The daily business briefing: November 27, 2019

Harold Maass


President Trump said Tuesday that the U.S. and China were getting close to working out a "phase one" deal to end their trade war. Trump's comment came after the top negotiators for the world's two biggest economies agreed over the phone to continue discussing ways to resolve lingering differences. "We're in the final throes of a very important deal, I guess you could say one of the most important deals in trade ever. It's going very well but at the same time we want to see it go well in Hong Kong," Trump said, referring to ongoing pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese-ruled city. Trump said he expected Chinese President Xi Jinping to embrace a positive resolution to the crisis in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy candidates trounced pro-Beijing parties in Sunday's elections. [Reuters]


Disney shares jumped to a record high on Tuesday after new data indicated that Disney+ was adding an average of nearly a million new subscribers per day. Two weeks after a bumpy launch, the $6.99-per-month streaming service's mobile app had been downloaded 15.5 million times, according to research firm Apptopia. Disney+, featuring content from Disney and Disney-owned Marvel and the Star Wars franchise, also collected in-app purchases of $5 million over its first 13 days, according to Apptopia. "This shows the company is gonna be a legit competitor to the likes of Netflix, despite the skeptics that continue to doubt the House of Mouse," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told the New York Post. [Deadline, New York Post]


U.S. stock index futures pushed slightly higher early Wednesday, as global markets got a boost from President Trump's upbeat comments on the prospects of a U.S.-China trade deal. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by about 0.1 percent, while those of the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were up by a little more. The gains pushed the three main U.S. indexes farther into record territory after Tuesday's new highs. Strategists polled by Reuters predicted that U.S. stocks would continue rising through next year but at a slower pace than in 2019, with the S&P 500 closing 2020 up another 4 percent and the Dow about 5 percent higher than Monday's close. [CNBC, Reuters]


In order to avoid a climate catastrophe, global greenhouse gas emissions must drop by 7.6 percent every year for the next decade, a new United Nations report warns. "Our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we must now deliver deep cuts to emissions," U.N. Environment Program Executive Director Inger Anderson said. "This shows that countries simply cannot wait." More and more areas of the world are already experiencing stronger hurricanes and heatwaves, and if global temperatures stay on track to rise by as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, the oceans will become more acidic and rising seas will threaten coastal cities. President Trump has rolled back many climate regulations, and after a few years of decline, U.S. CO2 emissions rose 2.7 percent in 2018. [The Guardian]


Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's new Hong Kong-listed shares jumped by another 3 percent on Wednesday, adding to a 7 percent rise after their Tuesday debut. "Investors are jumping all over it in Hong Kong," James Gerrish, portfolio manager at Shaw and Partners, told CNBC. Alibaba's secondary listing in Hong Kong beat out Uber's $8 billion listing to become the world's largest offering in 2019, although Saudi Aramco is expected to eclipse it with its December listing in Riyadh. Alibaba's offering helped boost business sentiment somewhat in Hong Kong, which has been shaken by ongoing pro-democracy protests. [CNBC]

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