Update on the latest in business:
Posted 3:26 a.m. Monday
Asian stocks mixed ahead of OPEC meeting
Asian stock markets were mixed today after oil prices slid on unease about this week's meeting of OPEC member to discuss possible output cuts.
Stocks hit fresh records in a shortened trading session Friday as investors bet on a pickup in economic growth and rising corporate profits. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 68.96 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,152.14. The S&P 500 climbed 8.63 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,213.35. The Nasdaq composite added 18.24 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,398.92. The Russell 2000 index, which has surged 16 percent since Nov. 3, increased for the 15th day in a row, its longest winning streak since early 1996.
Major oil producers meet Wednesday to discuss production cuts to shore up prices, but Iran and Iraq have failed to agree to a reduction, raising jitters about the Vienna meeting's outcome. OPEC's top producer, Saudi Arabia, has suggested it might be open to no output cut, departing from previous statements in a move analysts suggested made an agreement this week less likely.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell just below $46 per barrel.
The dollar fell against the yen and the euro.
Business events and economic reports scheduled for early this week
WASHINGTON — There are no major economic reports scheduled for release today. Tomorrow, however, the Commerce Department will report the third-quarter gross domestic product and Standard & Poor's will release the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for September and the third quarter. Also on Tuesday, the Conference Board will release the Consumer Confidence Index for November.
HOLIDAY SHOPPING-WEEKEND SALES
Thanksgiving weekend shoppers spent less due to discounts
Thanksgiving weekend shoppers picked up hot toys, TVs and new Apple products, buying both online and in stores, but spent less per person because of rampant discounting that they've come to demand.
Once all the receipts are in, customers look to have spent an average of $289.19 each over the four-day weekend, down nearly 3.5 percent from a year ago, based on a survey by the National Retail Federation. The pressure on prices was especially strong on products like TVs.
More than 154 million customers said they had shopped or planned to this Thanksgiving weekend, up from 151 million a year ago, according to the survey.
And more were doing it online, as about 99.1 million went to the stores and 108.5 million shopped online.
HOLIDAY SHOPPING-ONLINE SALES
Dialing up deals: Black Friday online sales hit new high
Holiday shoppers eager to snag big discounts turned to the internet in record fashion this week.
Adobe, which tracks online retail transactions, says consumers spent $3.34 billion shopping online on Friday, a 21.6 percent increase from the same day last year.
The firm said more than ever before, shoppers used their mobile devices to dial up deals online, and mobile purchases surged 33 percent on Black Friday to $1.2 billion.
Even so, many shoppers across the U.S. still ventured to malls looking for deals. The Mall of America in Minnesota, which opened 24 years ago, reported that Friday was the highest traffic day it can recall.
HOLIDAY SHOPPING-CYBER MONDAY
With deals offered early, will shoppers buy on Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday may be in danger of losing its online sales title.
The Monday after Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest online shopping day of the year, but stores are releasing internet deals earlier, stretching them through the week, as well as making them available in stores. Shoppers looking for discounts spurred online sales on Black Friday to a new high.
Online sales have also been stretching out more and more. Cartwheel, Target's digital app, started offering holiday deals including 50 percent off one toy per day on Nov. 1. Amazon started offering 35 days of Black Friday deals on Nov. 16. And Walmart kicked off its Cyber Monday deals at 12:01 a.m. EST Friday for the first time as it aimed to grab customers ahead of its competitors.
Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving, has typically been the busiest day of the year for online shopping. The phrase was coined in 2005 to encourage online buying when people returned to offices where they had high-speed internet connections.
The term is still used to promote heavy discounts online, even though most people now have constant access to the web via their phones and computers. ComScore expects mobile sales to make up 20 percent of online sales for the first time this year, and Adobe said mobile purchases surged 33 percent on Black Friday to $1.2 billion.
China will build $2 billion film studio, industry park
China's government has announced plans to build a $2 billion film studio, in the latest example of a national push to expand its cultural influence.
State media reported that the studio in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing will include a theme park and tourist facilities. Construction will begin early next year and is expected to cost 15 billion yuan ($2.18 billion).
Officials say they have operating agreements already with several foreign partners. The park will be named after President xi Jinping's signature "One Belt, One Road" program.
China is already the world's second-largest film market and home to the world's largest theater operator. But Chinese officials and companies have made it a priority to fend off Western imports by producing more competitive films in China.
Wells Fargo seeks arbitration order in customer lawsuit
Wells Fargo & Co. wants a federal court judge in Utah to order that customers suing the banking giant over improper sales practices submit their claims to binding arbitration.
