Retail Disappointments, Energy Decline Hit Wall Street

Stocks dropped again Tuesday as losses mounted for the world’s largest technology companies. Retailers also fell, and energy companies plunged with oil prices as the market sank back into the red for the year. 

 

Oil prices tumbled another 6.6 percent as Wall Street reacted to rising oil supplies and concerns that global economic growth will slow down, a worry that’s intensified because of the trade tensions between the U.S. and China. 

 

Technology companies were hit after the Trump administration proposed new national security regulations that could limit exports of high-tech products in fields such as quantum computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

 

Retailers also skidded. Target’s profit disappointed investors as it spends more money to revamp its stores and its website, while Ross Stores, TJX and Kohl’s also fell on disappointing forecasts. 

 

The S&P 500 index lost 48.84 points, or 1.8 percent, to 2,641.89. The Dow Jones industrial average sank 551.80 points, or 2.2 percent, to 24,465.64. 

 

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 119.65 points, or 1.7 percent, to 6,908.82. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 27.53 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,469.01. 

 

The Dow industrials have lost 3.7 percent in the last two days, and the S&P 500 is off 3.4 percent. The Nasdaq is off 4.7 percent. The S&P 500 index has fallen 9.9 percent from the record high it set exactly two months ago. 

 

Investors are measuring several headwinds and increasingly playing it safe. The global economy is showing signs of weakening, with the United States, China and Europe all facing the rising threat of a slowdown, which can hurt demand for commodities such as oil and threaten company profits. Trade tensions between the U.S. and China appear to be getting worse instead of improving, contributing to the sell-off in tech stocks and multinational industrial companies. 

 

For much of this year, investors were hopeful the U.S. and China would easily resolve their differences on trade. That hope has faded in the last two months. While U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet this month at a gathering of the Group of 20 major economies, the proposed limits on tech exports were one more reason to worry. 

 

“A resolution doesn’t seem to be coming in the short term,” said Katie Nixon, the chief investment officer for Northern Trust Wealth Management. “A lot of the companies that are front and center [like] Alphabet, Apple, IBM … could be significantly limited in the way they export their technology.” 

 

Apple fell 4.8 percent to $176.98 and is down 23.7 percent from the peak it reached Oct. 3, though it’s still up almost 5 percent this year. Microsoft lost 2.8 percent to $101.71 and IBM fell 2.6 percent to $117.20. 

 

As the tech giants swoon, investors have lately turned to safer bets such as utilities, real estate companies and makers of household goods. They’ve also sought the safety of U.S. Treasuries. 

 

The price of oil has been falling sharply in recent weeks and is now down 30 percent since Oct. 3. 

 

Saudi Arabia and other countries started producing more oil after the Trump administration announced renewed sanctions on Iran, Nixon noted. The administration granted waivers to several countries that allowed them to continue importing oil from Iran, creating a supply glut that pushed prices dramatically lower. 

 

Nixon said OPEC countries will probably cut back on oil production, but some investors are worried that the buildup in crude stockpiles is a sign the global economy isn’t doing as well as expected. 

 

Earnings from retailers didn’t help investors’ mood. Target plunged 10.5 percent to $69.03 after reporting earnings that missed Wall Street’s estimates because of higher expenses. Ross Stores, TJX and Kohl’s also fell on disappointing forecasts. 

 

Tech stocks were among the biggest losers in Europe, too. Nokia and Ericsson, two top suppliers of telecom networks, each fell about 3 percent. European indexes fell, with Germany’s DAX index dropping 1.6 percent and the French CAC 30 falling 1.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.8 percent. 

 

Stocks also declined in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 2 percent. 

 

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 6.6 percent to $53.43 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 6.4 percent to $62.53 per barrel in London. Oil prices have nosedived since early October. 

 

Wholesale gasoline fell 5.5 percent to $1.50 a gallon and heating oil skidded 4.6 percent to $1.99 a gallon. Natural gas dipped 3.8 percent to $4.52 per 1,000 cubic feet. 

 

Bond prices were steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 3.06 percent. 

 

Gold slipped 0.3 percent to $1,221.20 an ounce. Silver fell 0.9 percent to $14.27 an ounce. Copper slid 1.2 percent to $2.77 a pound. 

 

The dollar fell to 112.40 yen from 112.54 yen. The euro fell to $1.1399 from $1.1453. 

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Boeing Cancels Call to Discuss Issues With Its Newest Plane 

Analysts say Boeing Co. is canceling a conference call that it scheduled to discuss issues around its newest plane, which has come under scrutiny since a deadly crash in Indonesia. 

The company didn’t immediately give an explanation Tuesday. 

