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Global stock selloff continues, fuelled by trade fears and falling oil – Financial Post

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U.S. stocks slumped for a second day as the sell-off in risk assets persisted amid concern that the rate of global economic growth has peaked. Oil slid as OPEC ministers met in Vienna.

The S&P 500 fell as much as 2.9 per cent and losses in the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 750 points before major averages bounced off of key technical levels. Technology measures stormed back, with IBM and Intel the only Dow components higher on the day.

Financial markets remained volatile on bets that the trade truce between China and the U.S. won’t last after the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer. Financial shares led the drop, as Treasury yields fell to the lowest since August with traders starting to doubt the Federal Reserve will raise rates even once next year as economic growth falters.

Oil continued to be a drag on financial markets, with West Texas Intermediate back below US$51 a barrel as OPEC ministers seek a deal to cut output. Energy producers in the S&P 500 sank more than 3 per cent, and emerging-market equities plunged.

Some of the main market moves:

“The biggest qualm is the trade war escalating and this is haunting the markets,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets U.K. in London, in an email. “It is arduous to find bulls in the market and it seems to me that this game is about to become uglier.”

Traders pointed to a spate of other catalysts for the renewed risk-off tone that’s gripping financial markets. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said economic risks from abroad could be severe, and the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report showed fading optimism over growth prospects at U.S. firms even as most districts continued to report a modest expansion. The pound drifted as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May searched for a compromise to avoid a crushing defeat on her Brexit deal in a key vote in Parliament next week.

“There are so many forces weighing against markets right now, whether it’s the China slowdown, weak European data, Fed hikes, uncertainty around trade and now Brexit as well,” Bilal Hafeez, head of fixed-income research for EMEA at Nomura, told Bloomberg TV. “We really need to see some stabilization in any of those factors to see markets stabilize now.”

Whether or not it triggered the slide, Canada’s arrest of the Huawei CFO and reports it may extradite her to the U.S. are a blow to already fragile sentiment, just days after an apparent breakthrough on trade between America and China. The start of the futures session was marred by a sudden and unexpected plunge that sent a shock wave across equity markets.

“The arrest of the Huawei Technologies CFO gives no confidence that anything the administration came back with after Saturday night’s dinner could possibly be positive,” said Bob Iaccino, chief market strategist at Chicago-based Path Trading Partners, in an email. “This is a huge negative.”

Bloomberg.com

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China has banned sales of Apple iPhones 6 through X in Qualcomm patent dispute – Financial Post

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Qualcomm Inc on Monday said it had won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning the importation and sale of several Apple Inc iPhone models in China that the court found violated two of Qualcomm patents.

The preliminary order affects the iPhone 6S through the iPhone X. The ruling came from the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China, the same court that earlier this year banned the import of some of memory chip maker Micron Technology Inc’s chips into China. Qualcomm initially filed the case in China in late 2017.

The court found Apple violated two of Qualcomm’s software patents around resizing photographs and managing applications on a touch screen.

“Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us,” Don Rosenberg, general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement.

Because the patents concern software, Apple could make changes to its software to avoid the patents and still be able to sell its phones.

The patents in the suit, which Qualcomm said on Monday had been upheld by the Chinese patent office, are separate from those being contested in other cases in its wide-ranging legal dispute with Apple. Qualcomm has also asked regulators in the United States to ban the importation of several iPhone models over patent concerns, but U.S. officials have so far declined to do so.

The specific iPhone models affected by the preliminary ruling in China are the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

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Elon Musk says Tesla may consider buying idle General Motors plants – Financial Post

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Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he may be willing to buy some of the five factories General Motors Co. will idle next year, making him the second rival in two days to step up with possible job-creating moves as GM takes political heat for cutting workers.

Musk made the statements in an interview with Leslie Stahl that was to air Sunday. CBS released excerpts Friday.

GM CEO Mary Barra was in Washington the past two days meeting with members of Congress about her plans to close five factories in North America and lay off 14,700 workers. She is under pressure to keep some of those facilities opened.


Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told CBS’s 60 Minutes that he may be willing to buy some of the five factories General Motors Co. will idle next year.

