Dow Today – Business Highlights: Chinese chips, surging home prices
China pursues tech ‘self-reliance,’ fueling global unease
BEIJING (AP) — China’s ruling Communist Party is pressing entrepreneurs to make the country a “technology superpower” that doesn’t need the United States or other foreign suppliers. The aim is to develop Chinese creators of computer, energy, medical and other technologies that can generate wealth and global influence. That is prompting fear the world might decouple, or split into markets with incompatible standards and products, which would hurt innovation. Chinese companies including Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, are launching ventures to develop processor chips. Analysts say they are unlikely to be competitive in global markets if they detach from the global supply chain for components and technology, a goal no other country is pursuing.
US home prices surge 18.4% in October
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices surged again in October as the housing market continues to boom in the wake of last year’s coronavirus recession. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, out Tuesday, climbed 18.4% in October from a year earlier. The gain marked a slight decleration from a 19.1% year-over-year increase in September but was about in line with what economists had been expecting. All 20 cities posted double-digit annual gains. The hottest markets were Phoenix (up 32.3%), Tampa (28.1%) and Miami (25.7%). Minneapolis and Chicago posted the smallest increases, 11.5% each.
Spain’s govt clears crucial labor reform and budget for 2022
MADRID (AP) — Spain’s left-wing ruling coalition is securing its hold on power with the approval of a landmark labor reform and a new national spending plan for next year that includes a hefty disbursement of pandemic recovery funds. An array of left-leaning and regionalist lawmakers have given the final go-ahead Tuesday to Spain’s budget for 2022. It allocates more than half of the funds to pensions, subsidies and other forms of social spending. The budget includes the first 20 of 70 billion euros granted to the country from the European Union’s COVID-19 recovery funds. Spain’s Cabinet has also passed an overhaul to the country’s labor rules. It includes limits on temporary contracts that are backed by workers’ unions and employee associations.
Advertisements draw flak in China over Asian stereotypes
BEIJING (AP) — Advertisements featuring some Chinese models have sparked feuding in China over whether their appearance and makeup are perpetuating Asian stereotypes. German automaker Mercedes-Benz and a Chinese snack company are the latest to get caught up in the fray. Some Chinese consumers complained after the local snack brand Three Squirrels featured advertisements on its Weibo microblogging account showing a Chinese model with eyes they said looked “slanted.” A Mercedes ad drew similar criticism. Critics have accused the companies and others of spreading Western stereotypes of some Asians. The communist party newspaper Global Times said a response by the model in the Three Squirrels ad defending herself drew more than 330 million views.
Setback for Belgian govt as coronavirus measures overturned
BRUSSELS (AP) — An advisory body in Belgium has suspended a government-ordered closure of part of the cultural sector. The Council of State said Tuesday that new coronavirus restrictions imposed on theaters are unreasonable. Movie houses, concert halls and art centers were ordered to shut their doors under restrictions that entered force over the weekend. Some stayed open in protest. Health experts say that going to such places poses no extra risk to public health. But the Council of State ruled Tuesday that the measures were “not proportionate.” It says the government failed to provide enough motives to “understand why going to cultural sector performance venues was particularly dangerous for public health.” Thousands rallied on Sunday in protest against the move.
Esports giant Riot settles discrimination case for $100M
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Riot Games, the publisher behind esports giant “League of Legends,” agreed to pay $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging pay disparity, gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The lawsuit was filed in November 2018 after gaming website Kotaku published a story detailing a sexist culture at Los Angeles-based Riot Games that included women being passed over for promotions, unwanted sexual advances and men questioning women about the legitimacy of their video game fandom. Other former employees later came forward with similar claims. The California Department of Fair Employment said the suit will remedy violations against more than 1,000 female employees and 1,300 female contract workers.
The S&P 500 fell 4.84 points, or 0.1%, to 4,786.35. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 95.83 points, or 0.3%, to 36,398.21. The Nasdaq fell 89.54 points, or 0.6%, to 15,781.72. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 14.95 points, or 0.7%, to 2,246.51.