CFRA Research analyst Jim Corridore said canceling the call as “a bad look for the company” when it’s facing questions about potential problems with sensors on the 737 MAX. 

U.S. airline pilots say they weren’t told about a new feature that could pitch the nose down automatically if sensors indicate the plane is about to stall. 

On Oct. 29, a Lion Air MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board. 

Boeing shares are down about 13 percent since Nov. 9. 

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Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Rush Gets Off to a Good Start

Favorable weather is helping get the Thanksgiving travel rush off to a smooth start.

 

By midday Tuesday, just a few dozen flights had been canceled around the U.S. That’s fewer cancelations than many regular travel days.

 

The AAA auto club predicts that 54.3 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday, the highest number since 2005 and about a 5 percent increase over last year. AA says 48 million will drive and 4.7 million will fly.

 

Looking at a longer, 12-day period, the airline industry trade group Airlines for America predicts that a record 30.6 million people will fly on U.S. carriers, up from 29 million last year. That’s more than 2.5 million per day.

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Scientists Work to Save Wild Puerto Rican Parrot After Maria

Biologists are trying to save the last of the endangered Puerto Rican parrots after more than half the population of the bright green birds with turquoise-tipped wings disappeared when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and destroyed their habitat and food sources.

In the tropical forest of El Yunque, only two of the 56 wild birds that once lived there survived the Category 4 storm that pummeled the U.S. territory in September 2017. Meanwhile, only 4 of 31 wild birds in a forest in the western town of Maricao survived, along with 75 out of 134 wild parrots living in the Rio Abajo forest in the central mountains of Puerto Rico, scientists said.

And while several dozen new parrots have been born in captivity and in the wild since Maria, the species is still in danger, according to scientists.

“We have a lot of work to do,” said Gustavo Olivieri, parrot recovery program coordinator for Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources.

Federal and local scientists will meet next month to debate how best to revive a species that numbered more than 1 million in the 1800s but dwindled to 13 birds during the 1970s after decades of forest clearing.

The U.S. and Puerto Rican governments launched a program in 1972 that eventually led to the creation of three breeding centers. Just weeks before Maria hit, scientists reported 56 wild birds at El Yunque, the highest since the program was launched.

But the population decline is now especially worrisome because the parrots that vanished from El Yunque were some of the last remaining wild ones, said Marisel Lopez, who oversees the parrot recovery program at El Yunque for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

“It was devastating. After so many years of having worked on this project…,” she stopped talking and sighed.

The Puerto Rican Amazon is Puerto Rico’s only remaining native parrot and is one of roughly 30 species of Amazon parrots found in the Americas. The red-foreheaded birds grow to nearly a foot in length, are known for their secrecy and usually mate for life, reproducing once a year.

More than 460 birds remain captive at the breeding centers in El Yunque and Rio Abajo forests, but scientists have not released any of them since Hurricane Maria. A third breeding center in a forest in the western rural town of Maricao has not operated since the storm. Scientists are now trying to determine the best way to prepare the parrots for release since there are such few birds in the wild they can interact with, and whether Puerto Rico’s damaged forests can sustain them.

One proposal scientists will consider is whether to capture some of the remaining wild parrots in the Rio Abajo forest and place them in the same cage as birds that will be released to the wild, so they can learn to emulate their social behavior to ensure their survival, said Jafet Velez, a wildlife biologist with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Scientists are tentatively planning to release 20 birds next year in Rio Abajo.

Another proposal is to release more parrots in Maricao, which was not as heavily damaged by Maria.

“Our priority now is not reproduction. … it’s to start releasing them,” Lopez said, adding that breeding centers can hold only so many parrots.

But first, scientists need to make sure the forests can offer food and safe shelter.

Jessica Ilse, a forest biologist at el Yunque for the U.S. Forest Service, said scientists are collecting data about the amount of fruit falling from trees and the number of leaves shed. She said the canopy still has not grown back since Maria and warned that invasive species have taken root since more sunlight now shines through. Ilse said that many of the large trees where parrots used to nest are now gone and noted that it took 14 months for El Yunque’s canopy to close after Hurricane Hugo hit Puerto Rico in 1989 as a Category 3 storm.

Scientists also are now collecting new data on the number of predators at El Yunque, including el guaraguao, a red-tailed hawk that hunts Puerto Rico parrots. Without a canopy and proper camouflage, wild parrots have become an easy target.

Ilse said local and federal scientists plan to help the forest recover through planting. By the end of November, they expect to have a map detailing the most damaged areas in El Yunque and a list of tree species they can plant that are more resistant to hurricanes.

“People keep asking us, ‘How long is it going to take?'” Ilse said.

