News roundup: Globalization reversing course as 2017 approaches … Solar panels now so cheap manufacturers probably selling at a loss … Wall Street set to end strong 2016 with a whimper

    Around the world: Globalization, the path that the world economy has largely followed for decades, took some hefty blows in 2016. The Associated Press reports the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union have raised questions over the future of tariff-free trade and companies’ freedom to move production to lower-cost countries. Borders are back in vogue. Economic nationalism is paying political dividends. Next year, there’s scope for more uncertainty with elections in France and Germany. Read the full story.

    Low light: Led by China’s Trina Solar Ltd., solar manufacturers are probably selling at a loss after prices fell to a record low this week. Reuters reports the global spot market price for solar panels fell 2.4% to an average of 36 cents a watt on Dec. 28, citing PVinsights. That’s the bottom end of the cost range for most producers in the third quarter, according to Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co. Suppliers are expanding capacity this year while demand is expected to slow in 2017, helping to push prices down. However, some companies’ cost structures remain competitive even with the low prices. Read the full story.

    So long 2016: U.S. stocks were falling this afternoon on the last trading day of 2016, eating into gains for the year. Reuters reports the S&P 500 technology sector’s 0.72% drop put the broader index on track for its third straight day of declines, its longest losing streak since Nov. 4. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was set for its first weekly decline since the U.S. election. The rally had pushed the index to within 13 points of 20,000 last week, but after three straight days of losses, the index is now about 200 points shy. Until Thursday, the three main Wall Street indexes were set to end the year with double-digit percentage gains. The S&P is now on track to post a gain of 9.7% for the year, the Nasdaq 7.8% and the Dow 13.7%. Read the full story.

    Editor’s note: The offices of Business Report will be closed on Monday, Jan. 2, and Daily Report will not be published. It will return on Tuesday. Have a safe and happy holiday.

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