Update on the latest in business:
Asian stocks sink after Trump threatens more China tariffs
BEIJING (AP) – Asian stocks sank today after President Donald Trump threatened more tariff hikes on Chinese imports if talks aimed at ending a trade war fail to produce an interim agreement.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4% and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 sank 0.9%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 2%.
South Korea’s Kospi retreated 0.9% and Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 sank 0.8% lower. Taiwan, New Zealand and Singapore also declined.
Yesterday on Wall Street the benchmark S&P 500 index rose past the 3,100 level for the first time, but the gains didn’t hold. The index ended up 0.2% at 3,091.84.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unchanged at 27,691.49. The Nasdaq gained 0.3% to a record 8,486.09.
Powell to testify before Congress as Fed pauses rate cuts
WASHINGTON (AP) – Two weeks after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for a third time this year, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is due to testify in Congress about the U.S. economic outlook.
The Fed signaled after its Oct. 29-30 meeting that it would probably hold off on any further cuts as long as the economy stays healthy and inflation moves closer to the Fed’s target of 2%.
The three cuts, which lowered the interest rate the Fed controls to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%, were intended to offset drags from slower global growth and the U.S.-China trade war. Powell and other Fed officials have said they believe the cuts are working, as lower borrowing costs have encouraged more Americans to buy homes and splurge on appliances and electronics.
Truckers file 1st suit contesting California gig economy law
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The California Trucking Association has filed what appears to be the first lawsuit challenging a sweeping new labor law that seeks to give wage and benefit protections to workers in the so-called gig economy, including rideshare drivers at companies such as Uber and Lyft.
The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday contends that the legislation violates federal law and would deprive more than 70,000 independent truckers of their ability to work.
The law set to take effect in January makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees, who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits such as workers compensation.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez says she expected legal challenges from groups she says want to “delay justice for workers.” Her office says it’s apparently the first such lawsuit.
Army’s use of TikTok app raises concerns on Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Army’s use of a China-owned video app called TikTok as part of a new campaign to recruit young people into the service is raising concerns on Capitol Hill.
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy asking about potential national security risks posed by the social media platform.
Schumer said national security experts have raised concerns about TikTok’s collection and handling of user data, including personal information, locations and other content. And he noted that Chinese laws compel companies to cooperate with China’s government and intelligence collection.
His comments came in the wake of broader U.S. interest in TikTok, which is used by millions of young adults and teenagers.
Defendants in opioid case say politico’s input not needed
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson says there’s no need for a judge who ordered the drugmaker to pay $572 million to help clean up Oklahoma’s opioid crisis to let several of the state’s Republican leaders intervene in the case.
In a brief filed Tuesday, attorneys said the attempt by Gov. Kevin Stitt, House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat to intervene is “unnecessary, redundant and unpersuasive.”
The three politicians filed an amicus brief last month asking the judge to consider that additional payments from the company might be needed in the future to help abate the opioid crisis.
District Judge Thad Balkman in August ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million to Oklahoma. The judge has not yet released his final order.
PG&E confronts potential showdown over its bankruptcy plan
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom is stepping up pressure on Pacific Gas & Electric to fork over billions more in cash to pay thousands of people who lost homes in wildfires that drove the utility into bankruptcy.
The rising tensions were scheduled to be aired out in a bankruptcy court hearing Wednesday, but it was abruptly postponed on Tuesday to Nov. 19.
The delay could allow the sides to negotiate a compromise on PG&E’s blueprint for its financial revival.
If PG&E doesn’t make changes, Newsom is threatening to try to turn the utility into a customer-owned cooperative run by the state and local governments.
The company so far has defended its proposal as a fair deal for all parties involved in its bankruptcy.
DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE-EXPANSION
Tribe to argue against expansion of Dakota Access pipeline
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members have long maintained that a leak in the Dakota Access oil pipeline would threaten their Missouri River water supply, and on Wednesday they will argue that a new proposal to double the line’s capacity magnifies the probability of a disastrous oil spill.
North Dakota regulators will hold a hearing in Linton, a town of 1,000 along the pipeline’s path. The Public Service Commission will take comments from tribe members and other pipeline opponents in the community near where a pump station would be placed to increase the line’s capacity from 600,000 barrels per day to as much as 1.1 million barrels. A barrel is 42 gallons.
Texas-based Energy Transfer proposed expanding its pipeline in June to meet growing demand for oil shipments from North Dakota, without the need for additional pipelines or rail shipments.
Musk says Tesla to build new factory near Berlin
BERLIN (AP) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he plans to build a new factory near Berlin.
News agency dpa reports that Musk made the announcement during a prizegiving ceremony in the German capital Tuesday evening.
Musk said that the plan is for the factory to be built near Berlin’s new airport, which is just outside the city limits in neighboring Brandenburg state and currently slated to open next year after years of delays.
Musk writes on Twitter that the new plant “will build batteries, powertrains & vehicles, starting with Model Y.”
Regional officials in Berlin and Brandenburg welcome the announcement.
WYNN RESORTS-SPYING LAWSUIT
Wynn Resorts wants court to toss ex-salon chief spying claim
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Wynn Resorts wants a Nevada judge to dismiss an ex-beauty salon director’s lawsuit alleging company executives invaded his privacy and spied on him after he spoke publicly about sexual misconduct allegations against former casino mogul Steve Wynn nearly two years ago.
A Dec. 10 hearing has been scheduled before Clark County District Court Judge Ronald Israel on the bid to toss out the civil conspiracy lawsuit that hairstylist Jorgen Nielsen filed in October against Wynn Resorts, company chief Matt Maddox and two former top officials.
In documents filed Friday, the company does not deny responsibility for a person Nielsen identified as an “undercover operative” who posed as a customer after Nielsen moved to another job at another resort. But Wynn Resorts says Nielsen wasn’t harmed.
PAULA DEEN RESTAURANT CLOSINGS
2 Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen restaurants close in Florida
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) – Two Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen locations have closed in the Florida Panhandle.
Paula Deen Ventures spokesman Jaret Keller confirmed Tuesday that licensing partner Phoenix Hospitality has decided to close its Destin and Panama City Beach restaurants.
Keller says Paula Deen Ventures is planning to work with the landlords to consider reopening them next spring.
Two other Paula Deen restaurants operated by Phoenix Hospitality in San Antonio and Fairview, Texas, closed over the summer. All four locations had opened within the past two years.
Messages left for Phoenix Hospitality weren’t immediately returned.
The Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen website still lists locations in Branson, Missouri; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Restaurants are also set to open in Foley, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee.
Keller says Phoenix Hospitality is not involved with any of those locations.