Update on the latest in business:

Posted at 4:09 AM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 04:09:05-05


Asian shares mixed following advance on Wall Street

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed in Asia today after a modestly high finish on Wall Street that extended the market's gains into a fourth week.

The Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6 percent despite news that Japan's exports sank 8.4 percent in January from a year earlier, far more than forecast.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 0.9 percent while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1 percent. South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.0 percent and the S&P ASX 200 slipped 0.2 percent.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.1 percent to 2,779.76, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was almost flat at 25,891.32. The Nasdaq composite added 0.2 percent to 7,486.77. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 0.3 percent, to 1,574.47.


Japan's exports fall 8.4 pct in Jan, hit by China slowdown

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's exports have fallen 8.4 percent in January from a year earlier while imports also edged lower, suggesting a deepening impact from China's economic slowdown.

Customs data released today shows exports to all of Asia dropped 13 percent year-on-year, largely due to a 17 percent decline in shipments to China.

Japan's total trade deficit expanded by nearly half from a year earlier to 1.4 trillion yen ($12.8 billion).

The decline in exports spanned most major categories of products, from chemicals and machinery to electronics and cars. Imports of crude oil also fell sharply, largely due to lower prices.

The politically delicate trade surplus with the United States rose 5 percent to $3.3 billion as exports climbed nearly 7 percent, though imports of American goods rose by a slightly higher margin.


US automakers to Trump: Don't slap tariffs on imported cars

DETROIT (AP) — America's auto industry is bracing for a potential escalation in President Donald Trump's tariff war with the world. The effort could weaken the global auto industry and economy, inflate car prices and trigger a backlash in Congress.

Late Sunday, the Commerce Department sent the White House a report on the results of an investigation Trump had ordered of whether imported vehicles and parts pose a threat to U.S. national security. Commerce hasn't made its recommendations public, and the White House has so far declined to comment. If Commerce did find that auto imports imperil national security, Trump would have 90 days to decide whether to impose those import taxes.


Trump wants California to pay back billions for bullet train

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Trump administration says it plans to cancel $929 million awarded to California's high-speed rail project and wants the state to return an additional $2.5 billion that it has already spent.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announcement follows through on President Donald Trump's threats to claw back $3.5 billion that the federal government gave to California to build a bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed a fight to keep the money and said the move was in response to California again suing the administration, this time over Trump's emergency declaration to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Newsom called Washington's action "clear political retribution."


UK expands no-fly zone for drones around airports

LONDON (AP) — Britain is extending the no-fly zone for drones around airports to 3.1 miles in an attempt to avert disruptions like the December groundings of flights at Gatwick Airport.

The Department for Transport says the zone will widen on March 13 from the current 0.6 miles.

Officials are also working on new legislation to give police more powers to stop and search people suspected of using drones maliciously.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says that people who fly drones near airports "are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment."

More than 100,000 travelers were stranded or delayed before Christmas after drone sightings near Gatwick, Britain's second-busiest airport.

U.K. aviation authorities say 125 near-misses between drones and aircraft were reported in 2018, up from 93 in 2017.


Michigan Gov. Whitmer blocks immigrant detention plan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has blocked the sale of a former state prison that was proposed as the site of a privately operated federal immigration detention center. Her decision drew praise from immigrant rights activists and criticism Tuesday from a Republican lawmaker whose district stood to gain jobs.

Late last week, Whitmer stopped the proposed sale from proceeding, after plans for the facility had advanced in the fall under the administration of then-Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican. She said Virginia-based Immigration Centers of America would not guarantee to not detain adults who are separated from their children or other family members.


Samsung poised to unveil new phones in bid to revive sales

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Samsung is expected to show off its latest smartphones today, the latest effort by a phone maker to come up with new features compelling enough to end a sales slump.

The new models expected in San Francisco will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Samsung's first smartphone.

Samsung is also expected to provide a glimpse at a highly anticipated smartphone with a foldable screen.

Apple touted the iPhone's 10th-anniversary edition as a breakthrough when it was released in late 2017. But the iPhone X didn't sell as well as analysts hoped, partly because it carried a $1,000 price tag.

Smartphones made in recent years also haven't made dramatic improvements from earlier models. The lull in innovation has given consumers little incentive to dump their current devices and buy something new.


'Fight Back!' consumer reported David Horowitz dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — David Horowitz, whose "Fight Back!" syndicated program made him perhaps the best-known consumer reporter in the U.S., has died. He was 81.

KNBC-TV says his wife reported the death.

Beginning in the 1970s, Horowitz was the station's consumer reporter for more than 15 years. His program "Fight Back! With David Horowitz" was syndicated to dozens of stations nationwide. The multiple Emmy-winning program investigated product defects, tested advertising claims and confronted companies with customer complaints.

Horowitz also appeared on the "Today" show and did radio commentaries and had a newspaper column.

In 1987, Horowitz was taken hostage by a gunman during a live broadcast. The gun turned out to be a BB weapon, but the experience led Horowitz to join a successful effort to ban realistic-looking toy guns in California.