Bangkok, Jan 8 (AP/UNB)— Shares rose in early European trading after a mixed day Tuesday in Asia in the absence of official updates on China-U.S. trade talks in Beijing.
KEEPING SCORE: The DAX in Germany gained 0.3 percent to 10,777.42 and France's CAC 40 was up 0.4 percent at 4,737.69. Britain's FTSE 100 picked up 0.5 percent to 6,847.14. Wall Street looked set for gains, with the future contract for the Dow up 0.4 percent at 23,603.00 and that for the S&P 500 also 0.4 percent higher at 2,560.90.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.8 percent to 20,204.04 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.2 percent to 25,875.45. Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.7 percent to 5,722.40 and the South Korean Kospi gave up 0.5 percent to 2,026.23. India's Sensex gained 0.2 percent lower to 35,906.68. Shares fell in Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand but rose in Singapore.
CHINA-US TRADE: An official Chinese newspaper warned Washington not to demand too much from Beijing as talks on ending their tariff war entered a second day Tuesday with no word on possible progress. Investors have been encouraged by the resumption of the talks between Beijing and Washington on a dispute over technology that has resulted in both sides imposing penalty tariffs on billions of dollars' of each other's exports. Those duties are likely to rise in March if no progress is made. The two-day working level talks were due to wrap up Tuesday.
ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "Against the backdrop of negotiations held in Beijing, the optimism from U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who sees 'a very good chance' for a reasonable settlement with China has kept the sun shining over equities on Wall Street," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.
ENERGY: Oil prices continued their recent rally. U.S. crude gained 6 cents to $48.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 1.2 percent to $48.52 per barrel in New York. After sinking to an 18-month low of $42.53 a barrel on Dec. 24, the price of U.S. crude rose for seven of the last eight trading days. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 13 cents to $57.46 per barrel after rising 0.5 percent in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.98 yen from 108.73 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1446 from $1.1475.
Beijing, Jan 7 (AP/UNB) — Tesla Inc. broke ground Monday for a factory in Shanghai, its first outside the United States.
CEO Elon Musk said Monday on Twitter that the company will start production in China of its Model 3 and a planned crossover by the end of the year.
Tesla announced plans in July to build the Gigafactory 3 facility in China, the biggest electric vehicle market, despite trade tension between Beijing and Washington. That followed Beijing's announcement it would end restrictions this year on foreign ownership of electric vehicle producers in an effort to spur industry development.
"Looking forward to breaking ground on the @Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory today!" said Musk on Twitter. "Aiming to finish initial construction this summer, start Model 3 production end of year & reach high volume production next year."
China's state broadcaster CCTV showed Musk and other Tesla and local officials attending a chilly ceremony in the rain Monday in Shanghai's outskirts.
The Shanghai factory will produce "affordable versions of 3/Y for greater China," Musk said. The company refers to a planned crossover that has yet to receive a formal name as the Y.
Higher-priced models will be built in the United States for export to China, Musk said.
Tesla, based on Palo Alto, California, global automakers including General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Corp. that are pouring billions of dollars into manufacturing electric vehicles in China.
Local production would eliminate risks from tariffs and other import controls. It would help Tesla develop parts suppliers to support service and make its vehicles more appealing to mainstream Chinese buyers.
Tesla said in October it had signed an agreement for a 210-acre (84-hectare) site in the Lingang district in southeastern Shanghai.
Shanghai is a center of China's auto industry and home to state-owned Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp., the main local manufacturer for GM and VW.
Tesla has yet to give a price tag but the Shanghai government said it would be the biggest foreign investment there to date.
The company faces competition from Chinese brands including BYD Auto and BAIC Group that already sell tens of thousands of hybrid and pure-electric sedans and SUVs annually.
Until now, foreign automakers that wanted to manufacture in China were required to work through state-owned partners. Foreign brands balked at bringing electric vehicle technology into China to avoid having to share it with potential competitors.
The first of the new electric models being developed by global automakers to hit the market, Nissan's Sylphy Zero Emission, began rolling off a production line in southern China in August.
Lower-priced electric models from GM, Volkswagen and other global brands are due to hit the market starting this year, well before Tesla is up and running in Shanghai.
Mexico City, Jan 7 (AP/UNB) — Mexicans are scrambling for gasoline amid long lines at gas stations and widespread shortages prompted by a change in distribution methods aimed at stemming fuel theft.
State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said the use of more secure transportation methods has resulted in delays for fuel delivery to gas stations in the states of Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Mexico and Queretaro. It is urging consumers not to panic or hoard gasoline, promising that supply will soon stabilize.
Frantic consumers have made a run on the pumps and social media has been filled with images of gas station signs saying they are out of fuel, and consumers comparing the thin supplies to scarcity for basic goods like bread and milk that plagued Mexico during the 1970s.
The shortage has given ammunition to government critics, who say many of the new administration's policies and goals are throwbacks to past decades.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, said Sunday that complicity within Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, has allowed the fuel theft to blossom for years, growing from $500,000 a year more than a decade ago to roughly $3 billion in stolen fuel last year.
Lopez Obrador said overhauling the network requires taking on powerful and entrenched interests that have benefited from fuel theft for years. Without going into detail on tactics, the president said Mexico has reduced daily theft to 36 truckloads of fuel from an average of more than 1,000 truckloads a day.
