BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed today after Wall Street closed lower amid uncertainty about the U.S. economic outlook.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5% and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.3%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.4%.
In Seoul, the Kospi advanced 0.7% while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.1%. India’s Sensex opened 0.5% higher. New Zealand and Bangkok gained while Singapore and Jakarta retreated.
On Wall Street yesterday, the benchmark S&P-500 index lost 0.3%, to 3215.57 after reports including one showing more layoffs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5% to 26,734.71. The Nasdaq composite, which set a record last week, lost 0.7% to 10,473.83.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-CRUISE SHIPS
CDC extends US ban on cruise ships through September
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal ban on cruise ships operating in U.S. territory is being extended through September. The ban was due to expire next week, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the extension on Thursday. The move comes as coronavirus cases are rising in 40 states. Florida, where many cruises start, just had a single-day record of deaths from COVID-19.
The order covers ships that can carry 250 or more passengers. The CDC said cruise ships are more crowded than most urban settings, and even when only essential crew remains on board, the virus continues to spread.
Companies that belong to an industry trade group, the Cruise Lines International Association, had already canceled cruises until Sept. 15 because of ongoing discussions with federal officials over how to restart operations safely. Members of the group include Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
The companies are trying to save cash and borrow more money to survive the pandemic.
The Latest: Arizona extends pandemic moratorium on evictions
UNDATED (AP) — Arizona renters dreading the expiration of a coronavirus-related moratorium on evictions will get a reprieve. Thursday, Gov. Doug Ducey said the ban on evictions would be extended until Oct. 31.
Arizona’s 120-day order had been due to end July 22. It was supposed to ensure people wouldn’t lose their homes if they got COVID-19 or lost their jobs during pandemic restrictions.
Advocates argued it is too early to end the ban.
The news comes as Arizona tallied 3,259 more confirmed coronavirus cases. That is only two more cases than reported the previous day and is far below record days during which the daily count reached almost 5,000
Baseless Wayfair child-trafficking theory spreads online
CHICAGO (AP) – Self-proclaimed internet sleuths are matching up names of Wayfair’s products to those of missing children as part of a bizarre, baseless conspiracy theory that claims the retail giant is using storage cabinets to traffic children.
Mentions of Wayfair and trafficking have exploded on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok over the past week. Even a national human trafficking hotline is suddenly taking calls from tipsters about the imagined scheme.
Yet several of the people whom social media users claim were trafficked through the website are not even missing. Wayfair was forced to respond: “There is, of course, no truth to these claims.”
Yet internet users, social media influencers, fringe online communities and even political candidates have also now seized on the conspiracy theory as evidence of an even grander one, known as QAnon. That debunked theory centers on the belief that President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring.
Barr says US now overly reliant on Chinese goods, services
WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr says the United States has become overly reliant on Chinese goods and services. Examples include face masks, medical gowns and other protective equipment designed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
He’s also accusing hackers linked to the Chinese government of targeting American universities and companies to steal research related to vaccine development.
The attorney general is also cautioning American business leaders against promoting policies favorable to Beijing.
Barr’s address at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is part of a full-court press by the Trump administration to outline what officials see as Beijing’s burgeoning economic threat to the U.S.
Burger King in China apologizes after state TV criticism
BEIJING (AP) — Burger King’s China unit has issued a public apology and promised to cooperate with a government investigation after state TV reported one of the U.S. fast food giant’s outlets used expired ingredients.
The Burger King restaurant in the southern city of Nanchang was criticized on an annual consumer protection program that in past years has highlighted complaints about foreign auto, smartphone and other brands.
State media said regulators in Nanchang, Beijing, Shanghai and other areas ordered inspections of Burger King outlets. Food safety is especially sensitive in China following a string of scandals over tainted, fake or shoddy milk, drugs and other products that injured or killed consumers.