Business Briefs – November 27, 2018

Retail Group Says Shopping Season Off to a Strong Start

NEW YORK (AP) — The year-end shopping season has gotten off to a “very strong” start, according to the largest U.S. retail trade group. The National Retail Federation said Tuesday that consumer spending has been strong, fueled by a better economy and stores’ investments in online services including features that allow shoppers to buy online and pick up the items at the store.

Trump Adviser: U.S. ‘Disappointed’ In China’s Trade Stance

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is warning Chinese President Xi Jinping against trying to wait out President Donald Trump in the ongoing trade dispute between their countries. The warning from National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow comes ahead of the two leaders’ high-stakes sit-down on Saturday in Argentina. Kudlow says the Trump administration has been disappointed by China’s engagement in trade talks but the meeting between Trump and Xi at the Group of 20 summit could be a game-changer.

U.S. Farmers Store Record Soybean Crop as China Dispute Closes Market

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — American farmers still working to get out their remaining soybeans after a weather-plagued harvest season are struggling to figure out what to do with a record crop now that their traditionally dominant export market is largely closed. China, a leading soybean consumer, has all but stopped buying American soybeans in response to President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs, and economists are warning some famers could be forced out of business by the export crisis.

Apple’s Stock Sours, Microsoft’s Soars. Say What?!

NEW YORK (AP) Microsoft is threatening to overtake Apple as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company. The market closed Tuesday with Microsoft just behind Apple. That Microsoft is even close would have been surprising not long ago as rival tech giants Amazon and Google were the more likely favorites for catching up to the iPhone maker. It’s a sign of Microsoft’s steady resilience as it transitions into a cloud-computing provider more focused on long-term business contracts than consumer demand.

Top EU Court Hears Brexit Challenge As Critics Slam May Deal

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s highest court has begun considering whether Britain can unilaterally change its mind about leaving the EU, as British Prime Minister Theresa May has struggled to contain criticism of her divorce deal from both U.K. politicians and U.S. President Donald Trump. The Brexit session opened Tuesday by the European Court of Justice will assess the issue under an accelerated procedure, since Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29.