Asian shares tumble ahead of data-heavy week
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets tumbled today as investors looked ahead to a possible U.S. Senate vote on proposed tax changes and data announcements from major economies.
China releases a gauge of November manufacturing that investors are watching for an update on slowing economic activity. Japan is due to report factory output, inflation and housing data, while India reports economic growth and South Korea’s central bank will hold a policy meeting. In the United States, data are due out on manufacturing. Outgoing Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and her successor, Jerome Powell, are due to appear before the Senate Banking Committee.
Federal Insights: Learn how agency and industry experts are exploring implications of the cybersecurity executive order.
U.S. stocks set more records following the Thanksgiving Day break as technology companies did much of the heavy lifting. Energy companies rose with the price of oil. Macy’s and other retailers rose after the department store’s CEO said Black Friday sales were going well. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.2 percent to 2,602.42, its first close above 2,600. The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.1 percent to 23,557.99. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.3 percent to 6,889.16.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell but remainsn above $58.50 per barrel.
The dollar gained against the yen and declined against the euro.
HOLIDAY SHOPPING-CYBER MONDAY
Stores hoping people keep shopping offer Cyber Monday deals
NEW YORK (AP) — After offering online deals for days, retailers are rolling out even more promotions for Cyber Monday, hoping to keep people buying stuff on their smartphones or computers.
Photos: See how US service members spread holiday cheer through the years
Shoppers are expected to spend $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday, up more than 16 percent from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, the research arm of software maker Adobe. And more people will be picking up their phones to shop: Web traffic from smartphones and tablets is expected to top desktop computers for the first time this year.
At the MacArthur Center shopping mall in Norfolk, Virginia, on Sunday, Kathy Lewis was there not to shop but to get her nails done. Her plan is to make her big purchases on Cyber Monday, including the newest model Nerf gun for her boyfriend’s nephew. Lewis said she gave up years ago on waiting in line at Toys ‘R’ Us.
Lewis did brave a very crowded Best Buy on Friday in search of a 32-inch television for another of her boyfriend’s relatives. But after checking the price, she’s holding off for Monday. Her plan is to scan the websites of Toys ‘R’ Us and Best Buy and then Amazon before making her final decision.
As part of their Cyber Monday deals, Target and Toys R Us are offering 15 percent off most items on their sites. Media has tripled the amount of items available for sale from last year. And Amazon — which Bain & Co. says is expected to capture 50 percent of all online sales growth — will offer similar deals on its gadgets as it did on Black Friday, but offer new deals on Lego sets and Hasbro games.
Dry weekend draws shoppers even as online sales boom
CHICAGO (AP) — The driest Thanksgiving weekend in five years may have helped holiday shopping, despite an overall decline in foot traffic. Some shoppers just took notes in the hopes of finding an even better deal online.
That’s a consequence of Amazon continuing to squeeze prices, exacerbating the “showrooming” practice of people getting ideas at brick-and-mortar stores, then buying online.
Daniel Ives, head of technology research for GBH Insights, said Amazon was posting stronger-than-expected sales, and at this pace, it could beat fourth-quarter sales estimates by 5 percent.
Jon Abt, co-president of Glenview, Illinois-based Abt Electronics, said sales from Friday through Sunday were up about 14 percent from a year ago.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
Business and economic reports scheduled for today
WASHINGTON — There’s only one major government economic report due out today.
The Commerce Department reports on how many people bought new homes in October.
Suit challenges Trump’s pick for consumer bureau
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s appointment of his budget director as interim director of a consumer financial protection agency championed by Democrats is being challenged in federal court.
The official elevated to the position of interim director by outgoing director Richard Cordray has filed suit against Trump and his pick, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.
In her suit filed Sunday night in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Leandra English cites the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. English says that as deputy director, she became the acting director under the law.
She also argues that the federal law the White House contends supports Trump’s appointment of Mulvaney doesn’t apply when another statute designates a successor.
English asks that the court issue a temporary restraining order to block Mulvaney from taking over the bureau.
TIME INC-MEREDITH SALE
Meredith buying Time Inc. for about $1.8 billion
NEW YORK (AP) — Meredith Corp. says it is buying Time Inc. for about $1.8 billion in a deal that joins two giant magazine companies.
Meredith brings with it a portfolio that includes Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, allrecipes and Shape, while Time Inc.’s properties include Time, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune and Entertainment Weekly.
