Asia shares mixed after US rally despite rising virus fears
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed today following another rally on Wall Street, tempered by fears over surging coronavirus cases in various parts of the world.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was little changed, closing down less than 0.1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 picked up 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi added 1.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.3%.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.4% and is on pace for its third straight monthly gain. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed to an all-time high for the second day in a row. Bond yields rose, another sign of increasing confidence in the economy.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence heads to Ohio on Thursday for the unveiling of a new all-electric pickup truck built by the startup that took over the General Motors assembly plant shuttered last year.
The Republican vice president plans remarks after the reveal of the Endurance All-Electric Pickup Truck at Lordstown Motors Corp. near Youngstown, Ohio. He’ll also attend an event with law enforcement and community leaders before returning to Washington.
State Democratic Chairman David Pepper calls the visit a “photo op” in an area where Trump failed to keep promises to 1,700 GM workers displaced by the plant’s closure. GM has since built a battery plant near the Lordstown site, employing 1,100 workers.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents the Mahoning Valley, says he welcomes Pence to the region and seeks the administration’s commitment to building a robust electric vehicle market there.
China warns US over actions against 4 more media outlets
BEIJING (AP) — China is warning it will take countermeasures after the U.S. added four more Chinese media outlets to a list of organizations that should be considered “foreign missions” in the United States because of their ties to the government and ruling Communist Party.
A foreign ministry spokesperson attacked the Trump administration’s move as “yet another example of the U.S.’s flagrant political suppression of the Chinese media,” saying it would obstruct their reporting on the U.S. and betray America’s commitment to freedom of the press.
State Department officials say the four organizations, including state-run CCTV, will be required to submit the identities of all staff in the U.S. and any real estate holdings just as they would if they were foreign embassies or consulates.
TRUMP-HEALTH CARE PRICES
White House wins ruling on health care price disclosure
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has won a court ruling upholding its plan to require insurers and hospitals to disclose the actual prices for common tests and procedures in a bid to promote competition and push down costs.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called the decision Tuesday by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., “a resounding victory,” but the hospital industry says it will appeal. Hospitals and insurers say the push for disclosure goes too far. They say the government would force them to publicly disclose rates they negotiate as part of private contracts that normally are beyond the purview of authorities.
That means the decision by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols may not be the final word.
Los Angeles looks to boost ailing legal marijuana market
LOS ANGLES (AP) — Los Angeles is looking to improve how it regulates its struggling legal marijuana industry. The City Council is considering a slate of proposals that come as cannabis companies complain that just about everything costs too much and takes too long in dealing with City Hall. The measures include bolstering programs intended to help operators who suffered during the nation’s long-running war on drugs.
Other proposed changes approved by the Rules Committee would permit businesses to relocate while being licensed, clarify what employees are required to have background checks and streamline the application process.
The city’s top cannabis regulator calls the changes urgent, noting that the industry and the city have been buffeted by the coronavirus crisis, an economic downturn and unrest over racial injustice. Meanwhile, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level and big banks typically refuse to do business with pot companies because of the legal conflict between state and federal law.
Illegal shops continue to flourish in LA, the largest US city will broad, legal pot sales.