Asian shares mostly lower despite easing fears over Turkey
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly lower in Asia today despite a rally overnight on Wall Street as investors’ jitters over the Turkish currency crisis eased.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index is down 0.7 percent and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng has dropped 1.7 percent. The Shanghai Composite index is down 1.5 percent, while the S&P ASX 200 in Australia added 0.3 percent. Shares are down in Taiwan and Singapore and are up in Indonesia. South Korea’s markets are closed for a holiday.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the biggest gains went to small and mid-size companies, which do more business domestically compared to the large multinational firms on indexes like the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial average. The S&P 500 index climbed 0.6 percent to 2,839.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 percent to 25,299.92. The Nasdaq composite added 0.7 percent to 7,870.89 and the Russell 2000 index advanced 1 percent to 1,692.58.
Turkey increases tariffs on certain US imports
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey is increasing tariffs on imports of series of U.S. products, escalating a feud with the United States that has helped trigger a currency crisis.
Turkey says it’s imposing extra tariffs on imports of products, including rice, vehicles, alcohol, coal and cosmetics. The decision was announced on the Official Gazette.
Turkey’s vice president says on Twitter that the tariffs on certain products were increased “within the framework of the principle of reciprocity in retaliation for the conscious economic attacks by the United States.”
China files WTO challenge to US solar tariffs
BEIJING (AP) — China’s government says it has filed a challenge to a U.S. tariff hike on solar panels in the World Trade Organization, adding to its sprawling trade dispute with President Donald Trump.
The Commerce Ministry says the 30 percent tariffs announced in January violate WTO rules and improperly help U.S. producers.
The Trump administration previously defended the tariffs on solar cells and modules as being in line with WTO rules. It said they were necessary to shield American manufacturers that were hurt by a flood of imports supported by subsidies and other improper measures.
The two governments have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods. The next round of increases threatened by both sides is due to take effect next week.
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INVESTMENTS
Warren Buffett’s firm adds to Apple, Teva investments
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Investor Warren Buffett’s company added to its stakes in Apple and Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceuticals in the second quarter while tweaking several of its other stock investments.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. filed an update on its U.S. stock portfolio with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. Berkshire held nearly 252 million Apple shares at the end of June, up from 239.57 million in March.
The Teva investment was disclosed earlier this year and has grown to 43.2 million shares from 40.5 million in the first quarter.
Berkshire said separately Monday that it had reduced some of its investments in airline and banking companies, such as American Airlines and U.S. Bancorp, because it seeks to own no more than 10 percent of any firm and those companies have been repurchasing stock.
Kroger to sell its goods to Chinese shoppers through Tmall
NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger will start to sell some of its products to Chinese shoppers through a website owned by internet giant Alibaba, the latest move by the supermarket chain to boost its digital business.
Cincinnati-based Kroger is working to catch up with Walmart and with Amazon.com, which bought grocer Whole Foods last year. In recent months, Kroger launched an online delivery service, upped its investment in a British online grocer and agreed to buy a meal-kit company.
Kroger Co. said Tuesday that it will sell items from its store brand Simple Truth on Alibaba’s Tmall site, including Simple Truth nuts and multivitamins. The online store will open Wednesday. Kroger Co. shares rose 2.3 percent Tuesday.
ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND-FINE
Royal Bank of Scotland fined $4.9B for housing bubble role
UNDATED (AP) — Royal Bank of Scotland will pay a $4.9 billion fine to settle allegations it misrepresented the types of mortgages it sold to investors during the housing bubble that ultimately led to the 2008 financial crisis.
The Justice Department said in a statement Tuesday that the penalty is the largest it has imposed for financial crisis-era misconduct at a single company.
The DOJ has issued billions of dollars in fines against Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and other big banks in the years following the crisis to settle similar allegations. The government accused Royal Bank of Scotland and many other big banks of understating the risk and quality of the mortgages they sold to investors at the height of the housing bubble, in RBS’ case between 2005 and 2008.
Tesla forms committee to assess proposal to go private
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tesla is forming a special committee to evaluate proposals to take the company private one week after CEO Elon Musk said he was considering it.
The committee, made up of three independent directors, said Tuesday that it has not received any formal proposal from Musk, who on Aug. 7 tweeted that he had “funding secured” to buy Tesla shares at $420 per share.
But a blog post by Musk on Monday cast doubt on whether the funding has indeed been secured, leading to a government inquiry and at least two class-action lawsuits alleging securities violations. Shares of Tesla Inc. jumped 11 percent in a day, raising the value of the company by $6 billion. Shares have fallen from those highs, but remain elevated.
Ex-Pilot Flying J president gets sentencing delay
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The former president of the nation’s largest fuel retailer has been given a delay in sentencing for his conviction in a scheme to defraud trucking companies.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports an August sentencing hearing for former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood was rescheduled for Sept. 26, allowing lawyers to examine audit reports used to determine fraud by each defendant in the scheme. The amount stolen by a person factors into penalty ranges.
Hazelwood had fired his defense team and requested the delay. A judge wrote the court wouldn’t have permitted the change if it knew his present counsel wouldn’t be prepared for August sentencing.
Pilot Flying J is controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. The Haslams haven’t been charged with wrongdoing.
NEW ZEALAND-FOREIGN BUYER BAN
New Zealand bans most foreigners from buying homes
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand has banned most foreigners from buying homes as it tries to tackle runaway housing prices.
The government passed legislation today that allows only New Zealand residents to buy homes as it attempts to improve housing affordability and increase the rate of home ownership.
Previously the housing market was open to investors worldwide. The new law fulfils a campaign pledge by the liberal-led government which came to power last year.
There are some exceptions to the new rules. Foreigners who live in New Zealand and have residency status will still be able to buy homes, as will people from Australia and Singapore thanks to existing free-trade agreements.
Foreigners who already own homes in New Zealand won’t be affected.
Opposition lawmakers say the bill is unnecessary.
6th Atlantic City casino to offer sports betting
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget casino will become the sixth in New Jersey to offer sports betting.
State Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck says he has approved the Golden Nugget to begin offering on-premises sports betting Wednesday morning.
The Golden Nugget will take its first sports bet about 90 minutes before Resorts opens its in-person sports betting operation. Resorts already offers online and mobile sports betting.
They will join the Borgata, Ocean Resort, Harrah’s and Bally’s casinos among sports betting providers.
The Monmouth Park and Meadowlands racetracks also offer sports betting.
Figures released Tuesday show New Jersey casinos and tracks took in $40.6 million in July, the first full month it was legal.
Twitter suspends conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for 1 week
NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter says it is suspending the account of the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for one week after he violated the company’s rules against inciting violence.
The New York Times reports that Jones tweeted a link to a video calling for supporters to get their “battle rifles” ready against media and others.
Jones won’t be able to tweet or retweet from his personal account for seven days, though he will be able to browse Twitter.
The Twitter account for his “Infowars” show was not affected.
Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify have taken down material published by Jones, reflecting more aggressive enforcement of hate speech policies after online backlash.
But Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended his company’s decision last week not to ban Jones, saying he did not break any rules.
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