Beijing, Aug 29 (AP/UNB) — Asian stock markets edged higher Wednesday after Wall Street gained on strength in technology and retailing shares.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to 22,927.35 points and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 22 points to 28,373.74. The Shanghai Composite Index was off 2 points at 2,775.89 and Seoul's Kospi gained 2 points to 2,305.98. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.3 percent to 6,321.20 and benchmarks in Taiwan and New Zealand gained.
WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at a new record. Shoe retailer DSW surged 20.2 percent after reporting stronger-than-expected results. Apple added 0.8 percent and chipmaker Qualcomm gained 3.6 percent. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent to 2,897.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1 percent to 26,064.02. The Nasdaq composite gained 12.14 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,030.04. Energy companies dipped along with oil prices.
NAFTA: Canada's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, said she had a "constructive conversation" with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about how to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. Freeland arrived in Washington for talks after the Trump administration reached a preliminary deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA. While some experts think stocks could rally if the U.S. and its partners make progress on new trade deals, others say it is unclear how much tensions have harmed stocks.
ANALYST'S QUOTE: "The initial euphoria from the U.S.-Mexico agreement died down" and "mixed views" from Canadian officials gave investors little guidance, said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. Investors appear to be looking at the Mexico talks "to project how the U.S. administration would likely remain adamant as well in dealing with China that could invite further tensions ahead," said Pan. "One to watch, nevertheless, as more tariffs loom."
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 10 cents to $68.63 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract sank 34 cents on Tuesday to close at $68.53. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 6 cents to $76.35 in London. It shed 21 cents the previous session to $76.29.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 111.29 yen from Tuesday's 111.19 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1692 from $1.1696.
Washington, Aug 29 (AP/UNB) — Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said her meeting Tuesday with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was "a very good, constructive conversation" about how to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Freeland told reporters after the meeting she and her team plan to work this week in "a full-steam effort" and said both parties will start diving into specific issues Wednesday morning.
Freeland hurried to Washington a day after the Trump administration reached a preliminary deal Monday with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
She doesn't have much time, because Lighthizer intends to formally notify Congress of the deal with Mexico on Friday.
Freeland said both parties "are set for an important and constructive week" but also warned that "we are prepared for all scenarios."
She said significant concessions from Mexico in the areas of labor and rules of origin on cars "really paved the way for what Canada believes will be a good week."
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Mexico had agreed to ensure that 75 percent of automotive content be produced within the trade bloc (up from a current 62.5 percent) to receive duty-free benefits and that 40 percent to 45 percent be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour. Those changes are meant to encourage more auto production in the United States.
Tuesday's meeting was the first time Freeland had met with her U.S. counterparts in Washington since May.
Umm Al-Quwain, UAE, Aug 29 (UNB/AsiaNet) – UAE based ADAB Solutions company is launching the First Islamic Crypto Exchange (FICE), which is very unique, as it is the only Shariah compliant crypto exchange at this moment.
This project gives access to the technologically innovative financial sector for 1.8 billion Muslims living on the planet. FICE will create a reliable crypto trading platform, which will become a universal solution for the involvement of Muslims and users of Islamic finance in the crypto market.
This will be the first project, which allows crypto transactions to be performed in accordance with the principles of Islamic finance and will be open to all users, regardless of religion.
According to the Islamic Finance Development Report 2017 by Thomson Reuters, the crypto economy is one of the key innovative areas in the field of Islamic finance. However, the multitudes of contradictions in this market, and the ambiguous position of the Islamic community regarding the admissibility of investments in this market, have led to the distancing and wait-and-see attitude of Muslim investors.
By adhering to the high moral requirements set forth by the Shariah community, the company will utilize the in-house Shariah Advisory Board represented by international Shariah experts to ensure that FICE activity will comply with Shariah principles at all times. These new standards set forth by the FICE will ensure an enhanced quality of assets on exchange, as well as an enhanced inclusion of Islamic crypto assets enthusiasts and traders.
"Ideas that correspond to the norms of the Shariah are based on the understandable material value, have a clear business strategy, and this allows us to confidently assert that halal projects are incomparably safer more successful than the beautiful signs of many cryptocurrency initiatives," says Founder and CEO of ADAB Solutions, Timur Turzhan.
"By investing in FICE, you will not only support the needed and well-timed project for the Islamic Ummah of the whole world, but also make a valuable acquisition that can bring a decent profit. Our team is dedicated to its business and will do its best to achieve all the goals set."
ADAB Solutions Company registered under the UAE jurisdiction. The company aims to provide solutions to attract Muslims community to the crypto economy.
Tokyo, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) — Global shares were mostly higher Tuesday after the White House said it reached a preliminary agreement with Mexico on replacing a North American free-trade deal.
KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent in early trading to 5,485.39, while Germany's DAX was up 0.2 percent at 12,561.44. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.7 percent to 7,630.36. U.S. shares were set to be flat with Dow futures virtually unchanged at 27,078. S&P 500 futures gained less than 0.1 percent to 2,899.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 finished at 22,813.47, up 0.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 6,304.70. South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.2 percent to 2,303.12. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 28,333.14 after fluctuating throughout the day. The Shanghai Composite index inched down 0.1 percent to 2,777.98, adjusting from its gains the previous day.
