Global stocks mostly higher…EU predicts recession of historic proportions…Victim families seek compensation for Germanwings crash
UNDATED (AP) – Global stock markets were mostly higher today as hopes for economic recovery rose after more governments eased anti-virus controls. In early trading, London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.1% while the DAX in Frankfurt shed just under 0.1%. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.1%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.3% higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.1%. The Kospi in Seoul was 1.8% higher and India’s Sensex gained 1.2%. On Wall Street, Dow and S&P futures are each up 0.7%.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union is predicting “a recession of historic proportions this year” due to the impact of the coronavirus. The EU has released its first official forecast of the damage the disease has inflicted on the bloc’s economy. The 27-nation EU economy is predicted to contract by 7.5% this year, before growing by about 6% in 2021. And for the Spring economic forecast, the group of 19 nations using the euro is expected to see a record decline of 7.75% this year and grow by 6.25% in 2021.
BERLIN (AP) -A court in Germany is considering demands for compensation brought against Lufthansa by eight people who lost loved ones in the crash of its budget airline Germanwings five years ago. The plaintiffs want a higher payout than Lufthansa and its U.S.-based flight school have offered. They argue that the airline allowed pilot Andreas Lubitz to complete his aviation training despite evidence of mental illness. Officials in France and Germany concluded that Lubitz intentionally crashed the Airbus A320 into a French mountainside on March 24, 2015. All 150 people on board were killed.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Luxury auto maker BMW says that the entire industry will be constrained by the lockdown measures against the outbreak “for quite some time to come.” The Munich-based carmaker says it’s financially solid with a large cash pile of 19 billion euros, or about $21 billion. Car sales fell 21% in the quarter as first China and then Europe and the United States saw dealerships closed during the outbreak. BMW expects lower profit margins this year.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong, has expressed remorse but gave no clear admission of wrongdoing in a 2016 corruption scandal that sent South Korea’s then-president to prison. The vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest producer of computer chips and smartphones, promised today to end heredity transfers of control of South Korea’s largest business group. He said he would not pass the management rights he inherited from his father to his children. Lee also said Samsung would stop suppressing employee attempts to organize unions.