The San Francisco-based company's request applies to a class-action lawsuit filed initially by three Utah residents who at one time had accounts with the bank.
They sued Wells Fargo in September, one week after the bank made headlines for agreeing to pay $185 million to settle allegations that its workers opened millions of accounts without customers' permission to reach aggressive sales targets.
In a filing Wednesday to U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups, Wells Fargo asserted that the plaintiffs agreed to submit any disputes to arbitration when they signed up for Wells Fargo checking accounts, credit cards or other services.
Lufthansa pilots set to strike again on Tuesday, Wednesday
The pilots' union at German airline Lufthansa says it is calling additional strikes for Tuesday and Wednesday, following a two-day break in its campaign of walkouts.
The Cockpit union said Sunday that its members scheduled to fly short-haul flights would strike on Tuesday. The union plans to add long-haul routes to the walkout on Wednesday.
Cockpit staged four days of strikes last week in a pay dispute that's festered for over two years. The union says a hastily convened meeting with Lufthansa on Sunday failed to produce a resolution.
Cockpit is seeking retroactive raises of 3.66 percent a year going back 5½ years.
Lufthansa offered Friday to increase pilot pay by 4.4 percent by mid-2018, and make a one-time payment equal to 1.8 monthly salaries in lieu of past raises.
WIND FARM BLOWBACK
Upstate NY towns embroiled in fight over tall wind turbines
Clean energy and environmental interests usually go hand in hand.
But in western New York, they are battling over a plan to build dozens of wind turbines that could be among the nation's tallest, rising 600 feet above the scenic shores of Lake Ontario.
Apex Clean Energy's proposal to put 70 turbines east of Niagara Falls is still in its early stages but it has already generated thousands of pages of comments, studies and arguments being considered by state regulators.
Wildlife groups are concerned the turbines could disrupt migrating birds. Residents fret about potential environmental health threats from noise, and that views could be dominated by structures taller than any skyscraper in upstate New York.
There is no timetable yet for when a state panel will decide on the project.
LL BEAN BOOT
Nostalgic customers still seeking out LL Bean's ol' boots
L.L. Bean is kicking it up a notch as demand continues to surge for its iconic boot.
The Maine-based outdoors retailer has leased a larger, 110,000-square-foot building in Lewiston, where it plans to install a third injection-molding machine to manufacture rubber soles. The company also plans to hire 100 more workers in the new year to make the boots.
Annual sales of the rubber-bottomed, leather-topped "duck boot" have grown from fewer than 100,000 a decade ago to more than 600,000. The company expects to hit 1 million in 2018.
The boot is a bright spot for U.S. footwear manufacturing. Most production has moved offshores, but the L.L. Bean boot is still made at factories in Lewiston and Brunswick, Maine.
'Moana' cruises with $81.1M Thanksgiving weekend
Disney's South Pacific animated tale "Moana" fell short of a "Frozen"-sized debut but nevertheless dominated the Thanksgiving box office with an estimated $81.1 million over the five-day weekend.
The well-reviewed "Moana," about a princess's mythical journey in ancient Polynesia, earned $55.5 million from Friday to Sunday in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday. Though it didn't match the 2013 Thanksgiving release of "Frozen" ($93.6 million over five days in 2013), "Moana" ("MWAH-nah") scored the second-highest Turkey Day debut ever.
Falling to second was J.K. Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," which earned $65.8 million over the five-day weekend and $45.1 million over the three-day weekend. The Harry Potter spinoff, from Warner Bros., has brought in $156.2 million in two weeks. Overseas, "Fantastic Beasts," debuted in China, where its $41.1 million fueled a weekend haul of $132 million internationally.
"Doctor Strange" was No. 3 with $13.4 million.
Lawsuit challenges fund distribution of McClendon estate
A lawsuit by a partner of Oklahoma City energy magnate Aubrey McClendon challenges the distribution of funds from McClendon's estate.
McClendon, the chairman and CEO of now-closed American Energy Partners LP, died in a March 2 vehicle crash in Oklahoma City.
The lawsuit by AEP Chief Financial Officer Scott Mueller says portions of the $136.5 million sale of SCOOP Energy Company and SCOOP Holdings should go to him, Chief Investment Officer Ryan Turner, company lawyer Tom Blalock and other company employees.
The lawsuit filed Nov. 10 and first reported by The Journal Record says McClendon held 95 percent interest in SCOOP. It says Turner was to receive 12 percent of that amount, Mueller and Blalock 6 percent, and 5 percent was to be placed in a pool for employee bonuses.