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US-China Trade Breakthrough. “China and the United States have reached a breakthrough in talks on eliminating duties on information technology products, a deal that could pave the way for the first major tariff-cutting agreement at the World Trade Organisation in 17 years,” Reuters’ Michael Martina reported. “The breakthrough would allow the ‘swift conclusion’ on talks to expand the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) at the WTO in Geneva later this year, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters on Tuesday. It would reduce global tariffs on such products as medical equipment, GPS devices, video games consoles, and next-generation semiconductors.”
Alibaba Posts Record Sales On Singles Day. On the world’s largest online shopping day of the year, China’s Alibaba shattered last year’s full-day sales of $US5.75 billion,
pulling in $US5.8 billion by the afternoon.
Markets Are Passing Milestones. The US stock markets closed at a record high on Tuesday, and futures are pointing higher again. Dow futures are up 17 points, and S&P futures are up 2 points. US bond markets are closed for Veterans Day.
Oil Falls To A 4-Year Low. Crude prices continue to tumble amid elevated supply and deteriorating demand. Brent crude slumped to as low as $US81.23 per barrel, the lowest level since October 2010. WTI crude got as low as $US76.42.
Will Japan’s Abe Dissolve Parliament? “Japanese lawmakers began preparations for a potential snap election, the clearest sign yet that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering dissolving parliament before postponing a planned sales-tax increase,” Bloomberg’s Takashi Hirokawa reported. “Hiroyoshi Sasagawa, a ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, said in an interview today that preparations have begun, though only Abe can call a general election. Local LDP constituency offices are getting ready for a poll, according to three other people with knowledge of the matter.”
Japanese Yen Sinks To A 7-Year Low. “The yen depreciated 0.8 per cent to 115.83 per dollar at 9:39 a.m. London time and touched 116.01, the weakest level since October 2007,” Bloomberg’s Lucy Meakin reported. “Japan’s currency slid 0.8 per cent to 143.79 per euro. The 18-nation common currency was little changed at $US1.2414.”
Juniper CEO Quits. “Juniper Networks Inc. Chief Executive Officer Shaygan Kheradpir stepped down after less than a year on the job, following a board review of his conduct related to a customer negotiation,” Bloomberg’s Dina Bass and Denni Hu reported. “The networking-gear maker said Kheradpir, 53, who became CEO in January, was resigning over the customer situation. Board members and Kheradpir have ‘different perspectives regarding these matters,’ the Sunnyvale, California-based company said in a statement yesterday. Juniper didn’t identify the customer.”
Citi Warns Iron Ore Prices Are Going Down. “We expect iron ore prices to fall into the $US50s — We have downgraded our price forecasts … briefly dipping into the $US50s — with annual averages of $US65 in 2015 and 2016,” Citi Research analysts wrote. Like oil, supply is high and demand is deteriorating for the commodity, which is down by about 40% this year. Prices are at about $US75 per ton Tuesday.
Mondelez Is Expanding. Mondelez International, the maker of Nabisco biscuits and Cadbury chocolate, plans to pay $US370 million for an 80% stake in Kinh Do, a Vietnamese snack business. “Our significant investment in Kinh Do and Vietnam is a perfect fit for our growth strategy in Asia Pacific, strengthening our core snacking categories in a high-growth dynamic market,” Mondelez executive Tim Cofer said in a statement.
Samsung Has Its Eyes On Vietnam. The electronics maker plans to invest $US3 billion (£1.8 billion) to build a second smartphone plant in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi. “Vietnam is in a unique position,” Lam Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City-based country director at International Data Corp., told Bloomberg. “You have a motivated workforce and in terms of labour costs, they are cheaper than China, cheaper than Thailand.”
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