Asian stocks fall back after Wall Street advances to record
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets gave up early gains today after Wall Street turned in its fifth straight weekly gain and China’s manufacturing growth held steady.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8% after a survey showed growth in manufacturing held steady in August at the previous month’s rate. But it later fell back, shedding 0.2%. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 1.1%. The Kospi in Seoul retreated 1.2%.
Friday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 gained 0.7% to 3,508.01. The index gained 3.3% for the week, capping its longest weekly winning streak since December.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 0.6% to 28,653.87. It returned to positive territory for the year.
The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.6% to a record 11,695.63.
ELECTION 2020-POSTAL SERVICE
Postal chief DeJoy has long leveraged connections, dollars
WASHINGTON (AP) — As questions linger about election-year changes to post office operations and service, congressional Democrats are trying to figure out how Republican donor Louis DeJoy came to be hired as postmaster general.
DeJoy wasn’t among the 53 candidates for the job who were initially presented to the U.S. Postal Service board of governors.
Democrats are also focusing on whether Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin played any role in pushing DeJoy for the job.
DeJoy is a businessman who turned his father’s trucking company into a national logistics operator. He’s clashed with labor unions and forged political connections that eased his path into lucrative government contracting.
UNITED AIRLINES-CHANGE FEES
United says it will drop widely scorned ticket-change fees
UNDATED (AP) — United Airlines says it is dropping a controversial $200 fee on consumers who change a ticket for travel within the United States. The airline also says that starting in January, customers can fly standby for free no matter what kind of ticket they bought. United said Sunday that when it hears from customers, getting rid of fees is often their top request.
The moves come as United and other carriers are desperately trying to lure people back to flying, which has dropped sharply during the pandemic.
Airlines are cutting flights and cutting jobs in a bid to survive until air travel recovers.
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-WINE MAKING
Wildfires again threaten business in California wine country
HEALDSBURG, Calif. (AP) — Wildfire has been cruel to Northern California wine country lately. Major fires during three of the past four years have charred vineyards, burned down a historic winery and sent plumes of smoke above the neatly tended rows of vines that roll across the scenic hills. While the majority of vineyards, wine making facilities and tasting rooms that lure tourists have escaped damage, the perception that the area is on fire yet again has not helped business.
Add restrictions on winery tastings and dining during the coronavirus pandemic and winemakers say they are reeling.
Lightning-sparked wildfires west of Sonoma County and east of Napa two weeks ago coincided with the start of the harvest for some grape varieties. That’s much earlier than devastating fires last year and in 2017 that erupted in October, when nearly all the grapes were off the vine and in the process of being converted to wine.
The early fires pose a threat if they persist and heavy smoke blankets the region for several days before grapes are picked. That can lead to “smoke taint,” an undesirable burnt taste in wine made from grapes with skins permeated by smoke.
While Napa and Sonoma counties produce only about 10% of the state’s wine, they have an outsized influence on California’s position as the nation’s leading wine producer. The grapes grown there have the highest value.
Huawei ends sports sponsor deal over Australia ‘trade war’
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Chinese telecom giant Huawei is ending its oldest major sporting sponsorship deal in the world, a nine-year relationship with Australian rugby league team Canberra Raiders.
Huawei says it’s ending the contract with the team because of a “great trade war” between China and Australia.
Australia has barred the world’s largest maker of switching gear and a major smartphone brand from involvement in crucial national communication infrastructure in recent years. China has ratcheted up pressure for Australia to reverse the policy. Huawei will end its financial backing of the Raiders at the end of the current National Rugby League season in October.
Survey: China manufacturing logs feeble growth in August
BEIJING (AP) — A survey shows China’s manufacturing activity held steady in August while domestic demand helped to offset weaker sales in exports markets that are struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.
The monthly purchasing managers’ index released by the Chinese statistics agency and an industry group declined to 51 from July’s 51.1 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate activity increasing. Export orders shrank but at a slower rate.
China, where the pandemic began in December, was the first economy to shut down to fight the virus and the first to try to revive business after the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the disease in March.
China’s top diplomat dismisses European rights concerns
PARIS (AP) — China’s foreign minister defended detention camps in Xinjiang and Hong Kong’s new security law, brushing off concerns by European countries. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on his first European tour since the virus pandemic erupted, seeking to revive trade and diplomatic cooperation.
Speaking in Paris, Wang said those sent to reeducation centers in Xinjiang have been released and placed in employment — even as rights groups and families report on continuing detentions and the loss of contact with loved ones.
Hong Kong’s security law is seen by many as Beijing’s boldest move yet to break down legal barriers between the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Party system.
Wang called both issues internal Chinese affairs and said foreign powers shouldn’t interfere.
BOX OFFICE RESULTS
‘Tenet’ launches with $53M in overseas gambit at box office
NEW YORK (AP) — The first wave of big new movies released since the beginning of the pandemic, including Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” and the long-delayed “X-Men” spinoff “The New Mutants,” arrived in theaters over the weekend, testing the waters of a radically different theatrical landscape. Warner Bros.′
“Tenet” opened with an estimated $53 million overseas in 41 markets, including most of Europe, South Korea and Canada.
Forecasts were hard to handicap but that result exceeded the expectations of most.
While many of Hollywood’s largest productions have postponed their release and others have rerouted to streaming platforms, Warner Bros. gambled that “Tenet” could roll out abroad first, and then gradually debut in the U.S.
So far, it seems to be working. The overseas opening for “Tenet” was greeted by some as proof that blockbuster movie going can be resurrected even while the virus continues to circulate and large indoor gatherings are considered higher risk. As part of their safety protocols, movie theaters are mandating mask wearing, cleaning cinemas in between showings and operating at 50% capacity to distance moviegoers usually crowded shoulder to shoulder.