Update on the latest in business:


Asian shares mixed as Japan says economy contracted in 3Q

UNDATED (AP) — Shares are mixed in Asia, with the specter of inflation weighing on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo and Seoul but fell in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Japan reported that its economy contracted in the July-September quarter amid tighter pandemic restrictions that hit consumer spending. China reported a mixed bag of data, with stronger retail sales and factory output but weaker housing prices and investments in fixed assets.

On Friday, stocks closed higher on Wall Street but the market still ended the week lower. The recent winning streak for stocks, which produced a series of record highs for the major indexes, has come to an end as investors shift their focus from corporate earnings to rising inflation.


Japan-US launch talks to resolve dispute over tariffs

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. and Japanese officials have agreed to launch talks aimed at settling a dispute over American tariffs on imports of Japanese steel and aluminum. The agreement came in a meeting between visiting U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Japan’s industry minister, Koichi Hagiuda.

Japan hopes to convince Washington to lift tariffs imposed during President Donald Trump’s administration.

The U.S. recently resolved a similar dispute with the European Union. The two sides also issued a statement saying they will set up the “Japan-U.S. Commercial and Industrial Partnership.”

The Commerce Department and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said they are “committed to working through JUCIP to strengthen the competitiveness, resiliency, and security of both economies.”


Japan’s economy contracts on shrinking consumption, exports

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s economy shrank at a 3% annual rate in the July-September quarter, as private consumption and auto production took a hit from efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan’s gross domestic product, which measures the value of a nation’s products and services, declined 0.8% from the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office said Monday.

The annualized rate is how much the economy would have grown or contracted had the one-quarter rate continued for a year.

The world’s third largest economy grew 0.4% in April-June and shrank 1.1% in January-March.

Japan has never had a coronavirus lockdown. But it has periodically asked businesses to close or limit hours under “states of emergency.” It has also encouraged social distancing.

A shortage of computer chips and other parts necessary for vehicle production has been a serious problem for months because of lockdowns in Asian nations that produce them.


China stock exchange for entrepreneurs launches in Beijing

BEIJING (AP) — A stock exchange set up in the Chinese capital to serve entrepreneurs has opened trading with 81 companies amid a crackdown on tech giants that has wiped more than $1 trillion off their market value abroad. The Beijing Stock Exchange joins others in Shanghai and the southern city of Shenzhen.

Mainland exchanges are mostly off-limits to foreign investors.

The ruling Communist Party has promised more support for entrepreneurs who generate wealth and jobs but is tightening control over tech companies and pressing them to invest their own money in promoting Beijing’s industry plans.

Investors have knocked more than $1 trillion off the value of Tencent Holding and other tech giants on Wall Street and the Hong Kong exchange.


White House confident Biden’s bill will pass House this week

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s top economic adviser is expressing confidence the White House’s $1.85 trillion domestic policy package will quickly pass the House this week. Consumer prices have soared 6.2% over the last year, the biggest 12-month jump since 1990. Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, acknowledged that prices may not fully return to a more normal 2% level until next year due to the lingering effects of COVID-19, but he said the measure will go a long way toward “lowering costs for American families.”

He also says he’s confident the bill will “be fully paid for” and says he thinks that it’s “actually going to reduce deficits over the long term”.

The House has been moving toward approval of the massive Democrat-only bill, even as the bill faces bigger challenges in the Senate over cost.

House centrists say they will vote for the package as early as this week if an upcoming Congressional Budget Office analysis affirms White House estimates that the bill is fully paid for. The measure would be covered with changes to corporate taxes, such as a new corporate minimum tax, while raising taxes on higher-income people.

On Friday, Pelosi wrote Democratic members reaffirming her plan to push ahead soon, noting that CBO estimates released so far on pieces of the plan have been consistent with White House projections.


Washington seeks over $38 billion from opioid distributors

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is taking the state’s case against the nation’s three biggest drug distributors to trial Monday. Ferguson had rejected a half-billion-dollar settlement offer. He says they must be held accountable for their role in the opioid crisis.

But his gamble isn’t without risk, as a loss by three California counties in a similar case this month demonstrates. The attorney general’s office sued McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. in 2019, alleging they made billions off the opioid epidemic by shipping huge amounts of prescription painkillers into the state even when they should have known those drugs were fueling addiction.

The companies deny wrongdoing.

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