Markets mixed after Trump-Biden debate; data lifts China
UNDATED (AP) — Stocks were mixed in Asia on Wednesday after the debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, with little sign the clash did much to sway investors.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.4%, but fell back from a 2.1% gain earlier in the morning. The Shanghai Composite index surged 0.6%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 1.2%, while the S&P/ASX 200 skidded 2.0%. Markets were closed in South Korea. Shares fell in Thailand and Indonesia but rose in Taiwan and Singapore.
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Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index fell 16.13 points to 3,335.47, after rallying the day before. The Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.5%, to 27,452.66, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 0.3%, to 11,085.25.
UN chief cites pandemic’s ‘unprecedent toll’
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief says the COVID-19 pandemic has taken “an unprecedent toll” especially on the economies of many developing countries and the world has not responded with “the massive and urgent support those countries and communities need.”
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that in the United States, Canada, Europe and most of the developed world, governments have adopted packages valued in double-digits of GDP to help tackle the coronavirus crisis and its impact.
Guterres is urging the international community to increase resources to the International Monetary Fund, including through a new allocation of special drawing rights and a voluntary reallocation of existing special drawing rights. He says many countries urgently need debt relief and he’s calling for the current debt suspensions to be extended and expanded to all developing and middle-income countries that need help.
Disney to lay off 28,000 at its parks in California, Florida
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. is planning to lay off 28,000 workers in its theme parks division in California and Florida.
The company has been squeezed by limits on attendance at its parks and other restrictions due to the pandemic.
Officials said Tuesday that two-thirds of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers but they ranged from salaried employees to hourly workers.
Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen as the company awaits guidance from the state of California.
Unfriendly skies: Airline workers brace for mass layoffs
DETROIT (AP) — About 40,000 workers in the airline industry are facing layoffs on Thursday unless Congress comes up with another aid package.
Many are worried about how they’ll pay for rent, mortgages and food, or for health insurance.
A clause in the $25 billion aid package to airlines at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from laying off workers. But that clause expires on Thursday.
Some workers are holding out hope that another agreement can still be reached. Congress has been considering a second round of airline aid for weeks, but it’s hung up in the debate over a larger national relief package.
Walmart looks to airports as inspiration of new store layout
NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is getting inspiration from the airport terminal as it revamps the layout and signage of its stores to speed up shopping and better cater to smartphone-armed customers.
The nation’s largest retailer says the look, which includes signs with bold dimensional typeface spotlighting sections, is currently in one store. It will be rolled out to 200 stores by early next year. It will add another 800 stores by early 2022.
Walmart says was working on a new store layout a year ago. But the pandemic accelerated those efforts as customers are increasingly focused on contactless shopping amid safety concerns.
UK pushes on with EU-reviled law as Brexit talks go to wire
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union and British negotiators are seeking last-minute compromises on topics from fishing rights to state rules in a belated attempt to broker a rudimentary post-Brexit trade deal.
But the atmosphere was soured by U.K. lawmakers voting late Tuesday to let their government wriggle out of commitments it already made to the 27 remaining EU members.
A bill that breaches the legally binding divorce agreement between the two sides passed its last major hurdle in the House of Commons on a 340 to 256 vote. The EU has threatened legal action over the bill.
Time is short for the two sides to mend fences. A Brexit transition period ends Dec. 31.
Closing date of GM-Nikola partnership may be delayed
DETROIT (AP) — Shares in electric truck startup Nikola fell more than 7% after General Motors cast doubt on whether a $2 billion partnership would close as scheduled.
GM says the deal has not closed and discussions with Nikola are continuing.
A news release from when the deal was announced said the companies expect to finalize it before Wednesday.
A regulatory filing by Nikola says either side can end the deal if it doesn’t close by Dec. 3.
Under the partnership announced Sept. 8, GM would get an 11% stake in Nikola in exchange for engineering and building Nikola’s Badger pickup truck. But on Sept. 20, Nikola founder and Chairman Trevor Milton resigned after a short-seller accused the company of fraud. Nikola denied the allegations.
Survey: China’s factory, export activity gain in September
BEIJING (AP) — A survey shows China’s factory activity accelerated in September as the economy gradual recovered from the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic.
A monthly purchasing managers’ index issued by the Chinese statistics agency and an industry group rose to 51.5 from August’s 51 on a 100-point scale where numbers above 50 show activity increasing.
A measure of new export orders rose to 50.8 from the previous month’s 49.1, its first time in positive territory since the pandemic began. China, where the outbreak began in December, was the first economy to shut down and the first to reopen factories and other businesses in March.
TRUMP TAXES-PAYBACK OPTIONS
Trump facing devastating debt load? Experts say not so fast
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump reportedly must pay back more than $300 million in loans over the next four years, raising the possibility his lenders could face an unprecedented situation should he win a second term and not be able to raise the money: foreclosing on the leader of the free world.
But financial experts say the notion of Trump going broke anytime soon is farfetched.
Even with a total debt load of more than $1 billion, they note he still has plenty of assets he could cash in, starting with a portfolio that includes office towers and golf courses valued at $2.5 billion.
$215M in BP oil spill money to restore Louisiana marshes
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana will get nearly $215 million in BP oil spill money for two projects that will restore more than 4,600 acres of marsh and other habitat in the New Orleans area.
Gov. John Bel Edwards says work on the projects should begin next year. Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority President Chip Kline says each will set a record. He says the 2,800 acres to be created in St. Bernard Parish will be the largest area ever bid by the agency. He says one in Plaquemines Parish will use the largest amount of dredged material.
The money is from BP’s $8.8 billion settlement for natural resources damage in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.
1 killed, 1 injured in shooting at Florida Amazon facility
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida say a woman has been killed and a man hospitalized following a shooting at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says it responded to the center Tuesday night, where deputies found the woman dead at the scene. The man has been taken to a hospital with injuries that haven’t been detailed.
Police say early findings show the two may have been in a “domestic relationship.” Investigators think they were both Amazon employees. This is the second shooting outside the Amazon facility this year. In June, a targeted shooting left one person dead and two others wounded.
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