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Asia stocks mixed on possible US-China trade snag

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed today after investors were rattled by a possible snag in a U.S.-Chinese trade truce following reports Beijing wants Washington to lift punitive tariffs.

The Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.3% while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was up 0.2%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 13 points and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.2%.

Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.5% and India's Sensex sank 0.3%. Benchmarks in Taiwan and New Zealand declined while Singapore advanced.

On Wall Street yesterday, the Dow rose 0.1% to 27,492.63. The S&P 500 fell 0.1% to 3,074.62. And the Nasdaq composite added less than 0.1% to 8,434.68.


US official says Moon-Abe meeting was 'encouraging sign'

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A senior U.S. official says an unexpected meeting this week between the leaders of South Korea and Japan was an "encouraging sign" that the Asian U.S. allies are on track to improve a relationship strained by deep rows over trade and history.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Affairs David Stilwell spoke Wednesday after meeting South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa in Seoul.

Stilwell's visit comes weeks before the expiration of a military intelligence-sharing agreement between South Korea and Japan that Seoul has threatened to end in retaliation for Tokyo's moves to tighten controls on exports to its neighbor.

Following an angry reaction from the Trump administration, Seoul said it could reconsider if Japan relists South Korea as a favored trade partner.


S Korea offers to visit stalled joint tour resort in North

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says it has offered to send a delegation to check on facilities at a long-stalled joint tourist resort in North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently ordered the destruction of South Korean-made hotels and other facilities at the North's Diamond Mountain resort, saying they appear "shabby" and "unpleasant-looking."

Seoul's Unification Ministry said Wednesday it sent a message proposing a delegation dispatch to conduct safety checks on those facilities.

Ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min says North Korea hasn't responded.

South Korea earlier proposed face-to-face talks on the issue. North Korea has rejected that and insisted on document exchanges.

South Korean-run tours to the mountain resort were suspended in 2008 when a North Korean soldier fatally shot a South Korean tourist.


Japan's SoftBank tumbles into losses over costly investments

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. has tumbled into losses for the fiscal second quarter over money-losing investments, including a bailout for office-space sharing startup WeWork.

The Tokyo-based company reported Wednesday a July-September loss of 700 billion yen ($6.4 billion), down from a 526 billion yen profit the same period a year ago.

SoftBank says it expects a special loss on the value of its shares of subsidiaries and associates of nearly 498 billion yen ($4.6 billion) for its non-consolidated financial statement for the fiscal year ending March 2020.

Last month, SoftBank announced a bailout for WeWork, including $5 billion in new financing, a tender offer of up to $3 billion for existing WeWork shareholders, and an acceleration of an earlier promise of $1.5 billion in funding.


New SUV models boost BMW profits despite technology costs

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Automaker BMW reports that net profit increased 11.5 percent from a year ago, to 1.55 billion euros ($1.72 billion) in the third quarter, helped by a rejuvenated model line and the absence of last year's market disruptions due to troubles with diesel cars.

Revenues grew 7.9 percent to 26.67 billion euros and the company reaffirmed its profit targets for the year.

The Munich-based company cites sharp increases in sales of its X3 and X4 sport-utility vehicles during the first nine months. Profits rose despite higher spending on new tech such as electric cars.

BMW earnings took a hit in the third quarter of 2018 amid market disruptions due to other automakers failing to get diesel cars certified in time under new emissions rules, leading to price and supply distortions.


Agency: All states should require bicyclists to wear helmets

DETROIT (AP) — A government agency is recommending that all 50 states enact laws requiring bicyclists to wear helmets to stem an increase in bicycle deaths on U.S. roadways.

The recommendation was among several issued by the National Transportation Safety Board after a hearing Tuesday on bicycle safety. The agency says 857 bicyclists died in crashes with motor vehicles in the U.S. last year, a 6.3% increase over 2017. Bicycle deaths rose even though total road deaths fell 2.4%.

The NTSB also found that improved road designs to separate bicycle and vehicle traffic, and making bicyclists more visible through clothing, lights and technology would reduce the number of cyclist deaths.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt says if changes aren't made, more bicyclists will die.

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