Global stocks gain … Commerce Dept reports on GDP … German company begins COVID-19 vaccine human testing
BEIJING (AP) – Global stocks gained today after France and Spain joined governments that plan to ease anti-virus controls and allow businesses to reopen. London and Frankfurt opened higher, while Shanghai and Hong Kong advanced. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. Wall Street is expected to open higher, with Dow futures up 0.7% and S&P 500 futures up 0.8%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Commerce Department is expected today to estimate that the gross domestic product, the broadest gauge of the economy, shrank at an annual rate of 5% or more in the January-March quarter. That would be the sharpest quarterly drop in GDP since the Great Recession, which ended in 2009. And it would be the first quarterly contraction in six years.
BERLIN (AP) – German pharmaceutical company BioNTech says it has begun testing a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus on volunteers. BioNTech, which is working with U.S.-based Pfizer, says 12 participants of a clinical trial in Germany have received doses of the vaccine candidate BNT162 since April 23.
PARIS (AP) – Airbus is reporting 481 million euros in losses in the first quarter, putting thousands of workers on furlough and seeking billions in loans to survive the coronavirus crisis. And its CEO says the aviation industry’s unprecedented troubles are still in an “early stage.” Chief Executive Guillaume Faury is acknowledging that even after virus-related travel restrictions eventually ease, it will take a long time to persuade customers to get back on planes.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Automaker Volkswagen saw car sales and operating profit plunge in the first quarter as the coronavirus outbreak closed dealerships and halted production. Global sales fell 23% to 2.0 million vehicles in the first three months of the year, from 2.6 million in the year-earlier quarter. But the company says it remains financially strong with a “robust” cash pile of 17.8 billion euros (%19 billion). Sales revenue fell by 8.3% to 55.1 billion euros.