FILE PHOTO: Visitors walk past Huawei's booth during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
FILE PHOTO: Visitors walk past Huawei’s booth during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

May 19, 2019

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware and software products except those covered by open source licenses, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Sunday, in a blow to the Chinese technology company that the U.S. government has sought to blacklist around the world.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd will immediately lose access to updates to the Android operating system, and the next version of its smartphones outside of China will also lose access to popular applications and services including the Google Play Store and Gmail app.

Details of the specific services were still being discussed internally at Google, according to the source. Huawei attorneys are also studying the impact of the U.S. Commerce Department’s actions, a Huawei spokesman said on Friday. Huawei was not immediately reachable for further comment.

Representatives of the u.s. Commerce Department did not immediately have comment.

Huawei will continue to have access to the version of the Android operating system available through the open source license that is freely open to anyone who wishes to use it.

But Google will stop providing any technical support and collaboration for Android and Google services to Huawei going forward, the source said.

On Thursday the Trump administration officially added Huawei to a trade blacklist, immediately enacting restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for the technology giant to do business with U.S. companies.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan in London, and David Shepardson and Karen Freifeld in Washington; Editing by Kenneth Li and Daniel Wallis)

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Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih speaks to the media before the OPEC 14th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Jeddah
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih speaks to the media before the OPEC 14th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19, 2019. REUTERS/Waleed Ali

May 19, 2019

By Rania El Gamal and Vladimir Soldatkin

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Sunday he recommended driving oil inventories down and that global oil supplies were plentiful.

“Overall, the market is in a delicate situation,” Khalid al-Falih told reporters ahead of a ministerial panel meeting of top OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia.

He said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Saudi Arabia is de facto leader, would have more data at its next meeting in late June to help it reach the best decision on output.

OPEC, Russia and other non-OPEC producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1 for six months, a deal designed to stop inventories building up and weakening prices.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters that different options were available for the output deal, including a rise in production in the second half of the year.

The energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail al-Mazrouei, said oil producers were capable of filling any gap in the oil market and that relaxing supply cuts was not “the right decision”.

Mazrouei said the UAE did not want to see an increase in inventories that could lead to a price collapse.

Saudi Arabia sees no need to boost production quickly now, with oil at around $70 a barrel, as it fears a crash in prices and a build-up in inventories, OPEC sources said, adding that Russia wants to increase supply after June.

The United States, which is not a member of OPEC+ but is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, wants the group to boost output to bring oil prices down.

Falih has to find a delicate balance between keeping the oil market well supplied and prices high enough for Riyadh’s budget needs, while pleasing Moscow to ensure Russia remains in the OPEC+ pact, and being responsive to the concerns of the United States and the rest of OPEC+, the sources said earlier.

Sunday’s meeting of the ministerial panel, known as the JMMC, comes amid concerns of a tight market. Iran’s oil exports are likely to drop further in May and shipments from Venezuela could fall again in coming weeks due to U.S. sanctions.

Oil contamination also forced Russia to halt flows along the Druzhba pipeline – a key conduit for crude into Eastern Europe and Germany – in April. The suspension, as yet of unclear duration, left refiners scrambling to find supplies.

Novak told reporters that oil supplies to Poland via the pipeline would start on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Dahlia Nehme and Stephen Kalin; Editing by Dale Hudson)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland takes part in a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Rovaniemi
FILE PHOTO: Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland takes part in a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland May 7, 2019. Mandel Ngan/POOL via REUTERS/File Photo

May 18, 2019

By Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada will move quickly to ratify the new North American trade pact, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Saturday, a day after the United States agreed to lift tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

U.S. President Donald Trump had imposed the global “Section 232” tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum in March 2018 on both Canada and Mexico on national security grounds, invoking a 1962 Cold War-era trade law.

The metals tariffs were a major irritant for Canada and Mexico and had caused them to halt progress toward ratification of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trilateral trade deal signed last year which will replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“We were very clear that as long as the 232 tariffs were there it would be very, very hard for us to ratify the new NAFTA, and that is why we did not table the legislation,” Freeland said in an interview broadcast by CBC radio.

“Now that that big obstacle is lifted, full steam ahead,” she said, without saying when the agreement would be presented to parliament, which closes down in June ahead of an October national election.

“I hope all members of the house will support this agreement,” she added.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday he would meet with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on May 30 to discuss “advancing” ratification.

