Shares down in Europe … What will the Fed do? … HBO Max streaming service to launch in May
BANGKOK (AP) – Shares fell in early European trading today after Asian benchmarks ended mixed. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.2%, while Germany’s DAX shed 0.2%. The CAC 40 in Paris edged 0.1% higher. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.6%. In South Korea, the Kospi declined 0.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.4% while the Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.5%. Wall Street is expected to open lower, with Dow and S&P futures down 0.1%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve is set to cut its benchmark interest rate today for a third time this year to help sustain the U.S. economic expansion in the face of widespread trade tensions and slower global growth. But the Fed’s policymakers will likely frustrate anyone who is hoping for a clear signal about what they may do next. Economists say the central bank may prefer instead to keep its options open. Analysts have forecast that the Fed will reduce the short-term rate it controls by one-quarter percentage point.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Volkswagen says its profits jumped 44% in the third quarter thanks to a more profitable mix of vehicles but warns that global markets are slowing more than expected and lowered its forecast for annual sales. The German automaker says it expects “that vehicle markets will contract faster than previously anticipated in many regions of the world.” It says sales would be “on a level” with last year’s record 10.8 million vehicles.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – A Norwegian hotel and property developer and two equity funds have bought the Nordic subsidiaries of the failed Thomas Cook travel agency, potentially saving some 2,300 jobs. Petter Stordalen and Scandinavian fund Altor have each acquired 40% of Ving group while London-based TDR Capital control the remaining 20%. A price was not disclosed.
UNDATED (AP) – AT&T says its HBO Max streaming service will launch in May for $15 a month, joining a crowded field. The company has said HBO Max will become the “workhorse” for its video business as cord-cutting of traditional TV expands. It hopes to migrate people who pay for HBO in different ways today to the new platform. The service grew out of AT&T’s $81 billion purchase of Time Warner, which AT&T overhauled and rechristened WarnerMedia. HBO Max will challenge Netflix alongsideDisney, Comcast and Apple.