TRADE DEAL: Asian economies generally benefit from trade deals that will encourage exports to the U.S. The Nasdaq composite index topped 8,000 for the first time after the North American Free Trade Agreement news, although the trade deal isn't final. The U.S. still needs to reach an understanding with Canada, the third party in the accord.
THE QUOTE: "Risk sentiment continues to improve with U.S. markets bolstered by the ... latest NAFTA progress, set to inspire Asian market higher into the session," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
TOYOTA GAINS: Toyota Motor Corp. shares got a perk from the NAFTA news as the top Japanese automaker benefits from free trade. The manufacturer was also boosted by its announcement that it was investing $500 million in ride-hailing service Uber and will partner with it to build self-driving cars. Toyota was trading up nearly 2 percent in the morning session on the Tokyo Stock Exchange but settled at 0.9 percent higher in the afternoon.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 14 cents to $68.73 a barrel. It edged up 0.2 percent to $68.87 a barrel in the New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 4 cents to $76.25 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 111.18 yen from 111.19 late Monday. The euro rose to $1.1684 from $1.1611.
New York, July 28 (AP/UNB) — CBS said Friday it is investigating personal misconduct claims after the company's chief executive, Les Moonves, was the subject of a New Yorker story detailing sexual misconduct allegations.
The media company said independent members of its board of directors are "investigating claims that violate the company's clear policies" regarding personal misconduct.
CBS Corp.'s stock fell 6 percent — its worst one-day loss in nearly seven years — as the reports of the misconduct allegations began to circulate around noon Friday, triggering investor concerns Moonves might be forced to step down. The CBS chief has been a towering figure in television for decades, credited with turning around a network that had been mired for years at the bottom ratings.
The New York-based company did not mention Moonves by name but said it issued a statement in response to the New Yorker article, which was published on the magazine's website late Friday. The article was written by Ronan Farrow, who wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning story last year for the same magazine uncovering many of the allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein
The article says six women who had professional dealings with Moonves say he sexually harassed them between the 1980s and late 2000s. Four of the women described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, it says, while two said that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers.
Among the women quoted in the article were the actress Illeana Douglas, writer Janet Jones and producer Christine Peters. Farrow told The Associated Press that all the women quoted in the article had to overcome "a lot of fear of retaliation to tell very serious stories of sexual misconduct about Les Moonves."
Moonves acknowledged in a statement that there were times decades ago when he may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. But he says, "Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely."
He said that he never misused his position to harm or hinder anyone's career.
The New Yorker article also said a culture of misconduct extended from Moonves to other parts of the corporation, including CBS News. It said men in that division who were accused of sexual misconduct were promoted, even as the company paid settlements to women with complaints.
CBS said that once the investigation by its independent board members is completed, the full corporate board will review the findings and "take appropriate action."
It took issue in a statement with the New Yorker article, however, for not accurately representing "a larger organization that does its best to treat its tens of thousands of employees with dignity and respect."
Mooves is the latest media giant to become embroiled in sexual misconduct allegations since the downfall of Weinstein in October triggered the #metoo social media movement.
In November, CBS fired veteran news host Charlie Rose over allegations he had groped women, walked naked in front of them and made lewd phone calls. Rose has apologized for his behavior but questioned the accuracy of some of the claims.
In December, Moonves joined a meeting of chief executives of nearly every major Hollywood studio, TV network and record label to establish a commission to comb sexual misconduct in the industry. They agreed to fund the Commission On Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, and chose Anita Hill to chair it.
The allegations come as CBS is in the middle of a legal battle with its controlling shareholder, National Amusements, which has been pushing for a merger with Viacom, also controlled by National Amusements.
CBS and Viacom were once part of the same company, known as Viacom, but were split in 2005 into separate entities, both controlled by Sumner Redstone. His daughter, Shari Redstone, has been pushing to reunite the companies under one corporate umbrella. Moonves has been opposed to the deal.
CBS said its current "management team has the full support of the independent board members" in the ongoing litigation involving National Amusements. The legal case is being played out in Delaware court.
National Amusements jumped into the controversy with a statement denying what it called "the malicious insinuation that Ms. Redstone is somehow behind the allegations of inappropriate personal behavior by Mr. Moonves or today's reports."
"Ms. Redstone hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent," the company said.
Moonves, one of the most powerful executives in media, has led CBS for two decades, including the 12 years since it split from Viacom.
He revived the company, which operates the CBS network, Showtime and other entities, with hit shows like "NCIS" and "The Big Bang Theory."
He also introduced separate streaming CBS and Showtime services as more people "cut the cord" and watch TV online. The network consistently tops in prime-time ratings.
While CBS's stock took a hit, Viacom's rose sharply as investors anticipated that a combination of CBS and Viacom could become more likely should Moonves be forced out. Viacom closed up 4.6 percent.
Moonves was the No. 2 highest paid CEO of a major public company in 2017, according to an analysis by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm. He made $68.4 million last year, behind only chip maker Broadcom's CEO.
Before joining CBS, he was president of Warner Bros. Television, where he oversaw the development of hit TV shows "Friends" and "ER."
Moonves, who is married to TV personality and CBS producer Julie Chen, was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2013. He also won the Milestone Award from the Producers Guild of America that year.