World shares down … Oil prices keep rising … Japan vows to improve border checks after Ghosn flees
BANGKOK (AP) – World shares fell today as financial markets were rattled by escalating tensions in the Middle East following the killing by a U.S. air strike of an Iranian general. In early trading, Germany’s DAX dropped 1.9% and the CAC 40 in Paris gave up 1.3%. In London, the FTSE 100 lost 1.1%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei slid 1.9%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1% and the Shanghai Composite index was flat. Wall Street is expected to open lower with S&P futures down 0.7%, and Dow futures down 0.8%.
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island – The global benchmark for crude oil has risen above $70 a barrel for the first time in more than three months. The increase came amid jitters over the escalating military tensions between Iran and the United States after an American drone strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The price of oil is now up more than 5% since the killing, and major stock markets areádown around the world amid fears of how Iran would fulfill its vow of “harsh retaliation.” The energy industry is worried that Iran could strike at oil and gas facilities along the Persian Gulf that are important to the U.S. and its regional allies.
TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s justice minister is promising to strengthen border departure checks and review bail conditions after Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn (gohn) fled the country. Masako Mori told reporters the ministry has already taken actions to prevent a reoccurrence but he declined to give details. Ghosn skipped bail while awaiting trial on financial misconduct allegations in Japan and later said from Lebanon that he did so because his case was unfair.
LONDON (AP) – A survey suggests that the British economy appears set to pick up in the early months of 2020 amid more clarity over Brexit. Financial information firm IHS Markit found that the big services sector stabilized in December as order books picked up. Greater Brexit clarity emerged after the U.K. general election of Dec. 12, which saw the Conservatives win an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. tech companies that build artificial intelligence software for analyzing satellite imagery are facing new restrictions today on exporting their products to China and elsewhere. The new expert rules target emerging technology that could give the U.S. a significant military or intelligence advantage. The rules could affect a growing sector of the tech industry using algorithms to analyze satellite images of crops, trade patterns and other changes affecting the economy or environment.