World shares advance…EU Brexit negotiator still sees hope
UNDATED (AP) – Shares advanced in world markets today as investors watch for developments in Britain’s trade talks with the European Union and on a new round of aid for American businesses and workers. In early trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.1% higher, while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.9%. Germany’s DAX picked up 0.8%. U.S. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.3% higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.7%. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.3%. Wall Street looks set for gains, with the S&P and Dow futures higher.
BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier says he still has the firm belief that a Brexit trade agreement is possible, and has whittled the outstanding disputes to be settled ahead of the New Year to just two. Barnier says the nine-month negotiations have come down to finding settlements on fair-competition rules and fishing rights, no longer mentioning issue of the legal mechanisms for resolving future disputes that also long dogged the negotiations. Both sides are teetering on the brink of a no-deal Brexit departure, but have committed to a final push ahead of Jan. 1, when a transitional period following Britain’s Jan. 31 departure from the bloc is to end.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. government agencies were ordered to scour their networks for malware and disconnect potentially compromised servers after authorities learned that the Treasury and Commerce departments were hacked in a monthslong global cyberespionage campaign discovered when the prominent cybersecurity firm FireEye learned it had been breached. FireEye would not say who it suspected. But many experts believe the operation is Russian given the careful tradecraft. FireEye says foreign governments and major corporations were also compromised. Federal agencies have long been attractive targets for foreign cyberspies. A Kremlin spokesman says Russia had “nothing to do with” the hacking.
UNDATED (AP) – A quarterly survey by the Bank of Japan shows business sentiment has improved sharply with expectations that the economy is recovering from a year-long recession. The BOJ’s poll of business confidence shows rebounds in all categories, both manufacturing and non-manufacturing companies, large and small. The main measure of business conditions of large manufacturers rose to minus 10 from minus 27, while business sentiment among large non-manufacturers such as service industries rose to minus 5 from minus 12. The actual results were better than forecast. The survey measures corporate sentiment by subtracting the number of companies saying business conditions are negative from those responding they are positive.
HONG KONG (AP) – China’s market regulator has fined Alibaba Group and a Tencent Holdings-backed company for failing to seek approval before proceeding with some acquisitions. Regulators also have launched a review of a merger of two online streaming platforms in the latest tightening of controls over the online industry. In a statement, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation says it fined Alibaba and China Literature, an online publisher and e-book company spun off by Tencent $76,500 (500,000 yuan) each, the maximum penalty. The moves come amid stepped up scrutiny of monopolistic behavior in the internet sector.