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European markets subdued … Economists warn shutdown could threaten wider economy … Gohn resigns as head of Renault



UNDATED (AP) – European markets were subdued today ahead of the European Central Bank’s interest rate decision and a speech by its head Mario Draghi. Strong fourth-quarter earnings by big American companies like IBM, Proctor & Gamble and United Technologies buoyed share prices in Asia. On Wall Street, the futures contract for the broad S&P 500 index was flat at 2,641.90. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average also was steady, at 24,584.00.


UNDATED (AP) – As the government shutdown enters a second month, economists say it could pose a threat to the wider economy. The biggest effect is likely to be the cutback in federal spending. But consumer spending is another important factor. When government employees spend less, stores and restaurants that serve them suffer. So do landlords and lenders that do business with federal workers. Most of the restaurant meals missed and hotel stays canceled will never be made up.


DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) – France’s finance minister says that Carlos Ghosn (gohn), who is fighting breach of trust and other charges in Japan, has resigned as head of Renault. Ghosn has been detained for more than two months in Japan. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Ghosn formally handed in his resignation to Renault’s temporary leadership Wednesday evening.


DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) – Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says Britain’s banking system is in good shape to deal with the prospect of the country crashing out of the European Union on March 29 without a deal. Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Carney says banks have spent the last few years building up their capital buffers. That will help them to keep lending even if the British economy shrinks by 8 percent in the months after Brexit and house prices collapse by around a third, as the bank warned in its worst-case Brexit scenario.


BEIJING (AP) – Chinese tech giant Huawei (WAH’-way) is planning the next-generation smartphone that will use its own technology instead of U.S. components, maneuvering to gain a competitive edge and sidestep complaints it is a security risk. Huawei is spending heavily to develop its own chips, an area where the U.S. dominates. That can reduce Huawei’s multibillion-dollar annual components bill and help insulate it against possible supply disruptions when U.S.-Chinese relations are strained.



AP-WF-01-24-19 1150GMT