Financial News

April 6, 2018
AP Newswatch
April 6, 2018
Financial News


Update on the latest in business:




Asian markets rise amid uncertainty over US-China trade spat



BEIJING (AP) – Asian stock markets rose today amid uncertainty about an escalating U.S.-Chinese tariff dispute after President Donald Trump said a settlement was possible but his advisers said other nations might add to pressure on Beijing.



Trump said Washington and Beijing can settle their tariff dispute but his new economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said a “coalition of the willing” – including Canada, much of Europe and Australia – was being formed to pressure China. Kudlow said while Washington hoped to avoid taking action, Trump “was not bluffing.” Beijing and Washington have threatened to raise tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other’s goods. Trump said the U.S. list might be increased by an additional $100 billion of goods, which prompted China’s government to say it would “counterattack with great strength.”



On Wall Street last week, stocks fell on jitters about the possible impact of the tariff dispute on U.S. exporters. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 2.3 percent to 23,932.76. It is down 10 percent from its record high in late January. The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 2.2 percent to 2,604.47. The Nasdaq composite slid 2.3 percent to 6,915.11.



Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose but remained below $62.50 per barrel. The dollar edged up against the euro nd was little-changed against the yen.






Child advocates ask FTC to investigate YouTube



UNDATED (AP) – A coalition of child advocates and consumer groups is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google’s YouTube service for improperly collecting kids’ data and targeting ads to them.



YouTube has become widely popular among children despite its terms of service that block users under age 13. A formal complaint being filed Monday says Google’s practices violate a federal child privacy law.



Child advocates and consumer groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and impose potentially billions of dollars of penalties on Google.



YouTube’s business model relies on tracking IP addresses, search history, device identifiers, location and other personal data about its users so that it can gauge their interests and tailor advertising to them. But that model isn’t supposed to work for U.S. children, who are protected by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. That’s a 20-year-old law that prohibits internet companies from knowingly collecting personal data from kids under 13 without their parents’ consent.



The coalition accuses YouTube of violating COPPA and deliberately profiting off luring children into what Chester calls an “ad-filled digital playground” where commercials for toys, theme parks or sneakers can surface alongside kid-oriented videos.



YouTube said in an emailed statement that it “will read the complaint thoroughly and evaluate if there are things we can do to improve. Because YouTube is not for children, we’ve invested significantly in the creation of the YouTube Kids app to offer an alternative specifically designed for children.”






Congress back from break with to-do list to keep Trump happy



WASHINGTON (AP) – The Republican majority in Congress was on a glide path to the midterms, having passed tax cuts into law and backed off budget battles with a year-end funding package. But President Trump was not impressed.



Trump started picking apart some GOP accomplishments, including the big budget bill, and complaining that others, namely his border wall, remained undone.



Now, Congress returns from spring break Monday scrambling to compile a to-do list that will satisfy a president they desperately need to be promoting their achievements, not undermining them, as they prepare to hit the campaign trail.



But strategists say belittling lawmakers and badgering them to work doesn’t help instill voter confidence in Republicans already facing an enthusiasm gap with Democrats fired up to go to the polls. They need Trump on their side, not piling on.



The problems between Trump and Congress, festering for months, spilled into the open when the president toyed with vetoing the $1.3 trillion funding bill he thought spent too much money on Democratic priorities and not enough on his, including the border wall.



While Congress was away, Trump started talking about rescinding some of that money, working with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on a do-over package that would force lawmakers into another round of budget votes this spring or summer. Aides say it remains under discussion, aides said.






Report: Airlines getting better in key areas except delays



UNDATED (AP) – U.S. airlines are getting better at many things except getting you to your destination on time.



They are losing fewer bags. Complaints are down.



And on the anniversary of a man getting dragged off a plane because a crew member needed his seat, airlines are bumping fewer passengers.



That’s the upshot of a report issued by academics who analyze numbers compiled by the Transportation Department.



The authors were scheduled to release ratings on the top dozen or so U.S. airlines later Monday.



The industrywide on-time performance – never great – declined a bit last year, when 80.2 percent of flights arrived within 14 minutes of schedule, which is the government’s definition of on time. That was down from 81.4 percent in 2016.



Customer service hit bottom when Chicago airport officers bloodied and dragged a 69-year-old man off a United Express plane. An airline employee had called security to go on board and make room for a crew member commuting to work. Video of the incident was played countless times online and on television.



Complaints lodged with the Transportation Department dropped too, although most aggrieved travelers complain directly to the airline – carriers don’t report those numbers.



Mergers have left consumers with fewer choices.






Business and economic reports scheduled for today



WASHINGTON – There are no major government economic reports due out today.



However, the Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for March tomorrow.



Also on Tuesday, the Commerce Department reports on wholesale trade inventories for February.






Trump suggesting China will ‘take down’ its trade barriers



WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is suggesting China will ease trade barriers “because it is the right thing to do” and Washington and Beijing can settle disputes that have rattled financial markets, consumers and businesses.



A new Trump tweet doesn’t explain why he’s optimistic about resolving an escalating trade clash between the world’s two biggest economies.



Trump says he and Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) “will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade.”



Trump insists “China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!”



The U.S. is pushing for a crackdown on what it says is China’s theft of U.S. intellectual property.






China bans exports to North Korea of weapons-related goods



BEIJING (AP) – China has tightened trade controls on North Korea by banning exports of electronics and other goods that can be used in making weapons.



The ban announced late Sunday is part of U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed to press the government of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to stop developing nuclear and missile technology.



