Major share benchmarks mixed in Europe…China weathers tariff spat…New car sales in Europe continue to drop
TOKYO (AP) – Major share benchmarks were mixed in Europe and Asia today after news that China’s economy grew at a better than expected 6.4% annual pace in the last quarter failed to entice wary investors focused on weaker U.S. corporate earnings. In early trading, Germany’s DAX was flat and the CAC 40 in France edged 0.1% higher. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.1%. In Asian trading, the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.3%. Wall Street looks set for a tepid start, with the Dow and S&P futures up slightly.
SHANGHAI (AP) – Despite a tariff war with the Trump administration, China’s economic growth held steady in the latest quarter. It could be a sign Beijing’s efforts to reverse a slowdown might be gaining traction. The government reported Wednesday that the world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.4 percent over a year earlier in the three months ending in March. That matched the previous quarter for the weakest growth since 2009.
MILAN (AP) – New car sales in Europe are continuing to fall for the seventh straight month, dropping by 4 percent in March. The European carmakers’ association ACEA, based in Brussels, says 1.72 million new cars were sold last month, down from 1.79 million in March 2018. Italy led all five top markets in decline, with a double-digit drop.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) – Gas stations across Portugal are running dry as truckers strike over pay and working conditions. The walkout by some 800 truckers who transport hazardous materials prompted a rush to fill tanks, leaving hundreds of gas stations closed today. Authorities have ordered the truckers to provide a minimum level of service, delivering gas to airports, hospitals and emergency services as well as 30% of average daily supplies to gas stations in the Lisbon, the capital, and Porto, the second-largest city.
NEW YORK (AP) – The Martha Stewart brand is getting a new home. Sequential Brands Group, which bought the Martha Stewart brand nearly four years ago for about $353 million, says it is selling it to Marquee Brands for about $175 million. As part of the deal, Marquee will also acquire the brand of TV chef Emeril Lagasse. Marquee owns several clothing and footwear brands, including Ben Sherman and Body Glove.