Global markets rise … Fed chair expresses optimism … Softbank racks up $9B loss
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets rose today after the chief American central banker expressed optimism that the American economy might start to recover this year from the coronavirus pandemic. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained 2.1% and the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 2.8%. France’s CAC 40 rose 2.5%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.2% higher and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.5%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.6%, the Kospi in Seoul was 0.5%. On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 index and the Dow industrials were up 1.6%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is expressing optimism that the U.S. economy can begin to recover from a devastating recession in the second half of the year, assuming the coronavirus doesn’t erupt in a second wave. But he suggested in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that a full recovery won’t likely be possible before the arrival of a vaccine. Powell says the economy was fundamentally healthy before the virus struck suddenly and once the outbreak has been contained, the economy should be able to rebound “substantially.”
HONG KONG (AP) – The latest U.S. sanctions on tech giant Huawei threaten to devastate the company and escalate a feud with China that could disrupt technology industries worldwide. Huawei Technologies Ltd. is one of the world’s biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, but that business is in jeopardy after Washington announced restrictions on use of American technology by foreign companies that produce its processor chips. Huawei has few alternatives if Washington refuses to allow its suppliers of processor chips to use American technology.
TOKYO (AP) – Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. racked up a loss of $9 billion for the fiscal year through March, on red ink related to its Vision Fund investments including troubled office space-sharing venture WeWork. Tokyo-based SoftBank reports sales for the fiscal year inched up 1%. It did not immediately break down quarterly results or give a forecast for the fiscal year through March 2021. A plunge in share prices during the coronavirus pandemic has slammed the value of its investments, including Uber.
BANGKOK (AP) – Thailand’s flag carrier Thai Airways International will file a plan for restructuring its business with the Central Bankruptcy Court. A government spokeswoman says the plan submitted by the State Enterprise Policy Office to salvage the airline will be submitted Tuesday for Cabinet approval. Thai Airways had been suffering financially even before the coronavirus crisis brought travel and tourism in the country to a near standstill. The airline initially sought a 54 billion baht ($1.7 billion) bailout loan from the government.