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Asian stock markets retreat after surge on China tariff cut

UNDATED (AP) — Asian stock markets retreated today following a surge after China announced a tariff cut on U.S. imports.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.6% and the Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.2%. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 0.2%.

The Kospi in Seoul sank 0.7% and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.4%.

On Wall Street Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.3% to 3,345.78. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3%. The Nasdaq climbed 0.7% to 9,572.15.


January US jobs report may provide clarity amid disruptions

WASHINGTON (AP) — With China's viral outbreak disrupting trade and Boeing's troubles weighing on American factories, the January U.S. jobs report today may provide timely evidence of the U.S. economy's enduring health.

Economists surveyed by data provider FactSet estimate that employers added 161,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate remained at a 50-year low of 3.5%. That pace of hiring would be weaker than the monthly average of the past two years yet still more than enough to reduce unemployment over time.

Along with January's hiring data, the Labor Department is expected to report that the United States had 500,000 fewer jobs in March 2019 than previously estimated. That would be a relatively small change in an economy with 150 million jobs. But it would still indicate that there was less hiring in the 12 months that ended in March, at a time of robust economic growth, than had been assumed.


Messy Iowa caucuses leave cash-poor candidates scrambling

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Iowa caucuses weren't just a colossal mess. They were a massive money drain for Democratic presidential contenders, who poured millions into a contest so plagued by voting glitches that there still isn't a declared winner. That's placed an even bigger spotlight on New Hampshire, where many of the cash-strapped candidates were trying to raise money in between events. With campaigns girding for a protracted contest, fundraising success is critical to their long-term prospects. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg undoubtedly raised money off their strong Iowa showings.

As results from Monday's Iowa caucuses were still being tabulated, former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who both trailed in the state, shifted their money around, canceled ad buys and sent out emails pleading for donations ahead of Friday's debate.

Pete Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor who did quite well in Iowa, has been reaching out to past Biden donors to gauge their interest in jumping ship.

Bloomberg's “friend raiser” tactic is targeting on-the-fence donors whom Biden needs and who could further hinder his fundraising efforts.


Credit Suisse says CEO Thiam resigns amid spying scandal

GENEVA (AP) — Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam (TIHD’-jahn tee-EHN’) says he is resigning after nearly five years on the job, acknowledging that a spying scandal caused “anxiety and hurt” and tarnished the reputation of the top-drawer Swiss bank.

The bank says its board a day earlier accepted Thiam's resignation. It will take effect on Feb. 14, after the presentation of Credit Suisse's fourth-quarter results. He will be replaced by Thomas Gottstein, the CEO of the bank's Swiss operations.

Last month, Credit Suisse announced that a second former top executive was snooped on at the behest of its then-chief operating officer, who resigned earlier over another such case.

Thiam has said, “I had no knowledge of the observation of two former colleagues."


Auditor: More than $4M stolen from Mississippi welfare funds

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's state auditor says at least $4 million in federal welfare money was stolen by the John Davis who is the former head of the state welfare agency and others in the nation's poorest state. At least $48,000 of that paid for a luxury drug rehabilitation program for a former pro wrestler Brett DiBiase. The indictment issued Wednesday also alleged a politically connected nonprofit administrator and her son took millions, including more than $2 million invested in two Florida medical companies.

Gov. Tate Reeves praised the auditor Thursday, saying the investigation has uncovered what seemed to be in his words a truly disgusting abuse of power." Reeves says he received campaign contributions from some of those indicted, and his campaign will not keep the money.

Those indicted and arrested are the state welfare agency’s department's former director; the ex-wrestler; a former Department of Human Services employee; and the director of the Mississippi Community Education Center and New Learning Resources and that director’s son who is assistant executive director of the education center; along with an accountant for the education center.


Amateur basketball league founder says Avenatti betrayed him

NEW YORK (AP)— A Los Angeles amateur basketball league's founder told jurors Thursday that Michael Avenatti betrayed him when the lawyer threatened to make his complaints against Nike public.

Avenatti is standing trial in New York on charges that he tried to extort millions of dollars from the sportswear giant as he represented Gary Franklin, founder of the California Supreme league.

Franklin testified in Manhattan federal court that he hoped Avenatti would quietly negotiate a settlement with Nike that would restore his league's decade-long $72,000 annual Nike sponsorship, which included thousands of dollars more in basketball-related gear. He also expected Avenatti to get him $1 million restitution and report bullying and possibly illegal behavior by two Nike executives.

Instead, he said, Avenatti did things he never expected, like threatening to stage a news conference to reveal bad acts by the Nike executives and by trying to secure up to $25 million, so Avenatti and another lawyer could conduct an internal probe of Nike.


Manufacturer to stop making pesticide linked to brain damage

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A pesticide that has been linked to brain damage in children is being phased out. The largest manufacturer of the chemical says it will stop making chlorpyrifos (klor-PEER'-ih-fahs) this year. The chemical is used on crops including citrus, cotton, grapes and almonds and has been linked to brain damage in children.

California had already banned the chemical and other states had moved to do so as well.

Corteva — which was spun off last year after DuPont's merger with Dow Chemical — said demand for chlorpyrifos in the U.S. is less than 20% what it was at its peak nearly 30 years ago. The company said it was a business decision to end its production, and it reaffirmed that it believes the product is safe.

According to the company, Farmers will be able to buy enough of the chemical to use through the end of the year.


Scottsdale man, mother indicted in restaurant fraud scheme

PHOENIX (AP) — A Scottsdale man and his mother have been indicted for alleged wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Federal prosecutors say 52-year-old Frank Capri and 68-year-old Debbie Corvo of Cave Creek are accused of orchestrating the collapse of two county music branded restaurant chains in Arizona and across the country.

Court documents show Capri was arrested Wednesday and later arraigned in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. He entered a plea of not guilty.

According to the Arizona Republic, Capri's company built 20 Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill restaurants beginning in 2009. The newspaper says 19 restaurants closed in about 18 months, and Capri also was behind the financial ruin of 19 Rascal Flatts restaurant projects.


California lawmaker wants labor law for freelancers changed

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The author of a sweeping new California labor law said Thursday that she intends to ease its restrictions on freelance journalists and others after months of protests that it is already costing people their jobs.

Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said in a series of tweets that she already has proposed legislative language removing a requirement that any freelancer with more than 35 submissions to a single media outlet in a year must be considered an employee.

It was just one of many efforts in the law to define which workers must be treated as employees rather than independent contractors. The law sets the nation's strictest test for which workers must be considered employees and could set a precedent for other states.

But the freelancers objected to what they say is an arbitrary limit. SB Nation, owned by Vox Media, announced even before the law took effect Jan. 1 that it was ending its use of more than 200 California freelancers, switching instead to using a much smaller number of new employees.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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