Shares tumble in Europe and Asia…Program with anti-gay schools loses Wells Fargo support…Brexit happens Friday
UNDATED (AP) – Shares tumbled in Europe and Asia today as the impact of the virus outbreak in China expanded to include flight cancellations and other wider precautions to help stop its spread. Taiwan’s benchmark dived 5.8%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 1.7% lower and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index skidded 2.6%. In early trading, the CAC 40 in Paris dropped 1.1% and Germany’s DAX shed 1%. In Britain, the FTSE 100 declined 0.9%. Wall Street is expected to open lower, with Dow and S&P futures both down 0.7%.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Wells Fargo has pulled support and another bank says it will stop donating millions of dollars to Florida’s private school voucher program after reports that some schools in the program discriminate against LGBTQ students. Wells Fargo says it’s decided to no longer support Step Up for Students, noting that the company values diversity and inclusion and opposes discrimination of any kind. Fifth Third Bank says it has told officials with the state voucher program it will stop participating.
DECATUR, Ala. (AP) – A federal grand jury has subpoenaed 3M in connection to discharges from a chemical plant in northern Alabama. WHNT-TV reports the discharges may not have complied with federal permit requirements. 3M CEO Michael Roman announced the subpoena during an investor conference call Tuesday. The Minnesota-based company has faced lawsuits and public scrutiny last year over alleged chemical discharges from the 3M plant in Decatur into the Tennessee River. 3M halted some work at the plant last year for environmental reasons.
BRUSSELS (AP) – Brexit happens Friday night without a huge fanfare. Britain’s European Union membership will end at midnight Brussels time after 3 /1/2 years of fighting between the two sides over the terms of the split. Now the political eruptions have ceased and an uneasy quiet reigns as the U.K. and the EU take a leap into the unknown and prepare to negotiate a new relationship. A few Union Jack flags will be lowered from EU buildings in Brussels on Friday. Some more will be waved in jubilation by Brexiteers in London. But there won’t be fireworks, just a lot of uncertainty as a new era dawns.
BEIJING (AP) – Chinese tech giant Huawei is racing to develop replacements for Google apps. U.S. sanctions imposed on security grounds block Huawei from using YouTube and other popular Google “core apps” that customers expect to see on new phones. That could hobble Huawei’s ability to compete with Samsung and other Android-based brands. The No. 2 maker of smartphones is hunting for replacements for its next handset, due out in March. It plans to invest $1.5 billion in app development and is promising creators cash and rewards if they meet deadlines.