Meredith will pay $18.50 per share in cash for Time’s nearly 100 million outstanding shares. It said it’s using $3.55 billion in financing commitments from lenders and $650 million preferred equity from Koch Equity Development, an investment arm of Koch Industries, to finance the deal and pay down existing debt. Before the announcement, Meredith had $28 million in cash on hand, according to its latest quarterly report.
The companies said the deal was unanimously approved by their boards.
Pixar’s ‘Coco’ feasts on ‘Justice League’ at box office
NEW YORK (AP) — Pixar’s “Coco” sang its way to the fourth best Thanksgiving weekend ever with an estimated $71.2 million over the five-day weekend, a total that easily toppled Warner Bros.’ “Justice League.”
“Coco” rode strong reviews and an A-plus CinemaScore from audiences to the top spot at the domestic box office. According to studio estimates Sunday, it grossed $49 million from Friday to Sunday. Centered on the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), “Coco” has already set box office records in Mexico.
After a disappointing debut last weekend, the DC Comics superhero team-up film “Justice League” slid to second with $40.7 million. In the five-day holiday frame, it earned about $60 million.
The Oscar contender “Call Me By Your Name” had one of the year’s best limited releases.
LL BEAN BOOT BOOM
LL Bean’s beloved duck boots expecting record holiday season
FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — L.L. Bean says it’s in the midst of another record breaking year of sales for its iconic “duck boot,” and there will be enough to meet the holiday crunch.
The Maine company’s sales of the leather-and-rubber boot have grown for several years in a row as it has undergone a surge in popularity. Company spokeswoman Carolyn Beem says the company projects to sell about 750,000 of them this year.
That would be 100,000 more than last year, and nearly three times the amount sold in 2012. Beem says the company has mostly eliminated backlog for boots and doesn’t anticipate problems with availability during the holiday shopping season.
The boot has been around for more than 100 years. L.L. Bean has said it wants to top a million sold next year.
AMAZON FOUNDER-NET WORTH
Holiday shopping makes the season merry for Jeff Bezos
NEW YORK (AP) — Holiday shopping has already made the season merry for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Investor optimism about sales at the online leader has sent its stock up 58 percent so far year, and 5 percent in just this past week. The 81 million shares Bezos owned according to documents filed in April are worth $96 billion at Friday’s closing price. Bezos also owns The Washington Post through a holding company.
Bloomberg News said that Bezos has broken the $100 billion mark in wealth — the first time a billionaire surpassed that mark since Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates did it in 1999.
Analysts at Bain expect Amazon to take half of the holiday season’s sales growth this year.
Navy wants small warships that pack a bigger punch
BATH, Maine (AP) — The U.S. Navy fulfilled its need for speed with littoral combat ships. Now it’s shifting to small-but-powerful frigates that pack a bigger punch.
A Navy request calls for a traditional, multi-mission warship equipped to shoot down airplanes, attack enemy ships and counter submarines.
The directive calls for shipbuilders to use an existing hull design to expedite the process. The timetable calls for procuring the first two ships in 2020 and 2021.
The proposal calls for no new technologies. That’s a far cry from littoral combat ships and stealthy Zumwalt-class destroyers that incorporated new technologies and experienced cost overruns.
Large Navy shipbuilders like Maine’s Bath Iron Works and Mississippi’s Ingalls Shipbuilding are among a half-dozen defense contractors expected to bid on the work. Smaller shipyards like Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin and Austal USA in Alabama are also expected to compete.
Does cellphone-sweeping ‘StingRay’ technology go too far?
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Las Vegas are among scores of police departments across the country using highly secretive technology developed for the military that can track down suspects by using the signals constantly emitted by their cellphones.
Civil liberties groups are increasingly raising objections to the suitcase-sized devices known as StingRays that can sweep up cellphone data from an entire neighborhood. Some versions of the technology can even intercept texts and calls. Part of the problem is the devices can also collect data from anyone near the person being tracked.
About a dozen states now have laws requiring warrants to use the technology. A judge in New York City last month ruled the NYPD must have an eavesdropping warrant to use the device.
Chinese premier in Hungary for regional summit
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — China’s premier is in Hungary to participate in a summit with 16 countries from central and eastern Europe.
Li Keqiang was met by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban upon his arrival at Budapest’s main airport on Sunday afternoon.
China’s “new Silk Road” initiative of ports, railways and roads to expand trade across Asia, Africa and Europe is expected to be one of the themes of the “16+1” summit.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Sunday that China and the 16 countries at the summit would sign 23 cooperation agreements, while Hungary on Monday will publish the public procurement tenders for the reconstruction of the railway line between Budapest and Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The project is being financed in large part by China.
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