Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares rebound from initial losses on virus count

TOKYO (AP) — Shares rebounded in Asia today after an early sell-off, though Tokyo’s benchmark declined as investors reacted to reports of a growing number of cases of a new virus in Japan and China.

The Nikkei 225 finished 0.6% lower. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.3%.

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India’s Sensex inched down 0.1%. Shares were higher in Taiwan but mixed in Southeast Asia.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index dropped 0.2%, to 3,373.94 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.4% to 29,423.31. The Nasdaq edged 0.1% lower, to 9,711.97. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.3% to 1,693.74.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT-HUAWEI

US brings new charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chinese company Huawei (WAH’-way) is disputing the allegations that they a plotting to steal trade secrets, calling them “without merit.”

The Justice Department has added new criminal charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei and two of its U.S. subsidiaries. The U.S. is accusing the company in a plot to steal trade secrets.

Huawei is also accused of installing surveillance equipment that enabled Iran to spy on protesters during 2009 anti-government demonstrations in Iran, and of doing business in North Korea despite U.S. sanctions there.

The superseding indictment, brought by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, adds to the company’s legal woes in the U.S. It adds charges of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to steal trade secrets to an existing criminal case in New York, where the company already faces charges of lying to banks about deals that violated economic sanctions against Iran. And, Federal prosecutors in Seattle have brought a separate trade secrets theft case against the company.

CHINA OUTBREAK-WORKING AT HOME

China’s virus crackdown leaves millions working at home

BEIJING (AP) — China has told employees who can work from home to stay there while the government fights a virus outbreak with the most extreme anti-disease measures ever imposed. That is forcing millions of people, from lone entrepreneurs to employees of global automakers, to connect with customers and co-workers and keep businesses functioning by phone and email. At the same time, many are looking after children who are cooped up at home after schools were closed indefinitely.

China’s vast manufacturing industries cannot function without workers in factories. But as some businesses reopen, Beijing has told anyone who still can work from home to stay there.

One positive is that many employees already were equipped to work from home due to China’s almost universal adoption of smartphones, the internet and messaging and video call services, including the popular WeChat operated by Tencent Holdings Ltd.

SPIRIT AIRLINES-TENNESSEE

Spirit Airlines moving operations center to Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Spirit Airlines and Tennessee officials say the low-cost carrier is moving its operations control center from Miramar, Florida, to Williamson County, Tennessee. The plan represents an investment of $11.3 million and will bring 345 jobs to Tennessee over the next five years. Spirit will move more than 240 positions from Florida to Tennessee.

The center handles flight dispatch, crew scheduling, maintenance control, aircraft routing, air traffic control coordination and other aspects of the business.

Spirit entered the Nashville market in October with nonstop flights to several cities.

AMERICAN AIRLINES-ALASKA AIRLINES

American and Alaska strike deal around Seattle flights

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are deepening their ties in Seattle, where both carriers compete against Delta Air Lines. Along with the agreement, American said Thursday that it will launch two new international routes out of Seattle — one to India’s technology hub of Bangalore, and another to London. No U.S. airline currently flies to Bangalore. American and Alaska will share revenue from the flights. They are betting that corporate travelers from companies including Amazon will snap up seats.

Alaska is also joining oneworld, one of the three global alliances that dominate the airline business. American is already a member.

American said it will also launch Seattle-London service next year and could add other international destinations from Seattle.

DIET DRUG-RECALL

Weight loss drug Belviq pulled from market over cancer risk

UNDATED (AP) — The weight loss drug Belviq (BEL’-vihk) is being pulled from the market because of a slight increased risk of cancer. The drug’s maker said Thursday it is voluntarily withdrawing the drug at the request of the Food and Drug Administration. The company, however, says it disagrees with the FDA’s interpretation of new data on the drug’s safety. and it still believes the drug’s benefit outweighs the risk. The FDA said patients should stop taking Belviq immediately and told doctors to notify their patients although the agency said no special cancer screening is needed for anyone who took the drug.

Belviq was approved in 2012, roughly the same time that a couple other promising weight loss drugs hit the market. None became the blockbusters they were expected to be, but they offered an option for the many people struggling with excess weight or obesity and related health problems.

A recently completed FDA analysis of the data from that study showed 7.7% of participants who took Belviq were diagnosed with cancer, slightly more than the 7.1% who developed cancer in a comparison group given dummy pills.

TRUMP-OPPORTUNITY ZONE

Trump’s story about veteran’s comeback was not quite true

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s story in his State of the Union address about a homeless vet who turned his life around thanks to a company using the administration’s “Opportunity Zone” tax breaks was not completely true. Tony Rankins, who was in the House chamber for the speech at Trump’s invitation, landed a job refurbishing a Nashville hotel and moved into an apartment months before a final list of neighborhoods eligible for the tax breaks was published.

Rankins doesn’t work at a site taking advantage of the breaks now either, and never has, though his boss says he will work at a property making use of the program next month. 

As it turns out, there is a tax break that Rankin’s boss has tapped to employ the homeless and others like him. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit gives as much as $10,000 in tax credits to employers who hire homeless and others with difficulty finding jobs.

That benefit was passed in 1996 when Bill Clinton was president.

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