November 8, 2017 / 12:54 PM / 11 days ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

Democrats score a victory in Virginia, Trump arrives in China to seek help reigning in North Korea and FBI agents raid the headquarters of a major U.S. body broker.

A U.S. flag flutters in front of a portrait of the late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at Tiananmen gate during the visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

U.S.

Democrat Ralph Northam won a bitter race for Virginia governor, dealing a setback to President Donald Trump with a decisive victory over a Republican who had adopted some of the president’s combative tactics and issues. 

Reuters TV: Northam gives Democrats hope.

Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio scored a decisive victory in his bid to secure a second four-year term in charge of the United States’ biggest city. 

A Democratic Senator said he wants answers from top Justice Department officials about why a career prosecutor was asked to resign days before a special counsel unveiled the first criminal charges in an investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election.  

Federal agents have seized records from a national company that solicits thousands of Americans to donate their bodies to science each year, then profits by dissecting the parts and distributing them for use by researchers and educators. Read the exclusive and Reuters’ series on the body broker industry.  

China

With lavish pageantry and an uncharacteristic personal flourish, Chinese President Xi Jinping rolled out a red carpet welcome for Trump at the Forbidden City, the ancient home of China’s emperors.  

Trump arrived in China seeking help to rein in North Korea after warning the North’s leader that the nuclear weapons he is developing “are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger.”  

World

Neighbours say when three men kicked down the doors and burgled the home of a North Korean diplomat in Islamabad last month, it took them more than three hours to lug out their booty: thousands of bottles of Scotch whisky, beer and French wine. Read the Insight.  

The latest Backstory details how journalists operated in Raqqa – formerly the Islamic State’s de-facto capital – where death was never far away from those who documented the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces side of the battle last month.  

Saudi Arabian authorities have made further arrests in an anti-corruption crackdown on the kingdom’s political and business elite, sources familiar with the matter said.  

Twenty-four hours after Spain removed him from power, Catalonia’s leader had resolved to leave the country and take his independence campaign to the heart of the European Union, but first he needed to tie off an important loose end. 

Russia said it planned to ask the United States to extradite Grigory Rodchenkov, the ex-head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory who alleged a state-sponsored doping cover-up at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.  

Igor Armicach, a doctoral student at Hebrew University's Arachnid Collection, looks onto giant spider webs, spun by long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha), covering sections of the vegetation along the Soreq creek bank, near Jerusalem November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Igor Armicach, a doctoral student at Hebrew University's Arachnid Collection, looks onto giant spider webs, spun by long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha), covering sections of the vegetation along the Soreq creek bank, near Jerusalem November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Business

Banking stocks dropped and the dollar slipped as doubts over tax cuts and bond market moves hurt profitability and raised questions over the longevity of the current expansion in the United States.  

China’s Tencent now holds a 12 percent stake in Snapchat operator Snap, turning over a 20 percent slide in the U.S. company’s share price after badly received third quarter results. 

U.S. investors who want to divest from firearms and ammunition makers may find it not so straightforward: They are hidden among the stocks and bonds of hospitals, toymakers and greeting card companies.  

One year ago, when it became clear that Trump had pulled a historic upset to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton to the U.S. presidency, futures in the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled nearly 900 points. However, at the close of trading of that session, Dow futures had reversed the drop to close up nearly 250 points, above 18,500. That is the lowest they have been since then. Despite not having a single major legislative victory and with prospects for a government shutdown in December looming, stocks have not looked back in the Trump era.  

Two decades ago, BP set out to transcend oil, adopting a sunburst logo to convey its plans to pour $8 billion over a decade into renewable technologies, even promising to power its gas stations with the sun. Today, BP might be more aptly branded “Back to Petroleum” after exiting or scaling back its renewable energy investments. 

If Walt Disney buys some Twenty-First Century Fox businesses, it could provide a quick path for the traditional media giant to create a substantial competitor to Netflix in the battle for TV and movie viewers

Auto

If Broadcom’s unsolicited $103 billion bid for Qualcomm succeeds, it could set up a battle with Intel for dominance in the production of the next generation of communications chips, which will play a vital role in so-called connected cars.  

Reuters TV: Uber and NASA team up for a giant leap to flying taxis.  

Japan’s Nissan reported its smallest quarterly profit in three years and cut its annual outlook, hurt by rising expenses in a competitive North American market and costs stemming from improper final inspection procedures at home.  

Ford Motor and China’s Anhui Zotye Automobile have agreed to invest a combined $756 million to set up a 50-50 joint venture in China to build electric passenger vehicles, both companies said.

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