The daily business briefing: December 21, 2018

Stock futures edge down further as a government shutdown looms, Japanese prosecutors dash Ghosn's bail hopes, and more

President Trump on TV beneath the stock listings
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

1. Stocks continue to struggle after two-day plunge as a shutdown looms

Stocks took another plunge on Thursday, deepening their losses in what so far has been the worst December for Wall Street since the Great Depression. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 464 points or about 2 percent as investors resumed selling on concerns over the Federal Reserve's decision on continuing rate hikes, and fear of a looming government shutdown. The Dow is now down more than 1,700 points since last Friday. The broader S&P 500 index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped by 1.6 percent. The S&P 500 is now down by 10.6 percent this month. The markets have been dragged down by fears of rising interest rates, slowing global economic growth, and mounting trade tensions. U.S. futures edged down early Friday, pointing to possible further losses.

The Associated Press MarketWatch

2. Japanese prosecutors dash Ghosn's bail hopes with new charge

Japanese prosecutors re-arrested former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn on a new charge of breach of trust on Friday, eliminating his chance to get out on bail quickly. The new charge involves $16 million in private investment losses that Ghosn transferred to Nissan in 2008 through an unspecified "swap" contract. Ghosn and another former Nissan executive, Greg Kelly, were arrested Nov. 19 for allegedly underreporting Ghosn's 2011-2015 income by $44 million. They also could be charged with underreporting Ghosn's income in other years by a total of nearly $80 million. Prosecutors filed the breach of trust charges a day after a court rejected their request to extend Ghosn's detention. The new allegation doesn't involve Kelly, who has requested bail.

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USA Today The Associated Press

3. U.S. and allies criticize China for alleged economic espionage

The U.S., Britain, Australia, and New Zealand harshly criticized China over allegations of economic espionage against American government agencies and businesses around the world. U.S. prosecutors on Thursday charged Zhu Hua and Zhang Jianguo for hacking attacks against the U.S. Navy, NASA, the Energy Department, and dozens of companies. The operation targeted corporate secrets in what prosecutors said was an attempt to give Chinese companies unfair competitive advantages. "No country poses a broader, more severe long-term threat to our nation's economy and cyber infrastructure than China," FBI Director Chris Wray said at a news conference. China denied the economic espionage charges, calling them "slanderous."

Reuters

4. U.K. hunts for operator of drones that disrupted Gatwick flights

Britain's defense secretary, Gavin Williamson, said Thursday that the military would deploy soldiers to help police catch the operators of drones that forced the temporary shutdown of England's busy Gatwick Airport. More than 120,000 people had their travel disrupted, with thousands of Christmas-season travelers stranded after drones were spotted over the runway. Police said the intrusion appeared to have been done deliberately to disrupt peak operations at the airport, south of London, but that there were "absolutely no indications to suggest this is terror-related." The drones were described as industrial-grade, raising fears of a potentially deadly collision with an airliner.

CBS News

5. Nike shares soar after earnings beat expectations

Nike shares jumped up by 7 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the athletic apparel giant released quarterly earnings that beat analysts' expectations. Nike said its stronger than expected earnings and revenue got a boost from strong global sales and improved digital business. There was no sign that a controversial ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick hurt sales. Nike executives also said they had not seen any negative impact from the U.S.-China trade war, although some analysts recently estimated that as much as a quarter of Nike's goods were sourced from China.

CNBC

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