Asian markets mixed ahead of central banks’ rate decisions
SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed today as caution set in ahead of interest rate decisions by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 eased 0.7% while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng picked up 0.9% and the Shanghai Composite index was 0.1% lower. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 added 0.6%. Shares rose in Taiwan and in most of Southeast Asia.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index edged 0.1% higher to 2,889.67 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also rose 0.1% to 26,112.53. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.6% to 7,845.02. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks added 0.7% to 1,532.75.
Fed committee meets for 2 days
UNDATED (AP) _ The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee will hold a two-day meeting starting today.
Traders will keep a close watch on a policy statement, to be released Wednesday, and a news conference held by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell shortly after that.
Powell will likely stick to the theme of a speech he made earlier this month: That the Fed will act if it thinks the Trump administration’s trade conflicts are threatening the U.S. economy.
^NATIONAL GAS PIPELINE-PROJECT
Land swap may allow pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A land swap with the federal government could allow a developer to install a natural gas pipeline that crosses the Appalachian Trail.
The Roanoke Times reports details of the deal were disclosed Monday in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The U.S. Department of the Interior could allow the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail in exchange for property that Mountain Valley owns next to the Jefferson National Forest.
The developer plans to cross the trail at the top of Peters Mountain, near the Virginia-West Virginia line. The pipeline is expected to be more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) long.
Several federal agencies would have to approve the land swap. The move would push the project’s completion to next year, and increase the cost to $5 billion.
Fire triggers pollution concerns at US Steel coke plant
The second fire in six months at U.S. Steel’s massive coke plant outside Pittsburgh knocked a key pollution control system offline Monday, triggering a health warning as officials monitored the air around the plant for signs of a release of toxic sulfur dioxide.
The Allegheny County Health Department threatened to shut down the plant unless U.S. Steel acts quickly to fix its damaged equipment, while elected officials and environmental groups alike chastised the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker. A Christmas Eve fire in the same area of the plant caused $40 million in damage and significant releases of sulfur dioxide, a pungent byproduct of fossil fuel combustion that can make it hard to breathe.
Brazil’s Odebrecht files for bankruptcy protection
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht says it is filing for bankruptcy protection to restructure $13 billion in debt.
Odebrecht sent a statement Monday saying it filed the request for bankruptcy protection that same day. The debt restructuring is one of the largest ever filed in Brazil.
Odebrecht has been at the center of Operation Car Wash, the country’s largest-ever corruption investigation that revealed a kickback scheme between politicians and construction firms that had become systematic in Brazil.
In December 2016, Odebrecht and one of its petrochemical subsidiaries pleaded guilty and settled with authorities in the U.S., Brazil and Switzerland on a $3.5-billion fine.
^SPORTS ILLUSTRATED-LICENSING DEAL
Small media company to run Sports Illustrated for new owner
NEW YORK (AP) — The company that recently bought Sports Illustrated has found someone to run it: a small media company called Maven.
Authentic Brands Group bought Sports Illustrated from publishing giant Meredith last month. At the time, the companies said Meredith would run the magazine and the SI.com website for at least two years under a licensing deal.
But in a filing Monday, Maven said it has a licensing deal for Sports Illustrated magazine and the website. It says Ross Levinsohn, former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, would be CEO of the licensed business.
Maven says its deal runs through 2029 and may be renewed. Terms were not disclosed, but Maven paid $45 million up front.
Meredith said in a statement Monday that it has achieved its “goal of a completed transaction.”