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May manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index

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China reported on Thursday that factory activity grew more than expected in May, with the official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) coming in at 51.9 — the highest level since October 2017.

The Chinese manufacturing PMI was forecast to dip to 51.3 in May from 51.4 in April, according to a poll of economists by Reuters.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that signals contraction.

Strong supply-demand factors and gains in global commodity prices contributed to the improvement in May’s manufacturing PMI reading, said Zhao Qinghe, a statistician at China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Meanwhile, China reported services PMI at 54.9 in May from 54.8 in April as the manufacturing giant transitions to a services and consumption-driven economy.

“It’s been impressive that China has been able to maintain its momentum in spite of the fact that it’s clear that President Xi [Jinping] is delivering on his promise of maybe sacrificing a little bit of economic strength for stability,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust, referring to financial reforms in China.

Economic data from China is being closely watched amid trade tensions between Beijing and Washington as President Donald Trump zooms in on America’s trade deficit with the world’s second-largest economy.

Earlier this week, the White House announced it would have a final list of $50 billion in imports that would be subject to 25 percent tariffs by June 15, and two weeks later would announce investment restrictions on Chinese acquisitions of U.S. technology.

China’s official PMI gauge focuses on large companies and state-owned enterprises, while another set of readings by Caixin and IHS Markit focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises — that data set is scheduled to be released on Friday.

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Black Friday 2020 online shopping surges 22% to record $9 billion, Adobe says

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Customers queue outside Bath & Body Works during black Friday. Shoppers go to stores to take advantage of Black Friday sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Spending online on Black Friday this year surged nearly 22% to hit a new record, according to data from Adobe Analytics, as the Covid pandemic pushed more people to shop from the sofa and avoid crowded stores and malls.

Consumers spent $9 billion on the web the day after Thanksgiving, up 21.6% year over year, according to Adobe, which analyzes website transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.

This makes Black Friday 2020 the second-largest online spending day in history in the United States, behind Cyber Monday last year, Adobe said. Cyber Monday this year is slated to become the largest digital sales day ever, with spending reaching between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion, which would represent growth of 15% to 35% from a year earlier.

“New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store,” said Taylor Schreiner, a director at Adobe Digital Insights.

As many retailers kicked off their holiday sales in October this year, tied to the delayed timing of Amazon‘s Prime Day event, and put more doorbuster deals online, shoppers had less of a reason to head to stores on Black Friday. People who did venture out were greeted with fewer lines and emptier parking lots than holiday sales events of the past.

On Black Friday, Adobe found consumers spent $6.3 million per minute online, or $27.50 per person, on average. Spending on smartphones surged 25.3% year over year to reach $3.6 billion, representing 40% of total e-commerce spending.

And with retailers from Target to Best Buy to Dick’s Sporting Goods encouraging customers to buy online and then safely pick up their orders at stores, the use of curbside pickup on Black Friday increased 52% from a year earlier, Adobe found.

Hot items on Black Friday included Hot Wheels, Lego sets, Apple AirPods, Apple Watches, Amazon Echo devices and Samsung TVs, according to Adobe data, as consumers scoured the web for things to entertain themselves and their kids.

People also are turning to the internet for fresh food and snacks this holiday season. Online grocery shopping on Black Friday surged 397% compared with October daily averages, Adobe said. Sales of personal care products skyrocketed 556%, and online spending on pet products rose 254%.

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Jason Momoa was ‘completely’ in debt after ‘Game of Thrones’

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Jason Momoa is best known in Hollywood for his roles in high-profile projects like “Game of Thrones,” “Aquaman” and the upcoming “Dune” adaptation.

Momoa started his career in 1999 when he landed a role on “Baywatch” after the show held an open casting call in Hawaii. He and his cousins attended just to “meet chicks,” he said in a recent interview with InStyle, but he walked away with a new career path in mind. 

Still, the actor’s success has been a slow burn. “We were starving after ‘Game of Thrones,'” he told InStyle. “I couldn’t get work.”

Momoa’s “Game of Thrones” character was killed off in season one, before the show became a massive hit. The actor struggled to cover the expenses for the house he shares with his wife, Lisa Bonet, and their two children. “It’s very challenging when you have babies, and you’re completely in debt,” he said.

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Momoa isn’t the only celebrity to face financial hardship in the midst of a period when the public assumes they are successful. After her second worldwide tour, The Monster Ball, which ran from 2009 to 2011, Lady Gaga found herself $3 million in debt

“It was funny because I didn’t know!” she told the Financial Times. “I remember I called everybody and said, ‘Why is every­one saying I have no money? This is ridiculous, I have five No. 1 singles.’ And they said, ‘Well, you’re $3 million in debt.'”

Still, Lady Gaga pressed on and was able to pull herself out of the red. Today, she’s worth an estimated $150 million, according to Forbes

As for Momoa, things have definitely improved. In 2017, he starred in “Justice League,” followed by “Aquaman” in 2018, in which he played the titular role. There’s more on the horizon: He’s completely booked through 2024, InStyle reports.

Check out: This millennial couple earns $6 million a year from YouTube and real estate—here’s how they spend their money

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Stocks on track to close out month of big gains as jobs data looms

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