known as the Brexit withdrawal agreement bill is passed in time for the U.K. to complete its historic departure from the European Union by the current deadline of Jan. 31.

Conservative Party lawmaker Rishi Sunak on Sunday told the BBC that Brexit-enabling legislation will be “back to Parliament before Christmas.”

The Conservatives won 365 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. Labour took 203 seats, its worst total since 1935. With a Conservative majority of 80, the tortured wrangling that has been a hallmark of Brexit debates since Britain’s 2016 referendum on its EU status should be consigned to history.

BOEING-737 MAX PRODUCTION

Report: Boeing considers cutting production of 737 Max

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing may cut production of the grounded 737 Max jet or temporarily stop making it after being told that its timetable for a return to the skies was not realistic, according to a published report Sunday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing’s board would consider the moves at a meeting that began Sunday and would run into Monday. The newspaper, citing people it did not identify, said management is increasingly seeing production cuts as a viable option.

Boeing wouldn’t comment to The Associated Press Sunday night, but the company repeated a previous statement that it continues to work with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and global regulators on the Max, which was grounded in March after deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people.

The report came just days after a senior FAA official told legislators that Boeing is pushing for an unrealistically quick return of the Max and that there is a perception the company is pressuring the regulator.

The grounding of the Max is costing Boeing and airlines billions.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-UTILITY

California utility scrambles to renegotiate wildfire deal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s opposition to Pacific Gas & Electric’s restructuring plan is forcing the nation’s largest utility to go back to the negotiating table and come up with a solution quickly.

Just last week, the San Francisco-based company struck a $13.5 billion settlement with thousands of people who lost homes, businesses and family members in a series of devastating fires that drove PG&E into bankruptcy.

The utility filed an amended reorganization plan after striking a settlement with the victims. But Newsom said Friday the plan didn’t go far enough in addressing what he considers its most important elements: providing safe and reliable power to PG&E customers.

Now, the company has until Tuesday to appease Newsom and get him to sign off on the plan. 

RAPIDLY RISING RENTS

Phoenix grapples with some of nation’s fastest-rising rents

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix has some of the nation’s fastest-rising rents as people abandon the cold winters in the Midwest or flee high housing costs in California.

Rents are outpacing salaries in the fifth-largest U.S. city. Someone needs to earn nearly $20 an hour to afford an average two-bedroom apartment in the Phoenix area.

Advocates say the average Arizona renter now earns about $17 an hour, while the minimum wage is $11. Rising rents is a problem seen in cities nationwide.

The metro areas of Miami; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as Washington, D.C.; Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, are among others with rapidly soaring rents.

And many areas don’t have enough affordable housing going back a decade to the Great Recession.

Advocates say more initiatives are needed to create affordable housing, like a nonprofit financial institution that provides loans to build apartments for working families along the city’s light rail.

HALLMARK-GAY ADS PULLED

In reversal, Hallmark will reinstate same-sex marriage ads

NEW YORK (AP) — The Hallmark Channel, reversing what it called a “wrong decision,” said Sunday it will reinstate same-sex marriage commercials that it had pulled following a complaint from a conservative group.

The earlier decision by Crown Media, Hallmark’s parent company, to pull several ads for the wedding planning site Zola featuring two brides kissing at the altar had caused a storm of protest on social media. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner criticized the move and the hashtag #BoycottHallmark was trending on Twitter at one point.

Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry called the decision “wrong” and the firm has seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused”.”

IFF-DuPONT

IFF to merge with DuPont Nutrition and Biosciences unit

NEW YORK (AP) — International Flavors and Fragrances is merging with DuPont’s Nutrition and Biosciences unit in a $26.2 billion deal that would form a new company.

The deal announced Sunday would give DuPont shareholders 55.4% of the new company’s shares, while IFF shareholders will get 44.6%. When the deal closes, DuPont will get a $7.3 billion cash payment, the companies said in a statement. The deal, unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, values the combined enterprise at $45.4 billion.

The companies’ statement said the new entity would be a global leader in the food and beverage, home and personal care, and health and wellness markets. It would have an estimated 2019 revenue of more than $11 billion and pretax earnings of $2.6 billion, the statement said.

FARMERS UNION-PRESIDENT RETIREMENT

Retiring Farmers Union president: Family farms still viable

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson is retiring after a lifetime of farming and advocating for agriculture.

Johnson says trade wars, climate change and corporate consolidation have made times tough for U.S. farmers and ranchers. But Johnson sees promise with a growing number of people who are returning to farming’s roots with smaller family run operations aimed at consumers “who want to know where their food is coming from.”

The 66-year-old has led the Washington, D.C- based farm group since 2009.

He’s stepping down when his current term ends next year. Before leading the group, Johnson was North Dakota’s agriculture commissioner.

BANGLADESH-FACTORY FIRE

Fire in Bangladesh factory kills at least 10

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — At least 10 people have been killed in a fire at a factory outside Bangladesh’s capital, the second deadly factory fire in the area in less than a week.

The fire broke out in the Luxury Fan Factory in the Gazipur area outside of Dhaka.

A fire official says 10 bodies were recovered after firefighters brought the blaze under control. He says several people were injured but provided no exact figures.

It was not immediately clear how many workers were inside the factory when the fire began or what caused the blaze.

On Wednesday, a fire in a plastic factory near Dhaka killed at least 15 people.

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