Update on the latest in business:


Asian shares skid after S&P 500 logs 1st monthly drop of ’21

UNDATED (AP) — Asian markets have tumbled on the tail of Wall Street’s worst monthly loss since the beginning of the pandemic.

Tokyo skidded 2.3% and Australia’s benchmark sank 2.2%. Markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed for holidays.

The S&P 500 ended September down 4.8%, its first monthly drop since January and the biggest since March 2020. It’s still up 14.7% for the year.

A quarterly survey by Japan’s central bank showed business sentiment improving as manufacturers looked ahead to a revival in demand after the government lifted a pandemic state of emergency. But supply chain disruptions are slowing the recovery.


Biden signs bill to avert partial government shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — With only hours to spare, President Joe Biden signed legislation to avoid a partial federal shutdown and keep the government funded through Dec. 3.

Congress had passed the bill earlier Thursday.

The legislation averts one crisis, but efforts to stave off a second crisis seem likely to continue for the next couple of weeks as Democrats and Republicans dig in on a dispute over how to raise the government’s borrowing cap. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says failure to raise the debt limit will lead to a financial crisis and economic recession.


Democrats still struggling to save Biden $3.5T bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite a long night of frantic negotiations, Democrats remain unable to reach an immediate deal to salvage President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion government overhaul, forcing leaders to call off promised votes on a related public works bill.

Action is to resume today.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi had pushed the House into an evening session as the Democratic leaders worked to negotiate a scaled-back plan centrist holdouts would accept. But it appeared no deal was within reach, especially with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, as Biden aides huddled at the Capitol. Manchin held fast to his declaration that he was willing to meet the president less than halfway.


Japan ‘tankan’ survey shows manufacturers upbeat on outlook

UNDATED (AP) A quarterly survey by the Bank of Japan shows sentiment among manufacturers at its highest level in nearly three years. The results of the central bank’s “tankan” survey found sentiment among large manufacturers rose to 18 from 14. The reading for nonmanufacturers edged up only slightly, to 2 from 1.

The world’s third-largest economy was in the doldrums even before the pandemic hit in several waves that have crimped business activity.

Japan on Friday ended a state of emergency in many areas, including Tokyo, after new coronavirus infections began falling.

However, the survey found that shortages of components such as computer chips may hinder the recovery.


Venezuela introduces new currency with 6 fewer zeros

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A new currency with six fewer zeros is debuting in Venezuela, whose currency has been made nearly worthless by years of the world’s worst inflation.

The highest denomination until now was a 1 million bolivar bill that was worth a little less than a quarter as of Thursday. The new currency in use starting today tops out at 100 bolivars, a little less than $25 — until inflation starts to eat away at that as well.

The million-to-1 change for the bolivar is intended to ease both cash transactions and bookkeeping calculations in bolivars that now require juggling almost endless strings of zeros.


Scammers got nearly 30% of Arizona virus unemployment pay

PHOENIX (AP) — Scammers pocketed nearly 30% of the $16 billion in unemployment insurance payments sent out by Arizona since the coronavirus pandemic began. The director of the state agency overseeing the program said Thursday that most of the fraud happened in the first several months of the pandemic.

Federally funded emergency unemployment insurance programs designed to help so-called “gig workers” such as Uber drivers were the main target.

Department of Economic Security Director Michael Wisehart says an estimated $4.4 billion was lost to identity thieves.

Other states also were hard hit by scammers. The U.S. Department of Labor in June estimated that more than $87 billion will have been stolen nationally by early September.


Taiwan’s Foxconn has deal to buy former GM plant in Ohio

UNDATED (AP) — Foxconn Technology Group has struck a deal to buy a massive auto assembly plant in Ohio from a startup electric truck maker. The agreement announced Thursday gives the world’s largest electronics maker an entry into the growing electric vehicle market.

The agreement stands to give Taiwan-based Foxconn, best known for making Apple iPhones, an entry into the growing electric vehicle market, a move it has been looking at for months.

It also brings much-needed funding to struggling Lordstown Motors, which has been under increasing scrutiny over its lack of orders and said last month that it couldn’t guarantee that it will last through the year.


Scarlett Johansson, Disney settle lawsuit over ‘Black Widow’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Scarlett Johansson and the Walt Disney Co. have settled her lawsuit over the streaming release of “Black Widow.” Thursday’s settlement brought a swift end to what began as the first major fight between a studio and star over changing movie rollout plans.

Johansson filed the lawsuit in a Los Angeles court in July, saying the streaming release of the Marvel movie breached her contract and deprived her of potential earnings.

The lawsuit said Johansson’s contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, with her potential earnings tied to the box office performance of the film.

But as it has with other recent releases since the coronavirus pandemic began, Disney released the film simultaneously in theaters and through its streaming service Disney+ for a $30 rental.


Dubai’s Expo opens, bringing first World Fair to the Mideast

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — After eight years of planning and billions of dollars in spending, the Middle East’s first ever World Fair opens in Dubai.

The emirate hopes the months-long extravaganza that opens to the public today draws both visitors and global attention, and as crucially stimulates its tourism-driven economy.

Organizers say 192 nations are represented at the expo. This year’s EXPO 2020 is happening amid a global pandemic and it’s unclear how many tourists will visit after the exhibition was delayed a year due to the coronavirus. Attractions include a replica of the U.S.-made Falcon X rocket, a real royal Egyptian mummy and a towering 3-D replica of Michelangelo’s David.

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