Bulletin wire reports

Stocks nearly hit record highs

A meandering day of trading left U.S. stock indexes close to their record highs on Wednesday, as strong gains for health care companies jousted with sharp drops in energy stocks.

The market took a decisive turn lower in the middle of the day after a report from Reuters said the United States and China may delay signing “phase one” of their trade deal until December, but the drop didn’t last long. The S&P 500 erased its loss within about two hours. It’s within two points of its record.

While acknowledging that trade talks could easily falter again, Jeff Mills, chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust, said both sides have an incentive to come to a deal. Mills is optimistic the economy will show more life after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times this year, if trade tensions continue to ratchet lower.

A bet on anime in streaming wars

As Netflix Inc. prepares for a bruising battle against the Walt Disney Co. and Apple Inc. for streaming subscribers, it’s playing a card that may deliver enough of an edge to fend them off in Asia: Japanese anime.

Although Netflix has featured animation for years, the leading streaming provider of 158 million users is stepping up its anime efforts as new rivals such as Apple, Disney and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max roll out their services. All of them have identified animation as a way to lure viewers — from Disney’s historic archive to a recent victory by HBO Max in clinching the coveted U.S. distribution rights for most of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli films.

Facing such competition, Netflix is extending its strategy of paying for original content to new animated shows. It’s also holding out for a chance to feature Ghibli’s content in Japan and other countries outside the U.S.

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