Shares mixed in Europe…Skeptical EU leaders to hear May’s plea for a Brexit delay…Levi Strauss to go public again
BANGKOK (AP) – Shares were mixed in Europe today after a day of gains in Asia spurred by the Federal Reserve’s promise not to raise interest rates during this year. In early trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent while the DAX in Germany lost 0.5 percent. The CAC 40 in France slipped 0.2 percent. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.9 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.5 percent. The outlook for Wall Street is cloudy, with Dow and S&P futures each down 0.2 percent.
BRUSSELS (AP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel says European Union leaders could approve a short delay to Brexit in principle so long as Britain’s Parliament passes a twice-rejected withdrawal deal next week. She says that if that doesn’t happen, another EU summit might be needed. British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking EU approval for delaying Brexit from March 29 to June 30 at a summit starting today. That request is complicated by European Parliament elections May 23-26 that Britain doesn’t want to participate in.
BEIJING (AP) – China’s commerce ministry says U.S. officials will be in Beijing next week for the next round of high-level trade talks. A ministry spokesman says U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will be in China next Thursday and Friday for the eighth round of negotiations. The tariff dispute began last year after the U.S. brought a number of complaints, including that China engaged in theft of U.S. trade secrets and forced companies to transfer technology in exchange for access to its market.
NEW YORK (AP) – Levi Strauss & Co. is about to go public again for the second time. The 166-year-old company previously went public in 1971, but the namesake founder’s descendants took it private again in 1985. The stock is listed under the ticker “LEVI.” The move comes as the iconic brand is staging a comeback under its CEO Chip Bergh even as it faces increasing competition and a changing retail landscape.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – New York state is offering new licenses to operate farms for the production of mead, an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey with water. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that applications for operating farm meaderies are now being accepted. The Democrat says the move builds on New York’s standing as the nation’s leading craft beverage state and the top honey producer in the Northeast.