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File

While Barra was speaking with legislators on Thursday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it will reopen one of its idle engine plant in Detroit and build a new Jeep, intensifying the irritation in Congress over GM’s plan to cut jobs.

Tesla makes the all-electric Model S, Model X and Model 3 at its sole auto plant in California, which it bought from a joint venture operated by GM and Toyota Motor Corp.

The “60 Minutes” interview, which was filmed at Tesla’s lone auto plant in Fremont, California, largely focused on Tesla’s year in which it raced to ramp up production of the Model 3 sedan. Musk credited the decision to build a third general assembly line outside under a tent with saving the company.

Assembly Line Tent

“It was life or death,” said Musk. “Those betting against the company were right by all conventional standards that we would fail. But they just did not count on this unconventional situation of creating an assembly line in a parking lot in a tent.”

Stahl pressed Musk on the string of complaints about conditions inside company factories, including unreported injuries, abusive conditions and excessive hours. Musk said there’s been an “aggressive campaign” by the United Auto Workers to attack Tesla with a “load of nonsense” in an effort to unionize the carmaker.

Bloomberg.com

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GM lobbies for tax credit – Business News – Castanet.net

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General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit for electric vehicles as the nation's largest automaker tries to deal with the political fallout triggered by its plans to shutter several U.S. factories and shed thousands of workers.

Preserving the $7,500 tax incentive for buyers is crucial for GM as the company pivots from internal combustion engines in favour of building cars powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. Yet the layoffs and plant closings could imperil GM's push to keep the incentive. It helps make plug-ins such as the $36,000 Chevy Bolt more affordable at a time when competition from other electric vehicle makers is heating up.

GM faces opposition from President Donald Trump and other Republicans who consider the credit a waste of taxpayer money and want it eliminated. Trump, who has pledged a manufacturing rebirth in the Midwest, reacted angrily to GM's "transformation " announcement late last month, declaring that his administration was "looking at cutting all GM subsidies, including for electric cars."

The company already is on the verge of being phased out of the tax credit program unless Congress changes a law that caps the break at 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer. Without the incentive, GM may be forced to cut the price of its electric cars to keep prospective customers from taking their business elsewhere, according to automotive industry experts.

As evidence of the credit's importance to GM's future, the automaker has expanded its lobbying footprint in Washington and even joined forces with two rivals, Tesla and Nissan, to call for 200,000-vehicle limit to be scrapped.

Standing in the way of that goal is Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Barrasso introduced legislation in October to abolish the tax credit, a move he said would save about $20 billion over the next 10 years. He has argued the market for electric vehicles is already established and "no longer needs the crutch of government assistance."

"The idea of the subsidies had to do with trying to make sure that electric vehicles would be a viable technology," Barrasso said. "Well, that's clearly there."

The tax credit came up briefly during a private meeting on Wednesday between Ohio's senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, and GM chief executive Mary Barra, according to a congressional aide familiar with the conversation. As part of the restructuring, GM said it will stop making the Chevy Cruze at its Lordstown, Ohio, plant by March and is considering closing the plant for good.

Portman told Barra that it's difficult to help with priorities such as the electric vehicle credit when GM is moving production out of Ohio, according to the aide, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the private conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

One of the lobbyists working to salvage the credit for GM is Kent Hance, a former chancellor of Texas Tech University who is well connected in GOP circles, according to his online profile . Hance lists his role as a fundraiser for the campaigns of outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and others. He has known Rick Perry, the energy secretary and former Texas governor, for nearly 30 years.

GM in early August named a former Trump White House official, Everett Eissenstat, its senior vice-president for global public policy, a post that oversees the company's lobbying operations. Eissenstat, however, is not registered as a lobbyist, according to disclosure records filed with Congress. Before coming to GM, he was Trump's deputy assistant for international economic affairs.

Under federal law, the $7,500 credit for buyers begins to phase out after a manufacturer has sold 200,000 qualifying electric vehicles. GM has estimated it will hit that threshold by the end of December, just as the Bolt will be facing new and potentially stiff competition.

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