TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street following talks between the United States and China on the status of a deal meant to work as truce in their trade war.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei finished less than 0.1% lower. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7%. South Korea’s Kospi inched down less than 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.1% lower, while the Shanghai Composite shed 1.5%.
Stocks were mixed on Wall Street Tuesday, but gains were strong enough for tech companies and other pockets of the market to carry the S&P 500 to its fourth straight gain and another record high.
The benchmark index rose 0.4% to 3,443.62, even though slightly more stocks within it sank than rose. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%,to 28,248.44, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.8% to 11,466.47.
UN council rejects US demand to `snap back’ Iran sanctions
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The president of the U.N. Security Council has rejected the Trump administration’s demand to restore all U.N. sanctions on Iran. The move drew an angry rebuke from U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft, who accused council opponents of supporting “terrorists.”
Indonesia’s ambassador to the U.N., whose country currently holds the rotating council presidency, made the announcement at a virtual council meeting.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted last Thursday that the U.S. has the legal right to “snap back” U.N. sanctions, even though President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between six major powers and Iran.
US crackdown on nonessential border travel causes long waits
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Trump administration crackdown on nonessential travel coming from Mexico amid the coronavirus pandemic has created massive bottlenecks at the border.
Drivers have reported waits of up to 10 hours to get into the United States. U.S. citizens and legal residents cannot be denied entry under a partial travel ban the government introduced in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But Customs and Border Protection is shifting resources to create longer waits on weekends, when nonessential travel is heavy.
Going to work, school and medical appointments are deemed essential travel but going to shop, dine or socialize is not.
Secretive Palantir lifts veil before Wall Street stock sale
BOSTON (AP) — Palantir Technologies has shed a good deal of its trademark secrecy about its business in a filing ahead of its selling stock on Wall Street. The data-mining company has deep ties to U.S. intelligence and military agencies. Like many other Silicon Valley companies, Palantir will be going public without ever turning a profit.
In filings with the Security and Exchange Commission Tuesday, Palantir presented a first public look at its financials — which included $580 million in losses last year — and its heavy reliance on government contracts.
It also indicated it is on track to exceed $1 billion in annual revenues. It cited revenues of $481 million for the first half of 2020, up 49% from the year-ago period.
The company said its 2019 revenues of $746 million were up 25% from the previous year.
US-INSIDER TRADING CHARGES
Ex-pharmaceutical company boss faces insider trading charges
NEW YORK (AP) — The former head of a pharmaceutical company has been arrested in California on insider trading charges. Sepehr Sarshar was charged Tuesday with fraud. Authorities said he provided inside information in 2015 about a pending buyout offer to his friends and family so they could trade securities in a pharmaceutical company he had founded.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said Sarshar’s friends and family made nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. Sarshar was a founder and board member of Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Sarshar is a 53-year-old Encinitas, California, resident.
He was released on $1 million bail after appearing in San Diego federal court.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NURSING HOMES
New COVID-19 mandates on health care facilities get pushback
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is getting pushback from hospitals and criticism from nursing homes after issuing new COVID-19 requirements backed by threats of funding cuts and fines.
To check the spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it will require facilities to test staff regularly or face fines.
Officials also issued a new reporting mandate for hospitals. It included a thinly veiled threat to cut off Medicare and Medicaid funds to facilities that fail to send in certain COVID-19 data daily to the federal Health and Human Services department.
Long-term care facilities represent less than 1% of the U.S. population, but they account for 42% of the COVID-19 deaths, with more than 70,000 fatalities reported by the COVID Tracking Project.
SQUAW VALLEY-NAME CHANGE
California ski resort changing name, citing offensive word
TAHOE CITY, Calif. (AP) — Officials say California’s popular Squaw Valley Ski Resort will change its name because the word “squaw” is a derogatory term for Native American women.
The site was the scene of the 1960 Winter Olympics.
RoIn Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadow, says the decision was reached after consulting with Native American groups and extensive research into the etymology and history of the term “squaw.”
It derived from the Algonquin language and may have once simply meant “woman.” But over generations, the word morphed into a misogynist and racist term to disparage Indigenous women. The new name is expected to be announced next year.