While several U.S. Democrats applauded removal of the tariffs, some on Friday said USMCA was not yet ready for their support.

“When it comes to the new agreement, House Democrats continue to have a number of substantial concerns related to labor, environment, enforcement, and access to affordable medicines provisions. Those issues still need to be remedied,” said U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal on Friday.

Freeland said Canada was in the process of reaching out to American Democrats to allay their concerns.

“We have been meeting with many leading Democrats to talk to them about the new NAFTA,” Freeland said. “We have a good, strong conversation happening.”

Despite the breakthrough on tariffs and the USMCA agreement last year, Freeland said Canada was still worried about U.S. protectionism.

“I am still concerned about U.S. protectionism and I think it would be naive for anyone to think that there is any kind of permanent safety or security. The reality is that this U.S. administration is openly, explicitly, and proudly protectionist,” Freeland said.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked at the Boeing Factory in Renton
FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

May 16, 2019

By Tamara Mathias

(Reuters) – Boeing Co said on Thursday it had completed a software update for its 737 MAX jets, which have been grounded worldwide since March after they were involved in two fatal crashes.

The planemaker said it was in the process of submitting a plan on pilot training to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and would work with the regulator to schedule its certification test flight.

The FAA is planning a meeting on May 23 in Fort Worth, Texas, with regulators from around the world to update them on reviews of Boeing’s software fix and on pilot training.

Aviation regulators from other countries will have to assess Boeing’s proposed fixes and clear the aircraft to fly in other regions independently of the FAA.

It is unclear when the 737 MAX aircraft will return to service, but U.S. airlines have said they hope the jets will fly this summer.

Southwest Airlines Co and American Airlines Group Inc, the two largest U.S. operators of the MAX, have pulled the jets from their schedules until Aug. 5 and Aug 19, respectively.

The airlines, which must still decide on pilot training, have said they would use the jets as spare planes if they are approved for flight before those dates.

The FAA said on Thursday that Boeing had not yet submitted its final software package for approval.

On Wednesday, acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said he expected Boeing to make its formal submission for its software update in the next week or so.

The 737 MAX was grounded following a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 on board just five months after a similar crash of a Lion Air flight killed 189 people.

Boeing hopes the software upgrade and associated pilot training will add layers of protection to prevent erroneous data from triggering a system called MCAS, which was activated in both the planes before they crashed.

The planemaker said it had completed simulator testing and engineering test flights as well as developed training and education materials, which were now being reviewed by the FAA, global regulators and airline customers.

To date, Boeing has flown the 737 MAX with updated software for more than 360 hours on 207 flights, the company said

(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Source: OANN

A security robot with Huawei 5G technology is displayed at an exhibition during the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin
A security robot with Huawei 5G technology is displayed at an exhibition during the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin, China May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

May 16, 2019

By David Shepardson and Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies said on Thursday it will challenge a decision by the U.S. Commerce Department to add the Chinese company to a export blacklist, warning the decision “will do significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business.”

Huawei said the decision will “affect tens of thousands of American jobs, and disrupt the current collaboration and mutual trust that exist on the global supply chain.”

The Commerce Department did not immediately comment.

The decision by the Commerce Department to add the company and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List bans them from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval.

U.S. officials told Reuters the order would also make it difficult, if not impossible, for Huawei, the largest telecommunications equipment producer in the world, to sell some products because of its reliance on U.S. suppliers. The order will take effect in the coming days.

The dramatic move comes as the Trump administration has aggressively lobbied other countries not to use Huawei equipment in next-generation 5G networks and comes just days after Washington imposed new tariffs on Chinese goods amid an escalating trade war.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The Rio Tinto mining company's logo is photographed at their annual general meeting in Sydney
FILE PHOTO: The Rio Tinto mining company’s logo is photographed at their annual general meeting in Sydney, Australia, May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

May 8, 2019

By Barbara Lewis and Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s biggest diversified miners have yet to see their share prices reflect their role as providers of the minerals needed for a shift to a low-carbon economy.

Mining companies provide minerals such as cobalt used in electric vehicle batteries and copper for increased electrification, and the sector’s balance sheets are in rude health.

Still, many investors are wary. Concerns include the demand outlook from China, the world’s biggest consumer of metals; the sector’s history of wasting shareholders’ money on mergers and acquisitions that never deliver returns; and a patchy record on environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) issues.