The latest ban covers “dual use” industrial components, metal alloys and other materials that can be used in both civilian products and weapons.



China accounts for nearly all of the isolated North’s trade and energy supplies.



Beijing has imposed limits on oil sales and cut deeply into the North’s foreign revenue by ordering North Korean businesses in China to close, sending home migrant workers and banning purchases of its coal, textiles, seafood and other exports.






Deutsche Bank calls new CEO a ‘strong’ leader



BERLIN (AP) – Deutsche Bank says its new chief executive officer “has proven himself a strong and disciplined leader” in his more than 25 years there.



Longtime executive Christian Sewing was appointed chief executive officer on Sunday, succeeding John Cryan, who’ll leave the German bank at the end of April.



The bank’s supervisory board says it’s convinced Sewing and his team will be able to successfully lead it “into a new era.”



Cryan took over in 2015 and pushed to cut costs, streamline computer systems and leave less profitable businesses and regions. But the bank lost $903 million last year.



The bank’s supervisory board thanks Cryan for his relatively brief tenure as CEO. It says a comprehensive analysis led to the conclusion it needed “a new execution dynamic” in its leadership.






American Airlines announces big order for Boeing jets



DALLAS (AP) – American Airlines is ordering 47 new Boeing jets with a combined list price of $12.3 billion to replace some of its oldest planes.



Terms are not being disclosed. Airlines routinely get big discounts on planes.



American is also canceling an order with Boeing’s European rival, Airbus, that was made by US Airways before it merged with American, and delaying delivery of 40 other Boeing planes.



American announced the moves Friday. It ordered two sizes of Boeing’s 787, a two-aisle jet. They are scheduled to join American’s fleet beginning in 2020.



The first arrivals will replace Boeing 767 jets, and later deliveries starting in 2023 will replace Airbus A330 and older Boeing 777 jets in American’s fleet.



American already has 35 787s, which it flies on international routes.






Average price of US gas rises 8 cents, to $2.74 a gallon



CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) – The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline shot up 8 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to $2.74.



Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday the increase was driven primarily by rising crude oil prices.



The current gas price is 30 cents above where it was a year ago.



The highest average price in the contiguous 48 states was $3.63 in the San Francisco Bay area. The lowest was $2.37 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.



The average price for diesel fuel rose three cents, to $3.04.






‘A Quiet Place’ roars at box office with $50M debut



NEW YORK (AP) – John Krasinksi’s “A Quiet Place” has opened with a thunderous $50 million in ticket sales for the year’s second-best debut after “Black Panther.”



The Paramount Pictures thriller far exceeded expectations to land one of the top opening weekends for a horror release. Directed by Krasinski, and starring him and real-life wife Emily Blunt, “A Quiet Place” is a badly needed hit for Paramount. It’s the studio’s best non-franchise opening since 2014’s “Interstellar.”



Steven Spielberg’s virtual-reality adventure “Ready Player One” slid to second with $25.1 million in its second weekend.



The R-rated comedy “Blockers” also shrugged off a recent comedy slump in theaters for a solid $21.4 million debut. The film, about parents trying to keep their daughters from losing their virginity, stars Leslie Mann and John Cena.






Facebook to notify on Cambridge Analytica data misuse Monday



NEW YORK (AP) – Facebook will begin alerting users whose private data may have been compromised in the Cambridge Analytica scandal starting Monday.



All 2.2 billion Facebook users will receive a notice on their feeds titled “Protecting Your Information.” It will have a link to information on which Facebook apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps.



In addition, 87 million users whose data might have been shared with Cambridge Analytica will get a more detailed message informing them of that fact.



The political data-mining firm allegedly used ill-gotten Facebook user data in its efforts to sway elections. Cambridge Analytica says it only ever received data on 30 million users.



Also, Facebook says it has suspended a Canadian political consulting firm amid media reports it had ties to Cambridge Analytica.



Facebook says AggregateIQ may have improperly received data from Facebook users. AggregateIQ will lose all Facebook access.



AggregateIQ says it isn’t part of Cambridge Analytica or parent firm SCL. It says it didn’t have access to Facebook data from Cambridge Analytica.






Despite DeVos help, for-profit colleges yet to see a rebound



WASHINGTON (AP) – The for-profit college industry is struggling under the weight of declining enrollment, stiff competition from traditional universities and an image battered by past misdeeds – despite a boost the Trump administration.



Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (dih-VAHS’) has hired several industry insiders and frozen Obama-era rules that would have increased protections for students.



Steve Gunderson, president of Career Education Colleges and Universities, says the administration is trying to find a balance between students and schools.



But Washington University law professor Kathleen Clark sees an industry embraced by the Trump administration.



Student enrollment at most four-year for-profit colleges fell in 2017 to about 901,000, down nearly 69,000 from the year before. That’s according to data compiled by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. It’s a downward trend that began in 2010.






Pipeline spill in South Dakota twice as big as first thought



ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) – A crude oil spill from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota last November has turned out to be nearly twice as big as first reported.



A spokeswoman for pipeline owner TransCanada tells the Aberdeen American News that around 407,000 gallons spilled onto farmland when the pipeline broke near Amherst in Marshall County on Nov. 16. TransCanada had originally put the spill at 210,000 gallons.



The new number would make the spill the seventh-largest onshore oil or petroleum product spills since 2010, as reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation.



Repairs have since been made and the cleanup is done. TransCanada resumed using the pipeline 12 days after the leak.



The Keystone Pipeline carries oil more than 2,600 miles from Alberta, Canada, to Oklahoma and Illinois.