Pemex is trying to stem billions of dollars in losses from criminal gangs that tap pipelines to steal gasoline by instead transporting the fuel via truck. Analysts say truck transport is more expensive, and less efficient.
Gasoline is a hot political issue in Mexico. Former President Enrique Pena Nieto's decision to hike gasoline prices in January 2017 sparked ire that many cite as leading to his party's eventual ouster.
Tokyo, Jan 5 (AP/UNB) — A 612-pound (278-kilogram) bluefin tuna sold for a record 333.6 million yen ($3 million) in the first auction of 2019, after Tokyo's famed Tsukiji market was moved to a new site on the city's waterfront.
The winning bid for the prized but threatened species at the predawn auction Saturday was more than double the 2013 annual New Year auction.
It was paid by Kiyomura Corp., whose owner Kiyoshi Kimura runs the Sushi Zanmai chain. Kimura has often won the annual auction in the past.
Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a beaming Kimura saying that he was surprised by the high price of tuna this year. But he added: "The quality of the tuna I bought is the best."
The auction prices are way above usual for bluefin tuna. The fish normally sells for up to $40 a pound ($88 a kilogram) but the price rises to over $200 a pound near the year's end, especially for prized catches from Oma in northern Japan.
Last year's auction was the last at Tsukiji before the market shifted to a new facility on a former gas plant site on Tokyo Bay. The move was delayed repeatedly due to concerns over soil contamination.
Japanese are the biggest consumers of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna, and surging consumption here and overseas has led to overfishing of the species. Experts warn it faces possible extinction, with stocks of Pacific bluefin depleted by 96 percent from their pre-industrial levels.
"The celebration surrounding the annual Pacific bluefin auction hides how deeply in trouble this species really is," said Jamie Gibbon, associate manager for global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts.
There are signs of progress toward protecting the bluefin, and Japan and other governments have backed plans to rebuild Pacific bluefin stocks, with a target of 20 percent of historic levels by 2034.
Decades-old Tsukiji was one of Japan's most popular tourist destinations as well as the world's biggest fish market. The new market opened in October. A few businesses stayed in Tsukiji but nearly all of the 500-plus wholesalers and other businesses shifted to Toyosu.
Tsukiji is due to be redeveloped, though for now it's being turned into a parking lot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
New York, Jan 4 (AP/UNB) — Stocks tumbled Thursday on Wall Street, with technology companies suffering their worst loss in seven years, after Apple reported that iPhone sales are slipping in China.
The rare warning of disappointing results from Apple stoked investors' fears that the world's second-biggest economy is losing steam and that trade tensions between Washington and Beijing are making things worse. The sell-off also came after a surprisingly weak report on U.S. manufacturing.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 660 points, or 2.8 percent, and the broader S&P 500 index fell 2.5 percent.
Apple stock plummeted 10 percent, wiping out more than $74 billion of the company's market value. That's almost as much as Starbucks is worth and more than Lockheed Martin, Lowe's, Caterpillar, General Electric or Morgan Stanley.
Other major exporters, including heavy-machinery manufacturers and tech companies like Intel and Microsoft, also took big losses.
"For a while now there's been an adage in the markets that as long as Apple was doing fine, everyone else would be OK," said Neil Wilson, chief markets analyst at Markets.com. "Therefore, Apple's rare profit warning is a red flag for market watchers. The question is to what extent this is more Apple-specific."
Over the past year, the U.S. and China slapped new tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of imports in a trade war that threatens to snarl multinational companies' supply lines and reduce demand for their products. Companies such as General Motors, Caterpillar and Daimler have all said recently that trade tensions and slower growth in China are damaging their businesses.
"When the largest and second-largest economies in the world get into a trade dispute, the rest of the world's going to feel the effects. That's what we're seeing now," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Cresset Wealth Advisors.
In a letter to shareholders Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that iPhone demand is waning in China and that the company expects revenue of $84 billion for the quarter that just ended. That's $7 billion less than analysts expected.
Cook's comments echoed the concerns that have pushed investors to flee stocks over the past three months. The U.S. stock market in 2018 posted its worst year in a decade.
The S&P 500 lost 62.14 points Thursday, closing at 2,447.89. The Dow fell to 22,868.22. The Nasdaq, which has a high concentration of tech stocks, retreated 202.43 points, or 3 percent, to 6,463.50.
U.S. government bond prices surged, sending yields to their lowest level in almost a year, and gold and high-dividend stocks like utilities also rose as investors looked for safer places to put their money.
The Institute for Supply Management said its index of U.S. manufacturing fell to its lowest level in two years, and new orders have fallen sharply since November. Manufacturing is still growing, but at a slower pace than it has recently.
Apple's stock has slumped 39 percent since early October. The company also recently announced that it would stop disclosing how many iPhones it sold each quarter, a move many investors suspected was an attempt to hide bad news.
Apple took its biggest loss in six years and ended at $142.19. Microsoft fell 3.7, Intel 5.5 percent. The S&P 500 technology companies had their worst day since August 2011.
Among big industrial companies that could suffer from a drop in demand from China, Caterpillar declined 3.9 percent, Deere 2.7 percent and Boeing 4 percent.
"This situation is yet another example of how politics — in this case, the trade war — has exacerbated real but manageable economic concerns and turned them into something worse than they have to be," Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, wrote in a note to clients.