Asian shares mixed as China reports faster growth in trade
UNDATED (AP) — Shares are mixed in Asia today, as investors are encouraged by strong growth in China’s trade in September.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index edged 0.2% higher, while the Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi was almost unchanged. Shares were mixed in Southeast Asia. India’s Sensex picked up 0.2%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1%.
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Yesterday, Wall Street extended its gains from last week’s rally, the market’s best in three months, as investors appeared to largely shrug off the latest signs that Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on the issue of more aid for the economy.
The S&P 500 rose 1.6% to 3,534.22, with Big Tech stocks, including Apple and Microsoft, powering much of the gains. The benchmark is now within 1.4% of its all-time high set Sept. 2.
China’s trade growth accelerates in Sept; exports up 9.9%
BEIJING (AP) — China’s trade growth accelerated in September as the world’s second-largest economy recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.
Customs data show that exports rose 9.9% to $239.8 billion, up from August’s 9.5% growth. Imports gained 13.2% to $202.8 billion, up from the previous month’s 2.1% contraction. Exporters have benefited from China’s relatively early reopening from shutdown to fight the virus and from strong global demand for masks and medical supplies. They have been taking market share from foreign competitors that are hampered by anti-disease controls.
Exports to the United States rose 20.5% to $44 billion despite higher U.S. tariffs in a fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus. Imports of American goods rose 24.5% to $13.2 billion.
2nd COVID-19 vaccine trial paused over unexplained illness
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A late-stage study of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been paused while the company investigates whether a study participant’s “unexplained illness” is related to the shot.
The company says that illnesses, accidents and other so-called adverse events “are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies.” The firm’s physicians and a safety monitoring panel will try to determine what might have caused the illness. Citing the participant’s privacy, no details were released about the illness.
Microsoft attempts takedown of global criminal botnet
UNDATED (AP) — Microsoft announced legal action Monday seeking to disrupt a major cybercrime digital network that uses more than 1 million zombie computers to loot bank accounts and spread ransomware, which experts consider a major threat to the U.S. presidential election.
The operation to knock offline command-and-control servers for a global botnet that uses an infrastructure known as Trickbot to infect computers with malware was initiated with an order that Microsoft obtained in Virginia federal court on Oct. 6. Microsoft argued that the crime network is abusing its trademark.
Cybersecurity experts said that Microsoft’s use of a U.S. court order to persuade internet providers to take down the botnet servers is laudable. But they add that it’s not apt to be successful because too many won’t comply and because Trickbot’s operators have a decentralized fall-back system and employ encrypted routing.
Southwest Airlines to expand in Houston and Chicago in 2021
DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines said Monday it will expand in Houston and Chicago by starting flights to those cities’ largest airports, stepping up its head-to-head competition against bigger airlines.
Southwest already serves smaller airports in both cities — Hobby in Houston and Midway in Chicago. The airline says it expects to return to Houston George Bush Intercontinental, where United is the dominant carrier, and launch service at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, where both United and American Airlines have major operations, in the first half of next year.
The move comes as the airline struggles with a steep drop in travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
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New Mexico governor urged to take stand against nuclear plan
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists and other watchdog groups want New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to create a government agency that would be tasked with keeping the state from becoming a permanent dumping ground for spent nuclear fuel and other high-level waste.
Dozens of groups sent a letter Friday to the Democratic governor. They pointed to Nevada’s past success in mothballing the once-proposed Yucca Mountain waste repository project in that state and asked the governor to consider similar measures to protect New Mexico.
Report: Most exporters do little to prevent foreign bribery
BERLIN (AP) — An anti-corruption watchdog ranks the United States and United Kingdom as the largest exporters most active at enforcing rules meant to prohibit companies from paying bribes in foreign markets, but says many others are doing next to nothing.
Transparency International says that China, the world’s largest exporter, was found to conduct “little or no enforcement,” in a category that also includes India, Japan and Korea. Germany, the world’s third-largest exporter, only conducts “moderate enforcement,” as do other major exporters like France, Italy and Spain.
Transparency recommends exploring increased liability of parent companies for the actions of their foreign subsidiaries.
Disney reorg to further bolster company’s focus on streaming
UNDATED (AP) — Disney says it is reorganizing its business units to focus even more on streaming.
The company said in August that its Disney Plus service has more than 60 million subscribers and subscribers to its main combination of streaming services — Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu — top 100 million. It still plans to launch another international streaming service called Star.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit box-office revenue by closing many theaters. Disney has released several major titles on streaming services that would traditionally have been big draws at the theater, like a live-action remake of “Mulan” and the upcoming Pixar film “Soul” that will hit Disney Plus at Christmas. Americans continue to drop their cable subscriptions, affecting the company’s TV networks.
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