Update on the latest business

March 08, 2018 - 3:39 am

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks gain in Asia after China reports surge in exports

BANGKOK (AP) — Share prices rose in Asia on today after China reported its exports surged nearly 45 percent in February from a year earlier.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1 percent higher and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.5 percent. Australia's S&P ASX 200 surged 0.7 percent and the Kospi in South Korea gained 0.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.3 percent and shares were also higher in Southeast Asia.

On Wall Street Wednesday, the S&P 500 index fell as much as 1 percent during the day but finished with a loss of just 1.32 points, less than 0.1 percent, at 2,727. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 0.3 percent to 24,801 and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.3 percent, to 7,397.

TRUMP-TRADE

House GOP asks Trump for reversal on tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is moving ahead with an announcement laying out President Donald Trump's plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

With Trump's official announcement expected Thursday, officials are working to include language in the tariffs that would give the president the flexibility to approve exemptions for certain countries, a move that could ease threats of retaliation.

Trump trade and manufacturing adviser Peter Navarro says the president's planned tariffs for steel and aluminum imports would not immediately apply to Canada and Mexico. Navarro tells Fox Business that Trump intends to sign a proclamation including such a clause favoring the U.S. neighbors.

More than 100 House Republicans are asking Trump to reconsider the plan.The lawmakers say in a letter to the president that tariffs are taxes that make U.S. businesses less competitive and consumers poorer.

CHINA-TRADE

China's February exports surge, trade surplus widens

BEIJING (AP) — China's exports in February surged 44.5 percent over a year earlier while its politically sensitive trade surplus widened amid mounting tension with Washington.

Customs data on Thursday shows export growth accelerated from January's 11.1 percent rate while import growth cooled to 6.3 percent from the previous month's 36.9 percent.

The country's global trade surplus widened to $33.7 billion from January's $20.3 billion.

Beijing faces mounting pressure from the government of President Donald Trump to narrow its trade surplus. Trump has approved higher tariffs on Chinese-made washing machines and some other goods and is considering other possible penalties.

TRAVEL-INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS

Slump in international arrivals to US continued in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — International arrivals to the U.S. declined in September compared with September 2016, continuing a downward trend in inbound tourism.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that 6.1 million international visitors traveled to the U.S. in September, down 5 percent from the same month in 2016. It's the fifth month in a row with fewer arrivals compared to the same month a year earlier.

The preliminary arrivals data from the Commerce Department's National Travel and Tourism Office also shows an overall 3.8 percent decline January to September 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

Visits from Canada bucked the trend, up more than 4 percent in September and for the year.

FACEBOOK-GEORGIA

Georgia gov: Facebook to put $750M data center near Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) — Facebook is investing $750 million over the next five years to build a huge data center outside of Atlanta.

Gov. Nathan Deal held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce that the social media giant's 9th U.S. data center will be built in Newton County, about 45 miles east of downtown Atlanta.

Deal says the data center will lead to the creation of more than 100 full-time jobs. Consisting of two buildings occupying about 970,000 square feet, the center will be powered exclusively with renewable energy. It's expected to be fully operational in 2020.

The Menlo Park, California, company has been adding data centers in the U.S. and internationally to handle a growing amount of photos, videos and digital content from its 2 billion users.

KIDS SUE-CLIMATE CHANGE

Appeals court gives green light to 'climate kids' lawsuit

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal appeals court has given the green light to a lawsuit filed by young activists who say the U.S. government is failing to protect them from climate change.

The lawsuit brought by 21 children and young adults asserts the government has known for decades that carbon pollution causes climate change but has failed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. They are seeking various environmental remedies.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected the government's request for an order directing a lower court to dismiss the case.

Julia Olson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the group will put the federal government's "dangerous energy system and climate policies on trial."

MANNING-PAPA JOHN'S SALE

Manning sold Papa John's stores 2 days before NFL cut chain

DENVER (AP) — Peyton Manning sold 31 Denver-area Papa John's stores last week, two days before the NFL dropped the chain as its official pizza sponsor.

The Denver Post reported Wednesday that Papa John's spokesman Peter Collins confirmed the former NFL quarterback sold his stake to an existing Papa John's franchisee. Manning will remain Papa John's celebrity spokesman and brand ambassador. He wasn't immediately available for comment.

The NFL and Papa John's ended their deal Feb. 27, and the league announced a multiyear marketing deal with Pizza Hut the following day. The NFL's relationship with Papa John's was strained last year when company founder John Schnatter criticized the league's leadership about national anthem protests by players.

COCA-COLA-ALCOHOL

Coca-Cola may get boozy in Japan with bubbly alcoholic drink

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola may be getting into the booze business again by developing a bubbly alcoholic drink in Japan.

The soda maker, best known for Coke, Sprite and Fanta, says it's experimenting with a canned beverage that would be a mix of sparkling water and an alcoholic Japanese drink. The Atlanta-based company declined to say when the drink may launch or what it would be called.

Coca-Cola Co. sold wine about 40 years ago, but got out of that business in 1983. Last year, it launched a line of fruity alcohol mixers in Spain.

JAPAN-ECONOMY

Japan's October-December economic growth revised upward

TOKYO (AP) — Japan reports its economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.6 percent in October-December, much stronger than the initial estimate, thanks to strong domestic demand and private investment.

The revised government data issued Thursday by the Cabinet Office compared with a preliminary estimate of 0.5 percent annualized growth in GDP — the total value of a nation's goods and services.

Revised upward among the data were domestic demand and private investment excluding spending on housing.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing his "Abenomics" program, based on stopping deflation and loosening old-style regulations that have discouraged new and foreign businesses.

He has also pumped in public spending to keep growth going. Critics say Abenomics hasn't helped the poor enough.

JAPAN-VIRTUAL CURRENCIES

Japan penalizes several cryptocurrency exchanges after hack

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government is slapping penalties on several crypotocurrency exchanges in the country, after 58 billion yen ($530 million) of virtual coins were lost earlier this year from hacking.

The Financial Services Agency, which has been checking the exchanges, said Thursday that FSHO and Bit Station exchanges were ordered to halt operations for a month.

It said FSHO was not properly monitoring trades and had not carried out employee training. The agency said it found that a Bit Station employee had taken bitcoins for personal use.

Five other exchanges, including Coincheck, targeted in the massive hacking, were ordered to improve their operations.

Coincheck had received a similar order earlier.

Japan is unusual in the world for embracing cryptocurrencies and setting up a licensing system to oversee their use.

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