President Obama is trying to muster all the support he can get for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
The President wrote an open letter to the eBay(EBAY) - Get Report Main Street Community, explaining the benefits of the trade agreement and the importance of eBay sellers reaching an international audience of buyers. The letter begins:
Hi eBay Main Street Community
While most Americans are just beginning to think about Thanksgiving, I know that, for you, the holiday season has been in full swing for some time now. From checking inventory to promoting products and sorting out shipping logistics, there's a lot that goes into meeting demand during the holidays. For you -- and all of America's online sellers -- it's crunch time.
And I'm sure the realities of the 21st century economy are making this season both more exciting-and more stressful. Demand has gone global. The majority of you have customers in foreign countries - and that's not surprising. Today, 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside our borders-and it's our small business owners who are often the first to reach them. In fact, 98 percent of those who sell American goods and services abroad are small and medium-sized business owners.
After citing the examples of two eBay sellers, the president continues:
It's businesses like yours that helped us sell a record-breaking $2.34 trillion in exports around the world last year, which supported nearly 12 million jobs here at home. However, while many on eBay are selling abroad, fewer than 5 percent of American small businesses are selling their products in foreign markets-and most who do export only sell to one country.
That's got to change. If America is going to continue to lead, we have to make it easier for entrepreneurs like you to sell what you proudly make here in some of the fastest-growing markets around the world.
That's why my team spent five years negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new trade agreement that levels the playing field for you and your employees, bringing down trade barriers like high taxes and red tape, while preserving free and open digital data flows between you and your customers in the Asia-Pacific.
If passed the agreement would regulate trade between the U.S. and 11 other countries. It has been challenged by many members of Congress.
Read the full report by TheStreet's Rebecca Borison.
Shares of eBay declined by 1.4% Thursday, closing at $28.56.
Shares of PayPal Holdings(PYPL) - Get Report , which was spun off from eBay earlier this year, declined by 2.1% Thursday on reports that Apple(AAPL) - Get Report is exploring a person-to-person payments service that would compete with PayPal's Venmo business. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Paypal shares closed at $35.57 Thursday. Apple stock declined by less than 1%, closing at $115.72.
Apple was granted a patent for such a payments service in July, according to TheStreet's Rebecca Borison. Read her full report.
And check out this report from TheStreet's Technology Editor Chris Ciaccia for a look at the various payment services that are now competing in the marketplace.
HP(HPQ) - Get Report and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) - Get Report , which recently became two separate companies, announced their first regular quarterly common stock dividends, according to a report by Barron's Tech Trader Daily.
HP, which sells PCs and printers, said its board approved a payout of 12.4 cents per common share, payable Jan. 6 to holders of record as of Dec. 9.
Hewlett, which sells storage, servers and services to businesses, said its board approved a 5.5 cent payout payable on the same dates, Tech Trader Daily said.
HP closed Thursday at $13.31, down 4.4%. Hewlett closed at $13.70, down 2.9%.
The owner of MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central reported revenue and net income that missed analysts' forecasts. But the jump in its stock price was due to a smaller-than-expected 7% drop in ad sales, while revenue from pay TV operators that carry Viacom networks jumped 15%, exceeding expectations.
Read the full report by TheStreet's Leon Lazaroff.
Karma Automotive, which is owned by China's Wanxiang Group, announced Thursday that BMW has agreed to be a supplier. BMW will supply Karma Automotive with its latest powertrain components, including high voltage battery charging systems and a wide range of hybrid and EV systems, the company said in a release.
Karma Automotive, a smaller competitor to Tesla Motors(TSLA) - Get Report , will integrate the first BMW components into its plug-in hybrid flagship vehicle, which will re-launch in 2016. The next generation of vehicles already in development will utilize more of BMW's powertrain technology, the company said.
"The Wanxiang Group is giving Karma Automotive the opportunity to bring a stunning car back to the market, and the partnership with BMW and their outstanding track record is a great fit for the future," said Karma's CEO Tom Corcoran in a release. "We will continue to develop beautiful cars with the latest cutting edge hybrid and EV technology."
Karma Automotive was established in 2014 by the Wanxiang Group, which purchased the assets of Fisker Automotive after its 2013 bankruptcy.
Fisker's only vehicle, called the Karma, was a luxury plug-in hybrid that cost more than $100,000 and was launched in 2011. Production of the car ended the following year.
Tesla shares closed at $212.94 Thursday, down 2.9% for the day.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.