1. Market milestone: Dow closes above 30,000 for the first time ever
The Dow Jones Industrial Average roared past a major milestone and closed at a new record high after US President Trump gave the green light to the transition of power to President-elect Biden’s administration. The 30-share index vaulted out of the gate at the opening bell and kept on rallying to finish the session up more than 454 points or 1.54 percent at 30,046.24. The broader S&P 500 index – a proxy for the health of US retirement and college savings accounts – finished up 1.62 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index ended the trading day 1.31 percent higher.
2. India bans 43 apps in fresh wave of web sanctions against China
India banned 43 mobile applications on Tuesday including Alibaba Group’s e-commerce app Aliexpress in a new wave of web sanctions targeted at China with whom it has engaged in a months-long standoff at a Himalayan border site. The 43 mostly Chinese-origin apps, which also include a few dating apps, threaten the “sovereignty and integrity of India”, the federal technology ministry said in a statement.India has previously banned more than 170 apps saying they collect and share users’ data, which could pose a threat to the state. The move, which India’s technology minister has referred to as a “digital strike”, was initiated after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a skirmish with Chinese troops at a disputed Himalayan border site in June. The move is another setback for Chinese giant Alibaba, which is the biggest investor in Indian fin-tech firm Paytm and also backs online grocer BigBasket.
3. Airlines mull mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for int’l passengers
International air travel could come booming back next year but with a new rule: Travellers to certain countries must be vaccinated against the coronavirus before they can fly. Encouraging news about vaccine development has given airlines and nations hope they may soon be able to revive suspended flight routes and dust off lucrative tourism plans. But countries in Asia and the Pacific, in particular, are determined not to let their hard-won gains against the virus evaporate. In Australia, the boss of Qantas, the country’s largest airline, said once a virus vaccine becomes widely available, his carrier will likely require passengers to use it before they can travel abroad or land in Australia.
4. US telecoms regulator affirms China’s ZTE is a security threat
The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected a petition from ZTE Corp asking the agency to reconsider its decision designating the Chinese company as a US national security threat to communications networks. The FCC announced in June it had formally designated China’s Huawei and ZTE as threats, a declaration that bars US firms from tapping an $8.3bn government fund to buy equipment from the companies. The federal subsidies help many small rural carriers fund the acquisition and maintenance of equipment made by the companies. The FCC has said ZTE and Huawei pose a risk of espionage, an allegation each company denies. The agency has increasingly scrutinised Chinese companies amid tensions between Beijing and Washington over trade, the coronavirus and security issues.
5. Oil-rich Kuwait faces looming debt crisis
After emerging from a months-long coronavirus lockdown, Kuwait, one of the world’s wealthiest countries, is facing a debt crisis. The pandemic has sent the price of oil crashing to all-time lows and pushed the petrostate towards a reckoning with its longtime largesse, just as a parliamentary election approaches in December. Recently, ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Kuwait for the first time in its history. The finance minister warned that soon the government would not be able to pay salaries. Kuwait’s national bank said the country’s deficit could hit 40 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) this year, the highest level since the financial devastation of the 1990 Iraqi invasion and subsequent Gulf War..
6. COVID anxiety set to shake up how Americans shop on Black Friday
Black Friday is the day after the Thanksgiving holiday and the traditional start of the holiday shopping blitz in the United States. In past years it was something of a national sport, characterised by “doorbuster deals” that saw consumers fresh from turkey feasts line up for hours to get a head start on grabbing the best deals of the year. Black Friday is happening during a pandemic and right now, COVID-19 is breaking records for new infections and hospitalisations in the US. Perhaps it is not too big of a surprise then that anxiety surrounding COVID-19 is changing the way Americans plan to shop this Thanksgiving Day weekend. More consumers are tightening their belts and – for the first time ever – more people are planning to shop online than in person on Black Friday.
7. France risks US ire with vow to impose digital tax this year
France will apply a new digital levy for online technology giants this year, breaking a truce with Washington over the long-running tax fight that could prompt a round of punitive US tariffs on French goods. “The companies subject to this tax have been notified,” a French finance ministry official said, referring in particular to the American firms Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, known as the “GAFA” in France. US President Donald Trump has assailed the tax as unfairly targeting the tech heavyweights, and last year threatened import duties of 25 percent on French products, including cosmetics and handbags by renowned brands. France and other European countries are under intense public pressure to make US multinationals pay a larger share of their revenues in taxes in the countries where they operate.
8. Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala Investment seeks Israeli partners on technology investment
Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala plans to identify potential fund partners in Israel and find high-growth companies to co-invest in, the head of its ventures unit said on Wednesday. “There will be interesting opportunities with joint funds or joint ventures, but we are still early on in evaluating this,” Ibrahim Ajami told a financial technology conference in Abu Dhabi. He said Mubadala has co-invested with Israeli investors in the United States and Europe, but closer ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel opens up a significant opportunity for investments. After the UAE and Israel agreed to normalise relations in August, the two countries have signed a host of accords to boost economic and business ties.
9. Decisive days for Britain trade pact, European Union prepares for a no-deal Brexit
The European Commission cannot guarantee there will be a trade pact with Britain after its departure from the European Union and the coming days will be crucial, the EU’s chief executive said on Wednesday, adding the bloc was prepared for a no-deal. “The next few days are going to be decisive. The European Union is well prepared for a no-deal scenario,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament. “With very little time ahead of us, we will do all in our power to reach an agreement. We are ready to be creative”, she said.
10. Tesla to build ‘world’s largest’ battery plant near Berlin
Tesla boss Elon Musk said Tuesday that he plans to build the world’s largest battery-cell factory at the group’s electric car plant near Berlin. Tesla has already started construction on a huge “gigafactory” in a forested area in Gruenheide, south of the German capital, due to open next year. The factory is Tesla’s first in Europe and is expected to churn out 500,000 Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs per year. Speaking at a European Battery Conference organised by the German economy ministry, Musk said battery cell production at the same German site would start with a capacity of around 100 gigawatt hours a year, before ramping up to 250 GWh per year. At that point, the South African entrepreneur said he was “pretty confident it’d be the largest battery-cell plant in the world”.