Reminders of the dangers include a disaster in Brazil at a Vale tailings dam in January that killed an estimated 300 people, and a U.S. corruption investigation into Glencore, announced in April.

Refinitiv data shows the Big Four diversified miners – Rio Tinto, BHP, Anglo American and Glencore – trading at a lower forward 12-months price-to-earnings multiple than Britain’s FTSE 100.

“All the large mining companies are trading on high free cash flow yields relative to the broader market when you adjust for capital spending on growth projects,” said Nick Stansbury, head of commodity research at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM).

“This is indicative of the market’s scepticism about the sustainability of those cash flows, the robustness of capital allocation by management and the sector’s challenges around ESG issues.”

James Clunie, fund manager at Jupiter Fund Management, which holds shares in Rio Tinto and BHP, agreed uncertainty around medium-term commodity prices was a deterrent.

“A whole class of people say ‘I’m out’ because of that uncertainty, and that leads to (the stocks’) undervaluation,” he said.

(For an interactive version of the graphic, click here

The same attitude is reflected in the ratings given to the four companies by brokers, with most favoring a fence-sitting “hold” recommendation.

(For an interactive version of the graphic, click here

On the flipside, others focus on how the miners have transformed their balance sheets and improved governance.

“Compared to the past, the resources sector is carrying a fraction of the leverage it used to, which should reduce the volatility of the shares,” Evy Hambro, manager of the world’s largest actively managed mining equity fund, BlackRock’s BGF World Mining Fund, told Reuters.

“In addition, the improved capital discipline combined with lower levels of reinvestment has increased the free cash flow available to shareholders and resulted in rising distributions to shareholders.”

BlackRock is the world’s largest money manager, with some $6 trillion in assets. Hambro manages a combined $11.9 billion across several funds.

(For an interactive version of the graphic, click here

(For an interactive version of the graphic, click here

(For an interactive version of the graphic, click here

For an interactive version of the graphic, click here

LGIM’s Stansbury said the sector was wrestling with several paradoxes.

“They are one of the most crucial industries in the fight against climate change,” he said, referring to the minerals they can produce to roll out electrification and renewable energy.

But extracting those minerals results in high levels of emissions, volumes of water consumption and fatalities, despite promises from major miners to eliminate harm.

Mining can also lift large numbers of people out of poverty by providing well-paid jobs and helping to roll out electrification in emerging economies, but operating in the fragile democracies where some of the richest resources are found can expose miners to corruption allegations.

“It is essential the sector makes further progress on transparency and corruption. Investors need to be confident that the government take from resource extraction is used for the benefit of the local population,” Stansbury said.

Another concern is that the sector’s financial health could be setting it up for a fall.

“Counterintuitively the risks around misallocation of capital are greater now that the sector has largely resolved their balance sheet problems,” Stansbury said.

“At the bottom of the last cycle the sector just didn’t have the money to spend unwisely on bad projects. Now they do, so it’s no surprise that these concerns are rising again in investor’s minds.”

(Editing by Dale Hudson)

Source: OANN

Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

May 8, 2019

By Amy Caren Daniel

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks flitted between gains and losses on Wednesday, as investors digested a mixed flow of news on trade, ahead of a critical round of talks between the United States and China.

China’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, is due to visit Washington on Thursday and Friday in a last-ditch effort to strike a deal, even as the United States announced it will raise tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports on Friday.

In response to the potential additional tariffs, China’s commerce ministry said it would have to take necessary retaliatory measures.

“There has been a bipolar flow of information on trade,” said Eric Wiegand, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in New York.

“Today’s move reflects the inconclusive nature of what we are dealing with. It’s hard for investors to really position themselves after you are just hearing rhetoric and not seeing formal policies put in place.”

The spike in tensions between the world’s two largest economies renewed fears of a global economic slowdown and has resulted in the benchmark S&P 500 moving more than 2% away from its record high of 2,954.13 hit last week. [US/]

A bright spot in markets was a 1% gain in shares of iPhone maker Apple Inc <AAPL.N> and Walt Disney Co, which is due to report results after the bell.

At 11:37 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 20.07 points, or 0.08%, at 25,985.16. The S&P 500 was down 0.48 points, or 0.02%, at 2,883.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.89 points, or 0.01%, at 7,962.87.

