Asian stocks lower amid uncertainty over US-China trade
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly lower today amid uncertainty about a possible U.S.-Chinese agreement to roll back tariffs in their trade war.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 0.6%. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.3%.
Seoul’s Kospi sank 0.3% and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was off 2 points. New Zealand gained while Taiwan and most Southeast Asian markets declined.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 gained 0.3% to a record 3,085.18. It was up 0.7% at one point. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.7% to a record 27,674.80.
The Nasdaq composite finished just shy of its all-time high after rising 0.3% to 8,434.52.
Report raises questions about autonomous vehicle road tests
DETROIT (AP) _ Documents released this week by a federal agency raise questions about whether a self-driving Uber SUV that ran down a pedestrian last year should have been allowed on public roads for test purposes.
A report from the National Transportation Safety Board on a 2018 crash that killed an Arizona woman found that Uber’s self-driving system didn’t consider jaywalkers. Experts say that could mean more regulation is needed before testing is allowed on public roads.
The board will determine the cause of the crash and make safety recommendations at a meeting in Washington on Nov. 19.
GAP CEO stepping down
NEW YORK (AP) _ Gap says CEO Art Peck is stepping down as the company continues to grapple with slumping sales. Peck, who has been CEO since 2015, will be temporarily replaced by Gap’s non-executive chairman of the board Robert Fisher. Peck will also step down from the Gap’s board.
The company is in the midst of splitting into two publicly-traded companies, one for its Old Navy brand and another for the Gap, Banana Republic and its other brands.
The San Francisco-based retailer on Thursday also cut its earnings outlook for the year, and said sales at the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy fell in the most recent quarter.
Shares of The Gap Inc. slid 10% in after-hours trading Thursday.
Michael Bloomberg opens door to 2020 presidential campaign
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg is opening the door to a 2020 presidential campaign. Bloomberg announced earlier this year that he would not seek the Democratic nomination. But in a statement Thursday, his political adviser Howard Wolfson says Bloomberg is worried that the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates is “not well positioned” to defeat President Donald Trump.
A Bloomberg adviser says the former mayor has not made a final decision on whether to run. But he is expected to file to get on the ballot in Alabama’s presidential primary.
^NRA Vs SAN FRANCISCO
NRA drops lawsuit over San Francisco’s ‘terrorist’ label
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The National Rifle Association has withdrawn its lawsuit against San Francisco over the city’s resolution labeling the gun-rights group a “terrorist organization.”
Lawyers for the NRA filed a notice of dismissal Thursday in U.S. District Court of Northern California.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement that he’s pleased the organization “backed down on its frivolous lawsuit” to silence the politically liberal city.
The NRA’s lawyer, William A. Brewer III, said in a statement that the group had achieved its goals.
The resolution contends the lobby uses its power to incite gun owners to acts of violence. It was nonbinding and did not require the city to investigate vendors’ ties to the NRA as the organization claimed.
Officials responding to oil spill from cargo ship in Hawaii
HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says a cargo ship has spilled oil into Honolulu Harbor.
The Coast Guard says local and federal officials were working on cleanup Thursday after a 433-foot container ship spilled oil a day earlier during a fueling operation.
It is not immediately clear how much oil spilled or how much fuel the vessel holds. It’s owned by the U.S. shipping company Matson Inc.
Absorbent material was placed around the ship and about 120 gallons of oil has been recovered so far.
A Coast Guard flight confirmed oil has leaked outside a containment area and is washing ashore across the harbor on Sand Island. Officials say there are no reports of wildlife being injured.
German airline Lufthansa’s crews on strike for 2nd day
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s flagship airline, Lufthansa, has canceled hundreds of flights as a strike by cabin crews enters its second day.
Some 600 flights, primarily from the Frankfurt and Munich hubs, were canceled Friday, the dpa news agency reported. On the first day of the 48-hour strike, 700 flights were canceled.
Lufthansa says some 180,000 passengers have been affected.
The UFO union called the strike as part of a bitter dispute with Lufthansa over pay and the union’s legal status.
Even though the strike is set to end today the airline says some Saturday flights will be affected because aircraft and crews need to be returned to their correct locations.
UFO represents some 21,000 Lufthansa crews.
European Commission president: US auto tariffs not expected
BERLIN (AP) — Outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (zhahn-KLOHD’ YUN’-kur) says he does not think U.S. President Donald Trump will impose new tariffs targeting European automobiles.
The Trump administration has already imposed tariffs that have hit European Union steel, aluminum and agricultural products, and is due to decide next week whether to impose tariffs on Europe’s massive automobile exports.
The previous tariffs have already provoked retaliation from the 28-country trade bloc, and auto tariffs could significantly escalate tensions.
The EU and Washington are seeking to conclude a trade agreement by mid-November to defuse the situation.
Juncker told a Germany newspaper (Sueddeutsche Zeitung) today: “Trump will complain a bit, but he will not impose any automobile tariffs.”
Juncker said, “He will not do it.” And he said, “You’re talking with a fully informed person.”
Japanese automaker Honda reports profit drop as sales slip
TOKYO (AP) — Honda has recorded a 6.7% decline in July-September profit as vehicle and motorcycle sales slipped and an unfavorable exchange rate hurt earnings at the Japanese automaker.
Honda Motor Co. reports fiscal second quarter profit totaled 196.5 billion yen ($1.8 billion), down from 210.7 billion yen the previous year.
Quarterly sales declined 2.9% to 3.7 trillion yen ($34 billion) as auto sales declined in the U.S., Japan, the rest of Asia and Europe.
Honda, which makes the Odyssey minivan and Asimo robot, said higher income tax expenses also hurt results.
The Tokyo-based company lowered its full year profit forecast through March 2020, to 575 billion yen ($5.2 billion) from the 645 billion yen ($5.9 billion) given in August, and below the 610 billion yen earned the previous fiscal year.
Chinese company in vaccine scandal declared bankrupt
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese maker of rabies vaccine that was fined 9.1 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in a product quality scandal that set off a crackdown on the industry says it has been declared bankrupt.
Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Ltd., which lost its production licenses last year, says in a statement that a court issued the ruling after concluding the company was insolvent and couldn’t pay its debts.
Revelations that authorities failed to act immediately after finding the company might have falsified production records led to an outcry among a public already upset over deaths and injuries due to fake or shoddy medicines, milk, toys and other products.
Regulators say Changsheng Life Sciences used expired materials, mixed different batches of products and failed to test them properly. They say the company destroyed records to conceal its misconduct.