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FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares rise after Wall Street gains on solid earnings

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are mostly higher, cheered by gains on Wall Street as investors welcomed a batch of solid earnings reports from U.S. companies.

Benchmarks in Japan, South Korea, Australia and Hong Kong rose Wednesday, while the Shanghai index fell.

Asian shares have tracked moves on Wall Street lately, as much of the region’s export-dependent economies depend on trade, which has been slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Investors also had their eye on Washington in hopes that Democrats and Republicans will beat the odds to reach a deal on delivering more aid for the U.S. economy.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CONGRESS

Pandemic relief talks inch ahead but McConnell is resistant

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s most powerful Senate ally is pressing the White House not to move ahead on a pandemic relief package. This, as talks inched forward.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told fellow Republicans that he has warned the White House not to divide Republicans by sealing a lopsided $2 trillion relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the election.

Pelosi’s office says talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday were productive. But other veteran lawmakers say there is still too much work to do and not enough time to do it to enact a relief bill by Election Day.

GOOGLE-ANTITRUST

U.S. antitrust case against Google mirrors Microsoft battle

WASHINGTON (AP) — Technology may be bringing the future ever closer, but the Trump administration’s legal assault on Google actually feels like a blast from the past.

That’s when the U.S. Justice Department filed a high-profile lawsuit against a technology monopoly that leveraged a methodically built monopoly to set up a system that made consumers almost reflexively rely on its stable of products. Only that game-changing case was brought against Microsoft and its personal computer software empire in 1998, around the same time Google was founded.

Now things are coming full circle with a strikingly similar argument against Google and its dominant search engine.

AUSTRALIA-US-GOOGLE-ANTITRUST Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s competition watchdog will consider its own antitrust case against Google after the U.S. Justice Department sued the company for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising.

Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims described the U.S. case as one of the world’s biggest antitrust cases in the past 20 years. Sims says he’s “delighted” U.S. prosecutors are taking on the case and Australia would look at the U.S. case to “see whether there’s any value in what we might do.

Sims' office separately is drafting legislation to address the imbalance in bargaining power between Google and the Australian media businesses that want the tech giant to pay for journalism.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-URBAN RENEWAL

From Detroit to Oakland, pandemic threatens urban renewal

DETROIT (AP) — As office workers continue to stay home during the pandemic, cities that were in the middle of bustling downtown comebacks are feeling a lot of uncertainty.

Places like Detroit, Cleveland and Oakland, California, were seeing big downtown growth before the coronavirus hit. Now the revitalizations have been stalled and experts say it’s likely to take the once-struggling cities longer to come back than those with established commercial and residential markets.

Many redeveloping cities already were losing population, making comebacks harder. One expert says that if the virus persists, businesses will close, and that will hurt those that remain downtown.

HONG KONG-CATHAY PACIFIC

Cathay Pacific cuts 8,500 jobs, shutters regional airline

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways has announced it will cut 8,500 jobs and shut its regional airline as it grapples with the plunge in air travel due to the pandemic.

The cuts will affect about 5,300 workers based in Hong Kong and 600 elsewhere as well as remove 2,600 unfilled positions. Its regional airline unit, Cathay Dragon, will cease operations from Wednesday. The company said it will seek regulatory approval for most of the shuttered airline’s routes to be operated by Cathay Pacific and its budget airline subsidiary HK Express.

The company’s CEO said the “hard truth” of the coronavirus pandemic was the airline had to be restructured to survive.

UNEMPLOYMENT-OLDER WORKERS

Older workers face higher unemployment amid virus pandemic

UNDATED (AP) — A new study shows that older workers are facing higher unemployment than midcareer workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The study released Tuesday from researchers with the New School university in New York City found that workers 55 and older lost jobs sooner, were rehired slower and continue to face higher job losses than their counterparts ages 35 to 54. From April through September, the study found that the older workers unemployment rate was 9.7% compared to 8.6% for midcareer workers. That’s based on a six-month rolling average.

The study says the rate was far worse for older workers who are black, female or lack college degrees.

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM-JOBS

Study: COVID speeds up human vs machine standoff over work

GENEVA (AP) — Organizers of the annual Davos forum are projecting employers will split work equally between machines and workers by 2025, as the coronavirus pandemic and the recession that it has caused accelerate ongoing changes in the labor market.

The World Economic Forum, in a new report, predicts that a new division of labor between humans and machine will upend and eliminate some 85 million jobs globally across 15 industries.

But it also expects that 97 million new roles will emerge in sectors like artificial intelligence, content-creation and “the care economy” involving kids and the elderly.

NETFLIX RESULTS

Netflix reports a summer slump in subscriber growth

UNDATED (AP) — Netflix’s subscriber growth slowed dramatically during the summer months after surging in the spring fueled by pandemic lockdowns that corralled millions of people in their homes.

The summer slump came as more people sought refuge from the pandemic outdoors and major U.S. professional sports resumed play, offering entertainment alternatives to the world’s most popular video streaming service.

The drop-off disclosed Tuesday in Netflix’s latest earnings report was more dramatic than management had warned it might be.

ELECTRIC PICKUP TRUCKS

An electric Hummer? Battery-powered trucks head to showrooms

DETROIT (AP) — Seven auto companies have plans to roll out new battery-powered pickup trucks over the next two years, aiming to cash in on a popular and lucrative market for expensive vehicles.

General Motors is among them. On Tuesday its GMC brand introduced a new electric Hummer pickup, with a high-end version due in showrooms sometime in the fall of next year.

Ford, Tesla, Bollinger Motors, Nikola, Rivian and Lordstown Motors also want a piece of what is now a petroleum-powered market dominated by trucks from Detroit. All intend to start producing them between June of next year and the end of 2022.

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