K-pop controversy: Questions over BTS mandatory military service

Trump Administration Signals U.S. Firms Can Use WeChat in China

The Trump administration is signaling that U.S. companies can continue to use the WeChat messaging app in China, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The administration is still working through the technical implications of how to enforce such a ban on the app, which is owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd., and whether it would allow Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to carry the app in its global app stores outside of the U.S., according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The White House and Tencent didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

European Economics Preview: Eurozone Flash PMI Data Due

Flash Purchasing Managers’ survey data from euro area and retail sales from the UK are due on Friday, headlining a busy day for the European economic news.

At 2.00 am ET, the Office for National Statistics releases UK retail sales and public sector finance data. Retail sales are forecast to grow at a moderate pace of 2 percent on a monthly basis, following a 13.9 percent rise in June.

The UK budget deficit is forecast to narrow to GBP 29.3 billion in July from GBP 34.8 billion in June.

At 3.15 am ET, IHS Markit releases France’s flash Purchasing Managers’ survey data. The composite output index is forecast to fall marginally to 57.2 in August from 57.3 in July.

At 3.30 am ET, Germany’s flash PMI data is due. Economists expect the composite index to drop to 55.0 in August from 55.3 a month ago.

At 4.00 am ET, flash PMI data is due from euro area. The composite index is expected to remain unchanged at 54.9 in August.

Half an hour later, IHS Markit is scheduled to publish UK composite PMI survey results.

At 6.00 am ET, the Confederation of British Industry publishes UK Industrial Trends survey data for August. The order book balance is forecast to rise to -35 percent from -46 percent in July.

Stock Alert: Deere & Co. Shares Hit New 52-Week High

Shares of Deere & Co. (DE) reached a new 52-week high of $201.31 Friday morning, after the company reported upbeat Q3 results. DE is currently trading at $201.04, up $9.94 or 5.20% in the regular session.

The company’s Q3 net income was $811 million or $2.57 per share compared to $899 million, or $2.81 per share last year.

Revenue for the quarter fell 12.4% to $7.86 billion from $8.97 billion last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.26 per share on revenue of $ 6.7 billion for the quarter. Analysts’ estimate typically exclude certain special items.

“With outstanding support from our dedicated global workforce and dealer organization, John Deere delivered a strong performance in the third quarter in the face of a serious global pandemic and uncertain market conditions,” said John May, chairman and chief executive officer.

For the full year, the company expects net income to be about $2.25 billion.

Business Activity Rises for the First Time Since February

This year may have brought a bitter recession, but there are still plenty of positive developments. After the S&P 500 recently hit a new all-time high, overall business activity from services and manufacturing operations in the United States is showing some pre-coronavirus strength.

IHS Markit reported that its flash U.S. Composite PMI Index rose to 54.7 in August from 50.3 in July. This marked the strongest reading in 18 months.

Index readings above 50 generally indicate growth from the private sector, while readings under 50 indicate economic contraction.

The new orders index rose to 54.0 in August from July’s final reading of 49.7.

One interesting aspect that coincides with a weak dollar is that the flash reading showed foreign sales rose at the fastest pace in almost six years.

Friday’s report was welcome as it is somewhat “live data” at a time when coronavirus cases in the United States are still rising and have crossed the 5.5 million case threshold, right into the back-to-school period and with certain high population centers still facing limited openings.

Strong client demand was cited in the IHS Markit report. The group said: “Total new business rose for the first time since February and at a solid rate. Manufacturing firms registered a steeper expansion in new order inflows than in July, while service providers signaled a renewed increase in sales.”

Most economic data remains choppy, and the end result of a full recovery remains somewhat elusive.

Stock Alert: Buckle Climbs 25% After Q2 Results Beat Estimates

Shares of Buckle Inc. (BKE) are rising more than 25 percent or $4.12 in Friday’s morning trade at $20.49 after the apparel and footwear retailer reported better-than-expected earnings results for the second quarter.

Friday, Buckle said its second quarter net income rose to $34.7 million or $0.71 per share from $16.4 million or $0.34 per share in the prior-year quarter. Net sales increased 6.0 percent to $216.0 million from $203.8 million last year. Online sales grew 99 percent to $46.0 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had a consensus earnings estimate of $0.05 per share on revenues of $170.83 million. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

Buckle has traded in a range of $11.76 to $28.52 in the past 52 weeks.

K-pop controversy: Questions over BTS mandatory military service

It is regarded as a duty that all men over 18 should be proud to fulfil, and that no one should skip.

There is growing controversy surrounding South Korea’s most famous boy band.

The K-pop stars from BTS are facing questions over when they plan to do military service, as required under the law.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reports.