Asian shares rise after Wall St rally, strong housing data
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares rose today, cheered by a rally on Wally Street reflecting some optimism over stronger than expected economic data, despite widening coronavirus outbreaks.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished 1.3% higher. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.2%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched up nearly 0.1%. The Shanghai Composite was trading up 0.5%.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 gained 1.5% to 3,053.24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.3% to 25,595.80 and the Nasdaq composite added 1.2% to 9,874.15.
Fed’s program for loaning to Main Street off to slow start
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s Main Street lending program is off to a slow start.
Banks are showing a surprising lack of interest in the program, while businesses are having a hard time accessing it.
Fed officials say more than 200 banks have signed up to participate since the program began two weeks ago, but that’s a small slice of the nation’s roughly 8,000 lenders. And none have made any loans yet.
The Fed has come under criticism from a congressional watchdog for quickly taking steps to ease the flow of credit for large corporations but doing little for smaller companies.
New Zealand cancels 2021 APEC summit, will lead it virtually
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand has canceled its plans to host a major meeting of U.S. and Asian leaders next year because of the coronavirus, opting instead to lead a virtual summit.
New Zealand was scheduled to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Auckland. The event would have brought thousands of people to the country throughout the year, culminating in a leader’s week in November 2021. APEC focuses on trade issues, although it also provides a chance for world leaders to catch up. Its 21 members include the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
Last year, Chile canceled the APEC leaders’ meeting because of violent anti-government protests. This year Malaysia has been hosting virtual APEC meetings. New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says it was necessary to cancel next year’s summit now for planning and security reasons.
In about-face, Arizona shuts bars, pools again to curb virus
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s governor has ordered bars, nightclubs and water parks to close again for at least a month — a dramatic about-face as coronavirus cases surge in the Sunbelt.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey also ordered public schools to delay the start of the classes at least until Aug. 17. Many districts planned to start the school year in late July or early August. His orders can be extended. Arizona emerged from stay-at-home order in mid-May, but infections have since begun spiking. On Sunday, it reported 3,858 more confirmed coronavirus cases, the most in a single day for the state and the seventh time in recent days that the daily toll surpassed the 3,000 mark.
GOOGLE-MISLEADING VOTER ADS
Google removes misleading ads related to voting, elections
UNDATED (AP) — Google says it has removed misleading and fraudulent ads targeting Americans looking for information about how to vote in November’s presidential election. Some of the ads charged fees for registering people to vote, while others sucked up people’s personal information for marketing purposes. The ads were discovered by the nonprofit tech watchdog Tech Transparency Project.
The group found that search terms such as “register to vote,” “vote by mail” and “where is my polling place” generated ads linking to websites that charge fees for voter registration, harvest user data, or plant unwanted software on people’s browsers. Google says such ads are prohibited on its platform.
SUPREME COURT-CONSUMER AGENCY
Court says president can fire Consumer board head ‘at will’
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a ruling underscoring the power of the president, the Supreme Court on Monday made it easier for the president to fire the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The justices struck down restrictions Congress had written on when the president can remove the bureau’s director. The court’s five conservative justices agreed that restrictions Congress imposed on when the president can fire the agency’s director violated the Constitution.
The decision doesn’t have a big impact on the current head of the agency. Kathy Kraninger, who was nominated to her current post by the president in 2018, had said she believed the president could fire her at any time.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act that created the agency in response to the 2008 financial crisis, the CFPB’s director is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate to a five-year term. The law had said the president could only remove a director for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.”
WarnerMedia puts ‘for sale’ sign on CNN Center in Atlanta
NEW YORK (AP) — WarnerMedia says it will sell the iconic CNN Center in downtown Atlanta, but that it doesn’t mean the network will abandon the city. The network will consolidate its Atlanta workforce in a series of offices across town, the same office campus where CNN was first located upon its founding by Ted Turner in the early 1980s.
The CNN Center has been a mix of offices and retail space. The exit of CNN employees will be a gradual process. The company says it plans to lease the CNN Center offices for five years as its move to the so-called Techwood campus is completed. The sale had been under consideration for some time but was put on hold pending the company’s merger with AT&T.
INDIA-CHINA APPS BANNED
India bans dozens of Chinese apps, citing security reasons
NEW DELHI (AP) — India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, saying their activities endanger the country’s sovereignty, defense and security.
India’s decision comes as its troops are involved in a tense standoff with Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh in the Himalayas that started last month. India lost 20 soldiers in a June 15 clash. The banned apps include TikTok, UC Browser WeChat and Bigo Live, as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein, that are used in mobile and non-mobile devices connected to the Internet.
The Ministry of Information Technology says it has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data.
China factory activity improves in June but exports weak
BEIJING (AP) — A survey shows China’s factory activity improved in June in another sign the economy is gradually recovering after anti-virus controls were relaxed but export demand was weak.
The monthly purchasing managers’ index released by the national statistics agency and an industry group rose to 50.9 from May’s 50.6 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding.
China, where the coronavirus pandemic began in December, was the first economy to reopen. Factory and other activity is reviving but global demand is weak and Chinese consumers, worried about losing jobs, are reluctant to spend.
Musk tells Tesla employees breaking even in 2Q will be tight
PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — With the second quarter almost over, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is telling employees that prospects for the company breaking even for the three-month period are tight, and he’s asking them to go all-out to make it happen.
Tesla is trying to avoid a quarterly loss despite its Fremont, California, factory being shut down for nearly two months due to coronavirus restrictions. The company also has a plant in China. In an email message Monday to the company’s workers, Musk wrote that it “really makes a difference for every car you build and deliver.” Tesla had about 48,000 workers at the end of last year.
Tesla is expected to announce its quarterly deliveries on Thursday, but has not set a date to release its second-quarter financial numbers.