Markets fall back in Europe, higher in Asia … Europe’s economy shrinks 3.8% … European businesses on life support
TOKYO (AP) – Shares fell back in Europe today following the release of worse-than-expected data showing the regional economy contracted by a record 3.8% in the last quarter. In early trading, France’s CAC 40 was flat while Germany’s DAX lost 0.1%. Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.2%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed 2.1% higher while Australia’s gained 2.4%. The Shanghai Composite added 1.3%. Shares also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Dow and S&P futures are both up around 0.1%.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – The European economy shrank by 3.8% in the first quarter, the most since records began, as business activity was frozen by shutdowns aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. It was the biggest drop since statistics started in 1995. Unemployment, however, rose only slightly even amid the massive shutdowns that idled everything from florists to restaurants to factories.
PARIS (AP) – Thousands of European businesses are on life support due to coronavirus shutdowns. But many are able to keep their employees on staff as they hope for things to pick up as the continent reopens. That’s because governments are paying them to keep their workers on board under temporary support programs. France pays up to 84% of lost income for workers put on short hours or no hours. In Germany, it’s 60%. The catch is, the business can’t fire the workers. The bosses benefit from flexibility and the chance to keep their trained staff. For now it’s helping companies and the economy stay on their feet.
HELSINKI (AP) – Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia (NOH’-kee-uh) has reported improved first quarter profit but says the COVID-19 pandemic has dented sales by around 200 million euros ($218 million) mainly due to supply issues associated with disruptions in China. The company reports net profit of 33 million euros for the January-March period, compared with a loss of 116 million euros the previous year. Sales were down 2% at 4.9 billion euros.
NEW YORK (AP) -Some immigrants who used to do construction or clean homes but lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic are going out each day to deliver food to families in need. Through Facebook or word of mouth, small immigrant support networks find out who can donate and who needs the help and deliver it traveling by car or by foot. But it also exposes them to the coronavirus that has already hit hard working-class neighborhoods.