With results entering the final stretch, first-quarter earnings are now seen rising 1.2%, a sharp improvement from the 2.3% decline expected at the start of the season.

Of the 426 S&P companies that have reported so far, about 75% have beaten profit estimates, according to Refinitiv data.

Electronic Arts Inc rose 1.2% after the videogame maker posted better-than-expected quarterly revenue, riding on the popularity of its battle royale game, “Apex Legends”.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.20-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.11-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 30 new highs and 46 new lows.

(Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila)

Source: OANN

Walmart's logo is seen outside one of the stores in Chicago
FILE PHOTO: Walmart’s logo is seen outside one of the stores in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

May 8, 2019

By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Walmart Inc said on Wednesday it will raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 across its U.S. stores starting July 1, responding to a move by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to battle a surge in teenage use of e-cigarettes.

The retailer will also discontinue the sale of fruit-and dessert-flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems, it said in a letter to the agency.

In March, the FDA put 15 national retailers, including Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Family Dollar Stores, on notice for allegedly selling tobacco products such as e-cigarettes to minors.

E-cigarettes have been a bone of contention in the public health community. Some focus on the potential for the products to shift lifelong smokers onto less harmful nicotine products, while others fear they risk drawing a new generation into nicotine addiction.

Walmart said the FDA had conducted approximately 12,800 compliance checks involving minors at Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations around the country since 2010. Over that period, Walmart stores passed 93 percent and Sam’s Club cleared 99 percent of those checks.

In 2018, the Walmart stores cleared 94 percent of the 2,400 FDA checks and Sam’s Club passed 100 percent of its 15 checks.

“While we have implemented a robust compliance program, we are not satisfied with falling short of our companywide goal of 100 percent compliance,” John Scudder, U.S. chief ethics and compliance officer, said in a letter to the FDA.

“Even a single sale to a minor is one too many,” he said.

In the letter, the world’s largest retailer also assured the regulator that it would remained focused on improving its compliance rates and any sale-to-minor violation would be dealt with promptly.

Walmart said it would use internal and external data, including FDA data, to implement alerts, controls, training and monitoring to reduce the risk of a underage sale to an underage customer.

In 2019, the retailer said it would conduct 8,000 secret-shopper visits, and stores and that workers who fail the checks would be required to complete a “corrective action plan.”

“Going forward … a cashier who fails a secret-shopper check will be subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including termination,” Scudder said in the letter.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The GM logo is seen in Warren, Michigan
FILE PHOTO: The GM logo is seen in Warren, Michigan, U.S. on October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

May 8, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that General Motors Co will sell its Lordstown, Ohio plant to a company to build electric trucks and will invest $700 million in three other Ohio facilities.

GM did not immediately comment. Trump, in a tweet, said the sale of the Ohio plant to Workhouse Group Inc will require the approval of the United Auto Workers union. GM came under harsh criticism from Trump and members of Congress after it announced in November it would close five North American assembly plants and cut 15,000 jobs.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp at the company’s annual meeting in Tarrytown
General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp mingles with shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Tarrytown, New York, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Alwyn Scott

May 8, 2019

By Alwyn Scott

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (Reuters) – General Electric Co Chief Executive Larry Culp said on Wednesday the company will likely have weaker quarters the rest of the year after a surprisingly good start in the first quarter.

GE’s results will balance out through 2019 and its profit and cash flow forecasts are unchanged, Culp said at the company’s annual meeting. GE faces several hundred million dollars in increased costs because of tariffs on imports from China, he said.

Shareholders elected GE’s slate of directors and all management proposals passed, company officials said at the meeting.

But an executive compensation proposal passed with 70.5 percent of the vote and 29.5 percent against, GE said, which was a relatively low level of support for such measures.

Institutional Shareholder Services had recommended shareholders vote against top executives’ pay, citing concerns about directors’ discretion to set pay.

GE set its 2019 financial targets last week, which call for a cash outflow of up to $2 billion.

“It’s still tough to say that out loud,” Culp said on Wednesday, referring to the $2 billion figure. “But that’s the reality.”

Before the meeting, Chief Financial Officer Jamie Miller told reporters that one of the biggest changes under Culp is that GE is focusing on operations in quarterly reviews of its business.

In the past, such reviews were more “high level” and focused on the financial results first and operations second, she said, noting she and Culp met with aviation on Monday, healthcare on Tuesday and plan to meet with the power business in about two weeks.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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