Shares start strong…Suit over iPhone tracking
UNDATED (AP) – Shares have started out the week on a strong footing after the S&P 500 hit a fresh high on Friday, with robust data from Japan and China adding to optimism over economic recoveries even as coronavirus caseloads surpass earlier records. Stock benchmarks rose today in Paris, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and most other markets. Asian markets got a lift from the signing of a regional trade agreement over the weekend that is expected to boost trade, though the immediate effects are not likely to be big. Improved growth figures for Japan, China and Thailand have reinforced confidence economies are on the upswing from pandemic downturns.
BERLIN (AP) – European privacy activists have filed complaints against Apple over its use of software to track the behavior of iPhone users. The Vienna-based group NOYB says it has asked data protection authorities in Germany and Spain to examine the legality of Apple’s tracking codes. The codes are similar to the cookies that websites use to store information on user behavior. NOYB says the iOS operating system creates unique codes for each iPhone that allow Apple and other third parties to “identify users across applications and even connect online and mobile behaviour.” Apple declined to immediately respond to a request for comment.
NEW YORK (AP) – PNC Financial Services Group says it is buying the U.S. subsidiary of Spain’s BBVA bank for $11.6 billion in cash. BBVA’s U.S. operations are based in Houston, Texas. They have $104 billion in assets and operate 637 branches, mainly in the south and southwest of the country. PNC is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is largely a regional bank. The deal would give it a presence across the U.S. Shares in BBVA jumped more than 15% in Madrid today. Those in PNC were up 1.8% in premarket trading.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, says it will start operating daily nonstop flights to Tel Aviv next spring. The move deepens ties between the UAE and Israel after the two countries agreed to normalize relations. Direct flights on Etihad between the emirates’ capital of Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv will begin on March 28. Tickets are already available on Etihad’s website. Its announcement comes after Dubai’s budget carrier flydubai said it would begin offering direct flights between Dubai and Tel Aviv later this month. Normalization reflects a changing Middle East, in which shared enmity of Iran has largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.
UNDATED (AP) – Simon Property Group and Taubman Centers say they’ve reworked their merger, which was first announced in February, just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic devastated the retail industry. Simon will pay $43 a share for Taubman. That’s down from the original price of $52.50 a share. Both companies have agreed to drop lawsuits against each other.