But scientists don’t know, she added.

“The damage is more extensive than [hurricanes] Hugo and Georges. … It’s been a complete change to the ecosystem.”

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Top Senate Democrat Wants Probe of Whitaker’s White House Contacts

The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer, called Tuesday for the Justice Department’s internal investigator to review communications between acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and the White House.

Senate Minority Leader Schumer said he wants the Justice Department’s inspector general to look into Whitaker’s interactions with the White House since last year when he was named chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

President Donald Trump picked Whitaker earlier this month to become the country’s top law enforcement official after ousting Sessions, whom he had long assailed for removing himself from oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-running investigation of alleged 2016 Trump campaign links with Russia.

Whitaker, before joining the Justice Department, had been critical of Mueller’s probe, saying a replacement attorney general, such as he is now, could cut funding to the probe so that it “grinds almost to a halt.”

Schumer said he wants the Justice Department’s inspector general to look into whether Whitaker, in the top echelon of the agency before Trump appointed him as head of it for as long as 210 days, had access to confidential grand jury information obtained in Mueller’s investigation and whether he shared any of it with Trump or other White House officials.

“I am also concerned that Mr. Whitaker, who has thus far declined to recuse himself from the Special Counsel investigation, may intend to interfere in or obstruct the investigation in other ways,” Schumer wrote.

 

Several Democratic lawmakers, along with some Republicans, have said that Whitaker, because of his attacks on the Mueller investigation as a television analyst, should, like Sessions, remove himself from oversight.

Sessions had delegated authority over the probe to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but Whitaker now has assumed control.

Whitaker has taken no public action against the investigation, but also has not commented publicly about how he views it.

Schumer’s call for a Justice Department inspector general’s investigation, came a day after three other Democratic senators sued to block Trump’s appointment of Whitaker, claiming he was named to undermine Mueller’s investigation.

Going to court

Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii filed the lawsuit in a federal court in Washington, the fourth suit contesting Whitaker’s appointment. The lawmakers and other critics of the investigation have contended that the nomination of Whitaker, as head of a Cabinet-level agency, was subject to Senate confirmation.

“President Trump is denying senators our constitutional obligation and opportunity to do our job: scrutinizing the nomination of our nation’s top law enforcement official,” Blumenthal said in a statement.  “The reason is simple: Whitaker would never pass the advice and consent test. In selecting a so-called ‘constitutional nobody’ and thwarting every senator’s constitutional duty, Trump leaves us no choice but to seek recourse through the courts.”

Senator Whitehouse said, “The stakes are too high to allow the president to install an unconfirmed lackey to lead the Department of Justice – a lackey whose stated purpose, apparently, is undermining a major investigation into the president.  Unless the courts intercede, this troubling move creates a plain road map for persistent and deliberate evasion by the executive branch of the Senate’s constitutionally mandated advice and consent. Indeed, this appointment appears planned to accomplish that goal.”

The Justice Department has defended Whitaker’s appointment as legal.

“There are over 160 instances in American history in which non-Senate confirmed persons performed, on a temporary basis, the duties of a Senate-confirmed position,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said.  “To suggest otherwise is to ignore centuries of practice and precedent.”

In an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday, Trump said he was unaware of Whitaker’s CNN commentary opposing the Mueller investigation before naming him to head the Justice Department, bypassing Rosenstein.

Trump dismissed concerns about how Whitaker will deal with the Mueller investigation, but said that he, as president, would not intervene.

“It’s going to be up to him,” Trump said.  “I think he’s very well aware politically.  I think he’s astute politically. He’s a very smart person.  A very respected person. He’s going to do what’s right. I really believe he’s going to do what’s right.”

Asked by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace whether he would overrule Whitaker if he decides to curtail the Mueller investigation, Trump replied, “I would not get involved.”

 

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Порошенко нагородив орденом «За мужність» ув’язненого в Росії Сущенка

Президент України Петро Порошенко нагородив ув’язненого в Росії українського журналіста Романа Сущенка орденом «За мужність» ІІІ ступеня. Як повідомляє прес-служба президента, нагороду прийняла дружина журналіста Анжела.

За повідомленням, президент вручив нагороду 20 листопада під час привітання колективу інформаційного агентства «Укрінформ» зі 100-річчям з дня створення.

«У Романа є величезна, дружня професійна родина, яка постійно про нього пам’ятає і підтримує. Величезна кількість українських юристів-міжнародників, правозахисні організації й дипломатичні відомства щодня докладають максимум зусиль, щоб Роман скоріше повернувся додому з полону», – сказав Порошенко.

