Business Briefs – January 17, 2019

 

China Says Economy Czar To Visit Washington For Trade Talks

BEIJING (AP) — The top U.S. and Chinese trade envoys will hold talks in Washington this month in a possible sign of progress toward ending a costly tariff battle over Beijing’s technology ambitions. China says its economy czar, Vice Premier Liu He, will travel to Washington for the talks Jan. 30-31. It said he was invited by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The two sides have imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 percent on tens of billions of dollars of each other’s goods.

Brexit Talks by U.K.’s PM May Is Called a ‘Stunt’ by Opposition

LONDON (AP) – A weakened but defiant Prime Minister Theresa May has met lawmakers from Britain’s rival Brexit factions to try to forge a replacement for her rejected European Union exit plan. But the country’s main opposition leader branded the talks a “stunt,” and May gave little sign she would make major changes to the divorce deal tossed out by Parliament this week.

Microsoft Pledges $500M to Tackle Seattle Housing Crisis

SEATTLE (AP) – Microsoft says it will devote $500 million to address a problem its own success helped create: the severe need for affordable housing in the Seattle area. As the tech industry Microsoft brought to the region has boomed with the expansion of Amazon and other companies, the cost of housing has soared. The money will provide market-rate or below-market-rate loans to developers who want to build affordable housing.

Morgan Stanley 4Q Profit, Revenue Hit by Volatile Markets

NEW YORK (AP) – Morgan Stanley says fourth-quarter profit totaled $1.53 billion, more than double from the year-ago quarter. Earnings, adjusted for pretax gains and to account for discontinued operations, came to 73 cents per share. The results missed Wall Street expectations.

Like several other major financial companies, Morgan Stanley was hurt by difficulties in trading during the volatile fourth quarter. While its traders are considered some of the best in the business, their stock trading revenue was flat over the last three months of the year, a period where the S&P 500 dropped 14 percent, and its bond trading revenue tumbled 30 percent. Morgan Stanley fell 4.4 percent to $42.53.