Asian stock markets mixed ahead of US jobs data
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets are mixed after soft U.S. jobs data fueled optimism the Federal Reserve might feel less pressure to wind down stimulus.
Shanghai and Tokyo advanced while Seoul and Sydney declined. Hong Kong was little-changed.
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Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index added 0.1%, pushed up by gains for tech and communications stocks.
The spread of the coronavirus’s delta variant and anti-disease measures have depressed hiring and consumer confidence. But that has reassured some investors that the Fed and other central banks might postpone plans to wind down easy credit and other stimulus that has supported stock prices.
China orders ride-hailing firms to correct unfair tactics
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese regulators have ordered ride-hailing platforms to correct unfair market tactics amid a crackdown on the internet sector that has spooked investors and shaved billions off the valuations of some of China’s biggest technology companies.
Eleven platforms were ordered by year’s end to stop unfair competition tactics and practices such as recruiting unlicensed drivers.
The ride-hailing industry led by Didi Global and Meituan employs millions, and platforms often jostle for market share by offering discounts and incentives.
The Chinese government has expressed concern over the exploitation of such workers, as they often work long days and lack basic welfare benefits. China’s state union in July called for better protection of labor rights and encouraged gig economy workers to form unions to boost protections.
Sector leader Didi has nearly 90% of the market in China, but China’s internet watchdog is investigating alleged data privacy violations.
Moderna, Japan partner recall 1.6 million doses
UNDATED (AP) — Moderna Inc. and its Japanese partner are recalling more than 1 million doses of the U.S. drug maker’s coronavirus vaccine after confirming contamination reported last week was tiny particles of stainless steel.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is in charge of sale and distribution in Japan of the Moderna vaccine.
The two companies say an investigation at a Spanish factory that produced the vials in question concluded the contamination occurred in the process of putting stops on the vials.
The companies last month suspended 1.63 million doses produced at the line after reports of contamination.
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Japanese officials say about a half million people received shots from the vials before the problem surfaced. They do not believe the high-grade stainless steel poses health risks.
What can employers do if workers avoid COVID-19 vaccines?
UNDATED (AP) — More companies are requiring COVID-19 vaccines and taking actions to motivate employees into getting their shots.
It’s legal for businesses to require the shots, and they could fire employees who don’t comply. In other cases, workers might be required to wear masks or get regular tests for the virus. Some companies also are considering making the unvaccinated pay more for their health insurance.
At Delta Air Lines, unvaccinated employees on the company health plan will be charged $200 a month to help cover costs for possible COVID-19 hospital stays.
Employers also might limit business travel or perks like access to the company gym only to the vaccinated. Many businesses also have been offering cash, gift cards and other incentives to workers who get shots.
Ever since Pfizer’s vaccine recently got full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, more employers have started taking a harder stance on vaccination.
Auto maker Stellantis will fill gap by buying a finance arm
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Stellantis, the car company that includes Chrysler and Fiat, is getting into the auto-finance business. Stellantis said Wednesday it agreed to pay $285 million for the parent of First Investors Financial Services Group.
That company is based in Houston, and buying it will give Stellantis the ability to offer in-house loans and leases to customers and provide inventory financing for its dealers.
Stellantis says it’s the only major car maker operating in the U.S. without its own auto-finance company.
Stellantis was formed this year by a merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Peugeot. They figured that combining would help them compete with larger rivals Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault-Nissan as the auto industry goes through enormous technological changes including a shift toward electric vehicles and vehicles with more automation.
China warns Kerry that bad ties could set back climate talks
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned U.S. climate envoy John Kerry on Wednesday that deteriorating U.S.-China relations could undermine cooperation between the two on climate change. Wang told Kerry by video link that such cooperation cannot be separated from the broader relationship and called on the U.S. to take steps to improve ties.
Kerry is in the China for climate talks with his Chinese counterparts. Relations between Washington and Beijing have been strained by disputes over trade, technology and human rights. But they see the climate as an area for possible cooperation.
Beijing has pointed to historical U.S. emissions as a reason to resist action while making advances in solar power and other renewable energy sources. China has set a target of generating 20% of the country’s total energy consumption from renewables by 2025, becoming carbon-neutral by 2060 and reducing total emissions starting from 2030.
President Joe Biden has announced a goal to cut up to 52% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 — double the target set by President Barack Obama in the 2015 Paris climate accord. The 2030 goal vaults the U.S. into the top tier of countries on climate ambition.
FTC orders company to quit surveillance app business
BOSTON (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission has for the first time banned a company making so-called stalkerware from continuing in the surveillance app business. Such software is used to surreptitiously track a cellphone user’s activities and location.
Its use by violent domestic abusers has been well documented. Wednesday’s action applies to the marketer of SpyFone, Puerto Rico-based Support King LLC and its CEO, Scott Zuckerman.
The FTC said stalkerware can secretly obtain unfettered access to someone’s smartphone, leading to serious harm. It said that while marketing SpyFone as a tool to monitor the activities of children and employees, Zuckerman neglected to prevent stalkers and domestic abusers from using it for surveillance.
Under the proposed settlement, SpyFone’s sellers will have to delete all information collected by their stalkerware apps and alert people victimized by the products.
Indonesia seizes tanker believed to carry illicit waste oil
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _Indonesia’s navy has seized a massive tanker believed to be loaded with thousands of tons of wasted black oil and has brought the ship to shore for further investigation. The commander of Indonesia’s western navy fleet says the Panamanian-flagged MT Zodiac Star was located based on a tip about a suspicious tanker.
It was suspected of conducting illicit practices after it was caught with about 4,600 tons of waste oil without port clearance and other proper legal documents. Investigators will hand their findings to the prosecutor’s office.
The Indonesian navy seized another tanker in July after Cambodia accused the ship of stealing crude oil.
Two tankers were seized in January on suspicion of illegally transferring oil in Indonesian waters.
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