Live news updates: Judge orders redacted release of Trump Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit

Live news updates: Judge orders redacted release of Trump Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit


What to watch in Asia today

Chinese food delivery group Meituan shed $26bn in value during a single trading day in February © Bloomberg

Meituan The Chinese food delivery giant reports quarterly results as it comes under pressure from Beijing’s crackdown on the tech sector. Meituan shed $26bn in value during a single trading day in February, when regulators said they would push to lower the fees food platforms can charge restaurants for delivery.

Markets Stocks across Asia look set for a strong start amid signs that the US and China are close to resolving an impasse over audits of Chinese companies, with futures up for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, Japan’s Topix and Australia’s S&P/ASX. New York-listed depositary receipts linked to shares in major Chinese tech groups jumped on Thursday, alongside a broader rise in US equities as investors hope for positive signs from the Jackson Hole central bankers’ summit.

Gap withdraws profit forecast amid economic uncertainty and inventory cutbacks

A Gap store on Oxford Street in London
Gap had already cut its financial guidance in May after reporting a sales decline for the first quarter © REUTERS

Apparel maker Gap withdrew its prior profit guidance, blaming the decision on macroeconomic uncertainty and its continuing search for a new chief executive.

Gap reported an 8 per cent year-on-year drop in net sales to $3.86bn in the three months to July 30, which was slightly higher than Wall Street’s forecast. Comparable sales, a popular industry metric, declined 10 per cent from a year earlier.

However, the company reported a wider loss than anticipated at 13 cents a share, when analysts expected a loss of 3 cents a share.

Gap said it was withdrawing its prior fiscal 2022 outlook due to “the uncertain macro-environment” and its own internal uncertainty, as it works to find a permanent replacement for Sonia Syngal, who left the company in July. Gap had already cut its financial guidance in May after reporting a sales decline in the first quarter.

Gap said, though, that it had observed an improvement in sales in July and August as petrol prices declined.

The results follow a recent trend in the retail sector, with a growing list of companies warning of future uncertainty. Macy’s and Nordstrom on Tuesday reported revenues above expectations, but each lowered its full-year outlook.

Judge orders redacted release of Trump Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit

Donald Trump at a rally in Wisconsin this month
The raid is just one of several mounting legal woes facing Trump © Getty Images

A US federal judge ordered Thursday that a redacted version of the affidavit that led to the search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence be unsealed by noon Eastern time on Friday.

The affidavit was used to obtain a search warrant when FBI agents raided Trump’s residence at the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on August 8. The raid was a part of a probe into possible violations of the Espionage Act relating to Trump’s handling of classified information.

The justice department had asked for portions to remain sealed. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart agreed, saying in his order that the government had shown good cause to seal portions of the affidavit because it could reveal “the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents and uncharged parties”, as well as the investigation’s strategy, direction, methods and grand jury information.

Reinhart said the redactions were “the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire affidavit.”

The raid is just one of several mounting legal woes facing Trump, who is contemplating another run for office in 2024.

US and China close to deal resolving impasse over audit inspections

JD.com celebrates its IPO in New York in 2014
Ecommerce site JD.com was among the Chinese companies that started trading higher on Tuesday on hopes of a resolution © AP

The US and China are close to an agreement that would allow US regulators access to audits of Chinese companies listed on US exchanges, a potential breakthrough in talks that have languished for more than a decade.

Bankers in Hong Kong were informed of a possible deal earlier this week, according to people familiar with the matter. American depository receipts linked to shares in Chinese companies — including Baidu, JD.com and Pinduoduo — started trading higher on Tuesday, suggesting a resolution was in the works.

An agreement would help resolve an impasse between US and Chinese financial regulators. The US has demanded that Chinese companies and auditors make their financial audits available for inspection every three years by the Public Company Accounting and Oversight Board, a US auditor watchdog, or face a ban from Wall Street listings.

But China does not allow foreign regulators to inspect Chinese company audits, citing a desire to protect state secrets. Earlier this month, five state-owned Chinese companies said they would voluntarily delist from US exchanges before they were ousted in 2024 as a result of the pending ban.

Additional information about the potential deal and the timing of a possible announcement could not be learned, but the PCAOB has said any agreement would include full US access to Chinese auditors. The PCAOB declined to comment on Thursday.

Read more on the possible deal here.

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