Oct 8 - Summary of business headlines: Wall Street ends lower; U.S. lawmakers says China's Huawei, ZTE pose telecom security risk; Eurozone finance ministers inaugurate permanent bailout fund. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street drifted lower in holiday-thin trade as investors get ready for the start of earnings season. Tech led the pack lower thanks to a drop in Apple shares. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee are warning U.S. telecom companies against doing business with Chinese telecom equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE. Committee Chairman Mike Rogers explains why after a near year-long investigation: SOUNDBITE: MIKE ROGERS, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Huawei and ZTE seek to expand in the United States, but as a result of our investigation, we do not have the confidence these two companies, with their ties to the Chinese government can be entrusted with infrastructure of such critical importance. Again, our advice to the private sector is this: your obligation is to consider larger data protection and national security implications of your business decisions and we would not advise doing business with these two companies." But Huawei, through VP of External Affairs Bill Plummer says politicians are playing politics. SOUNDBITE: BILL PLUMMER, VICE PRESIDENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS FOR HUAWEI (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Look, there are politics and then there are facts. The facts are that this company is globally trusted and our product is world proven in terms of its security and integrity. That's the truth today, those are the facts today, those will be the facts tomorrow, political distractions aside.. .dangerous political distractions." The House Committee stopped short of an all-out boycott of the two companies. The stock of the day - Green Dot. Shares lost one-fifth of their value after Wal-Mart and American Express unveiled a competing re-loadable debit card. The card called "Bluebird" is aimed at lower income Americans who often don't have bank accounts and can be used anywhere American Express is accepted. Debt of a different kind is in focus as euro zone finance ministers gather in Luxembourg to kick-off the region's permanent bailout fund. But it was rough going for stocks with Germany and France down almost 1-1/2 percent. Conway Gittens, Reuters