Global markets mixed … Online holiday sales up over 18% … Independent contractor law coming to CA
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets were mixed today after Wall Street rose amid optimism that U.S.-Chinese trade relations are improving. In early trading, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.4% and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.2%. London’s FTSE was off 4 points. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index was off 2 points and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.2% and Seoul’s Kospi added 0.3%. Wall Street is expected to open higher today, with Dow and S&P futures both up 0.2%.
NEW YORK (AP) – More people did their shopping online this year during one of the shortest holiday shopping seasons in years, helping to push total sales higher. Early data from Mastercard SpendingPulse says retail sales in the U.S. rose 3.4% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 compared with last year. Online sales rose at a faster pace, up 18.8% from last year. Online shopping made up nearly 15% of total retail sales.
TOKYO (AP) – Japan has revised a roadmap for the cleanup of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, further delaying the removal of thousands of spent fuel units that remain in cooling pools. It’s a key step in the decadeslong process, underscoring high radiation and other risks. The government and the plant operator still keep a 30- to 40-year completion target.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – A South Korean court has rejected a request to arrest a key ally of President Moon Jae-in who is being investigated over allegations of corruption and power abuse, saying he was unlikely to flee or destroy evidence. But in a rare comment on a suspect who has yet to be convicted, the court has stated that the case of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk involved criminal acts of bad nature. Prosecutors say Cho while serving as Moon’s civil affairs secretary in 2017 blocked a government inspection into corruption allegations surrounding an official close to Moon’s party.
NEW YORK (AP) – A California law that makes it harder for companies to treat workers as independent contractors takes effect next week, forcing small businesses in and outside the state to rethink their staffing. The law puts tough restrictions on who can be independent contractors or freelancers rather than employees. Supporters say it addresses inequities created by the growth of the gig economy, including the employment practices of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft that use contractors.