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US & World

Update on the latest in business:

^FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mixed on new US-China trade jitters

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares advanced today despite fresh concerns over a report that cast doubt on the prospects for a long-term U.S-China trade deal.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite jumped 0.9%. In South Korea the Kospi climbed 0.8%. In Australia, the S&P ASX/200 inched up 0.1%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.3% after a survey of purchasing managers showed factory activity contracting in October.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index fell 0.3% to 3,037.56. The benchmark index is on track for its fourth-straight weekly gain and is now up 21.2% this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.5% to 27,046.23.

The Nasdaq slid 0.1%, to 8,292.36. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks lost 0.7%, to 1,562.45.

^ECONOMY-JOBS REPORT

US jobs data to show whether hiring is still fueling growth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government’s October jobs report being released today will help show whether hiring remains a key source of strength for an economy that’s been weakened by trade wars and a global slowdown.

It will also provide a glimpse of whatever short-term damage the now-settled strike against General Motors inflicted on the economy.

Analysts surveyed by data provider FactSet have forecast that employers added 90,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate ticked up from 3.5% to 3.6%, still near a 50-year low.

The predicted gain is an artificially low one because of the GM strike. The strike is thought to have caused roughly 60,000 idled workers to be temporarily counted as unemployed during October.

^PENTAGON-CLOUD CONTRACT

Pentagon awaits possible Amazon challenge over cloud deal

UNDATED (AP) _ Amazon must decide soon if it will protest the Pentagon’s awarding of a $10 billion cloud computing contract to rival Microsoft. One possible grievance: the unusual attention given the project by President Donald Trump.

Amazon was long thought to be the front-runner in the competition for the huge military contract. Its Amazon Web Services division is far ahead of second-place Microsoft in the market for cloud computing and has experience handling highly classified government data.

Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, have been frequent targets of Trump’s criticism. Trump publicly waded into the fray in July when he asked the Defense Department to take a closer look at the bidding process.

An appeal, however, might be a long shot for Amazon.

^CHINA-ECONOMY

China’s economy struggles as consumers tighten belts

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese consumers are tightening their belts and causing a slump in demand that is a bigger threat to economic growth than a trade war with Washington.

Communist leaders are counting on consumers to power the economy, replacing trade and investment. But they are jittery over the tariff war with President Donald Trump and possible job losses.

That hurts sales of cars, real estate and other big-ticket items and helped to cause economic growth to slump to a multidecade low of 6% in the latest quarter.

That is challenging Beijing’s determination to shore up slumping growth without resorting to stimulus spending that might drive up already high debt levels.

^ASEAN

ASEAN meet spotlights advances in trade, sea pact, and rifts

NONTHABURI, Thailand (AP) — Southeast Asian leaders meeting this weekend in Bangkok are making last-minute efforts with wealthier neighbors led by China to conclude talks on one of the world’s largest free-trade accords.

They will also praise progress in talks on a nonaggression pact in the disputed South China Sea, where China is accused of intimidating smaller neighbors. But intractable differences, often hidden behind handshakes, have stymied such efforts by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

President Donald Trump is skipping the event in a palpable absence that could be viewed in the region as a snub. He is instead sending national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Manila-based analyst Richard Heydarian says Trump’s absence, due to troubles at home, plays into concerns over American commitment to the region.

^HALLOWEEN SNOWFALL-CHICAGO FLIGHTS

CHICAGO (AP) _ Snow has forced the cancellation of more than 300 flights at Chicago’s international airports on Halloween.

Chicago’s Department of Aviation reports that Midway cancelled 126 flights Thursday morning and delays of 18 minutes. O’Hare cancelled 208 and reported average flight delays of 54 minutes. National Weather Service also said the day was marked by strong winds and high waves along the city’s Lake Michigan shoreline.

The Chicago Tribune reports that some northern Illinois communities have called off trick-or-treating.

Shipshewana and Wolcottville in northwestern Indiana postponed trick-or-treating to Friday.

^FORD-UAW CONTRACT

Deal gives Ford workers $9K signing bonus; plant will close

DETROIT (AP) — A person briefed on the matter says workers will get $9,000 signing bonuses if they ratify a new four-year contract with Ford, but the company will be able to close a factory in the deal.

The person, who didn’t want to be identified because the contract hasn’t been explained to workers, says Ford will close an engine plant in Romeo, Michigan, north of Detroit. The factory’s 600 union workers will be offered buyouts or jobs at a transmission plant in nearby Sterling Heights.

Ford reached a tentative four-year contract agreement with the United Auto Workers union Wednesday night. The union says it secured over $6 billion in product investments at U.S. factories.

Local union leaders will meet in Detroit Friday to hear an explanation of the contract terms.

^UAW OFFICIAL EMBEZZLEMENT

A top United Auto Workers officer faces embezzlement charges

DETROIT (AP) — A high-ranking United Auto Workers official is facing felony charges of embezzlement and fraud, and prosecutors say several top union officials conspired to steal more than $1.5 million from the union.

Prosecutors outlined the charges against Edward N. Robinson in a filing Thursday in federal district court in Detroit. Robinson is president of a UAW council in Missouri.

According to the filing, Robinson and six other top UAW officials conspired since 2010 to embezzle funds through schemes such as submitting false vouchers for conference expenses.

The Detroit News, citing sources familiar with the investigation, said one of the unnamed UAW officials is union President Gary Jones.

A UAW spokesman says the union takes any allegation of misuse of union funds very seriously.

Associated Press

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