Президент додав, що під час його міжнародних зустрічей, зокрема з президентом Франції Емманюелем Макроном тема звільнення Романа Сущенка – постійно серед головних.

За словами Порошенка, завдяки українським дипломатам й українській медіа-спільноті у захисті Сущенка об’єднався весь цивілізований світ, зокрема, міжнародні організації, такі як Європарламент, ОБСЄ, ПАРЄ, Міжнародна і Європейська федерації журналістів.

7 листопада засудженого в Росії українського журналіста Романа Сущенка етапували до колонії суворого режиму в Кіровській області. До цього Сущенко перебував у московському СІЗО «Лефортово».

У 2016 році Романа Сущенка, який від 2002 року був кореспондентом агентства «Укрінформ» у Франції, затримали в Москві співробітники ФСБ Росії. Російські спецслужби заявили, що він є кадровим «співробітником української військової розвідки», полковником, що він збирав відомості про російське військо.

Читайте також: З чорнил, цибулі, чаю і кетчупу: відкрилася виставка малюнків Сущенка, написаних ним у Росії

Сущенко засуджений у Росії до 12 років ув’язнення за звинуваченням у шпигунстві.​ Саму журналіст, його захист і представники української влади відкидають звинувачення на його адресу.

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МЗС України вивчає обставини поїздки до Криму сина чеського прем’єра Бабіша

Офіційний Київ вивчає обставини поїздки до анексованого Росією Криму сина прем’єр-міністра Чехії Андрея Бабіша-молодшого, повідомили проекту Радіо Свобода Крим.Реалії в прес-службі Міністерства закордонних справ України.

«Зараз відповідні служби України вивчають питання перебування сина прем’єр-міністра Бабіша в Криму та перевіряють інформацію, опубліковану в ЗМІ», – сказали в МЗС.

В українському зовнішньополітичному відомстві додали, що Чехія підтримує територіальну цілісність України.

«Ми вдячні за офіційну позицію Чеської Республіки, яка полягає в підтримці територіальної цілісності України і невизнанні окупації Росією частини суверенної території нашої держави – Автономної Республіки Крим», – зазначили в МЗС.

У Чехії розгорівся політичний скандал після інтерв’ю сина прем’єра Андрея Бабіша-молодшого виданню Seznam.cz, яке оприлюднили 12 листопада. За словами сина, торік його силою вивезли до анексованого Росією Криму, щоб не дати можливості свідчити правоохоронцям проти батька у можливих махінаціях з коштами Євросоюзу.

Натомість прем’єр Андрей Бабіш стверджує, що його син перебував у Криму «добровільно». Він додав при цьому, що син страждає від шизофренії.

15 листопада Вища палата парламенту Чехії Сенат визнала неприйнятною роботу Бабіша на посаді голови уряду до завершення розслідування можливих махінацій із коштами Європейського союзу.

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Рада не змогла направити до КСУ законопроект про перейменування Дніпропетровщини

Верховній Раді України не вистачило голосів для внесення до порядку денного сесії і направлення на розгляд Конституційного суду законопроекту про перейменування Дніпропетровської області на Січеславську.

Спікер Андрій Парубій ставив відповідну постанову на голосування парламенту 20 листопада чотири рази, але жодного разу вона не набрала необхідних 226 голосів.

При цьому раніше Верховна Рада направила до Конституційного суду законопроект про внесення змін до Конституції щодо перейменування Кіровоградської області на Кропивницьку. Після того, як КСУ надасть свій висновок, народні депутати зможуть ухвалити вказаний документ у першому читанні. Після цього, на наступній черговій сесії, парламент може голосувати за нього для ухвалення в цілому. Згідно з процедурою, прописаною в Конституції, для цього потрібно не менше ніж 300 голосів депутатів.

У червні 2018 року профільний комітет парламенту з питань правової політики та правосуддя надав висновки до законопроектів про внесення змін до статті 133 Конституції України щодо перейменування Дніпропетровської області в Січеславську (№ 8329) та Кіровоградської області (№ 8380) на Кропивницьку. Тепер народні депутати можуть голосувати за направлення законодавчих ініціатив в Конституційний суд.

19 травня 2016 року Верховна Рада перейменувала місто Дніпропетровськ на Дніпро, а 14 липня Кіровоград став Кропивницьким.

Верховна Рада у квітні 2015 року ухвалила урядовий законопроект про засудження комуністичного й нацистського тоталітарних режимів, заборонила їхню пропаганду й символіку. Згідно із законом, символіка і пропаганда нацизму, націонал-соціалізму, цих цінностей, будь-яка діяльність нацистських, фашистських угруповань в Україні забороняються.

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