World shares higher…Thousands of furloughs for 2 airlines
TOKYO (AP) – Shares are mostly higher in Europe and Asia today, while trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was suspended for the day because of a failure in its electronic trading system. Benchmarks are up in London, Paris and Sydney. Markets in Shanghai, Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for holidays. Tokyo exchange officials apologized for the suspension in trading and said they’re working to restore normal trading by Friday. Investors are turning their attention to jobs numbers due out Friday and watching to see if Congress and the White House can iron out deep partisan differences to agree on fresh help for the U.S. economy.
UNDATED (AP) – American Airlines and United Airlines say they will furlough 32,000 workers between them because negotiations in Washington have failed to produce more federal aid for the industry. Airlines have lost billions of dollars because of a steep slump in travel during the pandemic. The airlines and their labor unions are lobbying for another $25 billion in taxpayer money to pay workers for six more months, through next March. They have already received $25 billion in payroll help, but that money – and a related ban on furloughs – ends today. Congressional Democrats and the White House are still far apart on a larger relief bill that could include airline aid.
FRANKFURT, Germany – Unemployment rose for the fifth straight month in Europe amid concern that extensive government support programs won’t be able keep many businesses hit by coronavirus restrictions afloat forever. The jobless rate rose to 8.1% in the 19 countries that use the euro currency in August, up from 7.9% in July. Some 13.2 million people were unemployed in August and the number of those out of work rose by 251,000. Economists expect a further rise as support programs expire, while an increase in infections in many countries has raised fears that some restrictions on business interaction may have to be re-imposed.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union has taken legal action against Britain over its plans to pass legislation that would breach parts of the legally binding divorce agreement the two sides reached late last year. The EU action underscores the worsening relations with Britain, which was a member of the bloc until Jan. 31. Both sides are trying to forge a rudimentary free trade agreement before the end of the year, but the fight over the controversial U.K. Internal Market bill has soured relations this month.
STOCKHOLM (AP) – Swedish low-cost fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz AB – known as H&M – says its third quarter sales fell 16% to 51 million kronor ($ 5.7 million), largely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the quarter approximately 900 of the group’s more than 5,000 stores were temporarily closed. At the end of the quarter just over 200 stores were temporarily closed. The Stockholm-based group retailer said its profit after tax for the period June 1- Aug. 31 amounted to 1.8 billion kronor ($200 million), less than half from a year ago.