The daily business briefing: December 2, 2019

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Harold Maass
Cyber Monday sales
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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1.

Cyber Monday sales expected to exceed Black Friday's online record

U.S. retailers are offering big discounts on Cyber Monday, hoping to outpace record Black Friday online sales of $7.4 billion. The Black Friday record marked the second biggest online shopping day ever seen in the U.S., second only to last year's Cyber Monday mark of $7.9 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data. Online sales have increased by 20 percent over the same period in last year's kick-off of the holiday shopping season. Shoppers also spent $4.2 billion online on Thanksgiving, another record. Adobe projected this year's Cyber Monday to set another record, with sales climbing 18.9 percent over last year to reach $9.4 billion. [CNBC]

2.

Frozen 2 dominates Thanksgiving weekend box office

Disney's Frozen 2 dominated the domestic box office for the second straight week, with $85.2 million in ticket sales over the weekend. The animated blockbuster also brought in a record $123.7 million over the full five-day Thanksgiving holiday period, smashing a mark of $109 million set by 2013's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Frozen 2 now has a North America total of $278 million. Its $130 million debut set a record for Disney Animation. The fantasy film raked in another $164 million overseas to bring its international total to $451 million. Its global total now stands at $739 million, positioning it to soon become the sixth Disney movie in 2019 to make more than $1 billion. The whodunit Knives Out took the No. 2 spot in North America with weekend ticket sales of $27 million. [Variety]

3.

Chinese factory activity shows unexpected improvement

A private-sector survey released Monday showed that China's factory activity improved unexpectedly in November. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 51.8 in November, up from 51.7 in October. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to drop to 51.4 in November. The figure marked the fastest expansion of Chinese manufacturing activity since December 2016, when the index came in at 51.9, with 50 being the mark separating expansion from contraction. The report backed up strong government data released over the weekend, and boosted Asian stocks. China's blue chips gained nearly 0.7 percent before giving back some of their gains. [Reuters]

4.

Stock futures rise, pointing to gains in a new month

U.S. stock index futures rose early Monday as investors remained focused on efforts to ease trade differences between the U.S. and China. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were up by nearly 0.4 percent several hours before the opening bell on the first day of trading in December. Chinese state media reported Sunday that Beijing wanted the two sides to cancel new tariffs under a "phase one" deal to end their trade war. The prospects for a deal took a hit last week after President Trump signed legislation supporting pro-democracy protesters in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, prompting Beijing to accuse Washington of meddling in China's internal affairs. [CNBC]

5.

China sanctions U.S. NGOs, bars U.S. military stops in Hong Kong

China on Monday announced sanctions against several U.S.-based non-governmental organizations it said had encouraged Hong Kong protesters to "engage in extremist, violent, and criminal acts." The targeted NGOs include the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House. Beijing also said it would stop letting U.S. military ships and aircraft visit Hong Kong. China's Foreign Ministry said the measures were a response to U.S. legislation President Trump signed last week supporting anti-government protesters in the Chinese-ruled, semi-autonomous financial hub. "We urge the U.S. to correct the mistakes and stop interfering in our internal affairs," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing. [Reuters]