Stocks rise…Big tech fair in doubt after more companies quit over virus…Ford issues recall
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are extending their rally in morning trading on Wall Street as investors focus on the latest batch of mostly solid corporate earnings. Every major index remains above recent records as worries subside about the economic impact of the virus outbreak that originated in China. Technology stocks are leading the broad gains. Companies that rely on consumer spending, including Amazon and Nike, are also doing well. Insurers including UnitedHealth and Anthem led the health care sector higher. Crude oil jumped 3% and lifted energy companies.
LONDON (AP) – The world’s biggest wireless trade fair has been thrown into doubt after more big tech companies and mobile carriers pulled out over worries about the viral outbreak from China. Nokia, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom are the latest in a string of tech companies to opt out of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, that is scheduled for Feb. 24-27. Ericsson, Amazon, Sony, LG, Cisco and Intel have already decided not to attend. Nokia said today that it has decided to withdraw from “after a full assessment of the risks related to a fast-moving situation.”
BEIJING (AP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) is promising tax cuts and other aid to industries hurt by a virus outbreak in a renewed effort to rein in the rising damage to the economy. Xi’s announcement comes as companies face increasing losses due to the closure of factories, offices, shops and other businesses in the most sweeping anti-disease measures ever imposed. The measures have disrupted travel and other industries. Some businesses are beginning to reopen but many face heavy losses. Xi said Beijing needs to “maintain stable economic operation and social harmony.”
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A new spirits industry report says President Donald Trump’s trade war dampened the overseas market for American-made whiskey last year. The Distilled Spirits Council says overall exports of bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey tumbled amid a trade war-induced decline in exports to key European markets. At home, U.S. sales posted solid gains, especially for pricier premium brands. American whiskey makers have been caught in the middle of a trans-Atlantic trade dispute since mid-2018. That’s when the EU imposed tariffs on American whiskey and other U.S. products in response to Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on European steel and aluminum.
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford is recalling over 240,000 SUVs and cars worldwide because a suspension part can fracture and increase the risk of a crash. The recall covers the Ford Flex, Taurus police car, Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKT from the 2013 through 2018 model years. Most of the recalled vehicles are in North America. Ford says if the suspension moves a lot on the vehicles, the rear toe links can fracture. Toe links help keep the rear suspension stable and the tires on the pavement. The company says it’s not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem in this batch of recalled vehicles. Dealers will replace toe links on both sides with new ones that are stronger. Owners will be notified starting March 2.