French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned that the trade dispute between the United States and China could escalate into a fresh Cold War and more in Saturday’s Markets In Brief.

Le Maire made the alarm-sounding comments at a Friday conference in Paris on the World Trade Organization’s future.

He said there’s a “real risk” that a Cold War between China and the United States could arise out of the trade tensions between the two and that every country in the world would lose out.

To counter the threat, he said the WTO needs reforming by solving its “consensus paralysis” on decision-making and by enforcing international trade rules.

President Donald Trump has imposed import taxes on Chinese goods, and the Chinese have responded with tariffs of their own.


US Industrial Production Ticks Up 0.1% in October

U.S. industry expanded slightly in October, with manufacturing growth offsetting declines in mining and utility production.

Industrial production ticked up a modest 0.1 percent, the fifth straight monthly gain, following a 0.2 percent advance in September and a sizable 0.8 percent advance in August, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

The Fed said that recent hurricanes lowered production by about 0.1 percentage point in both September and October.

The economy has been growing at a solid rate this year. The gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the July-September quarter, with manufacturing contributing to the momentum.

But there are concerns that the strong dollar and a slowdown in global growth could hurt future U.S. export sales. There are also worries about labor shortages and the impact of President Donald Trump’s get-tough trade policies, which have featured higher tariffs on aluminum and steel along with penalty tariffs on a range of Chinese goods. China. Other countries have already retaliated with penalty tariffs on American products.

Factory output was up 0.3 percent in October, matching the previous month despite a big drop in auto production, which fell 2.8 percent last month. It was the second decline for the auto sector in the past four months.

The Fed report showed that production of primary metals jumped a strong 3 percent in October. That was the highest monthly gain since November 2012. Trump’s tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum were aimed at boosting prospects for U.S. producers.

Output at the nation’s utilities dropped 0.5 percent in October after a smaller 0.1 percent decline in September. Output in the mining sector, which includes oil and gas production, was down 0.3 percent in October following a smaller 0.1 percent September dip. Both of those declines came after this sector reached an all-time high in August, reflecting strong gains in oil and gas production.

Airbnb Says Revenue for 3Q Was Best Ever, topping $1B

Airbnb says it had its best quarter ever, even as cities across the U.S. have started clamping down on the short-term rental market.

The private San Francisco-based company said Friday its revenue for the third quarter easily topped $1 billion as guest reservations boomed internationally in places like Beijing, Mexico City and Birmingham, England.

Airbnb acts as an online booking agent for homeowners to make extra income by renting rooms, apartments and houses. Its growth has drawn the ire of the hotel industry and communities in the U.S. and abroad, where locals are uneasy with the constant turnaround of guests in their neighborhoods and apartment buildings.

Many cities and states across the U.S. have recently tightened rental guidelines in order to regulate the rapidly growing industry.

Iraq Resumes Kirkuk Oil Exports After Yearlong Pause

Iraq’s Oil Ministry says Iraq has resumed exports from its oil fields around Kirkuk, one year after the city was seized by federal forces from the autonomous Kurdish administration in the north of the country.

Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad says an agreement was reached with the Kurdish Regional Government to export 50,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil per day, beginning Friday, through a pipeline that runs through Kurdish territory to Turkey.

Exports were halted in October 2017 after federal forces took control of the disputed city, costing the KRG millions of dollars in income as the two sides haggled over revenues and pipeline fees. The Turkey pipeline is the only one available to Kirkuk for exports.

Jihad said the federal government would collect the revenue from the renewed sales.

Viacom: Fiscal 4Q Earnings Snapshot

Viacom Inc. (VIA) on Friday reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $394 million.

On a per-share basis, the New York-based company said it had profit of 98 cents. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 99 cents per share.

The owner of Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures posted revenue of $3.49 billion in the period.

For the year, the company reported profit of $1.72 billion, or $4.27 per share. Revenue was reported as $12.94 billion.

Viacom shares have increased almost 4 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased 18 percent in the last 12 months.

Nordstrom: Fiscal 3Q Earnings Snapshot

Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) on Thursday reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $67 million.

The Seattle-based company said it had net income of 39 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to 67 cents per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 64 cents per share.

The department store operator posted revenue of $3.75 billion in the period, which also beat Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $3.68 billion.

Nordstrom expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.55 to $3.65 per share, with revenue in the range of $15.5 billion to $15.6 billion.

Nordstrom shares have risen 25 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen 2 percent. In the final minutes of trading on Thursday, shares hit $58.99, an increase of 51 percent in the last 12 months.

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