Global stocks mixed…Questions about AstraZeneca vaccine
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets are mixed today as questions about the effectiveness of one possible coronavirus vaccine weigh on investor optimism. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.6% while Frankfurt’s DAX added 0.1%. The CAC 40 in Paris was up less than 0.1%. In Asia, In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.1% higher and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.4%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.3%. S&P futures are up nearly 0.1% and Dow futures are unchanged.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Six American oil executives held for three years in Venezuela have been found guilty of corruption charges and immediately sentenced to prison. The judge’s ruling Thursday came with sentences of more than eight years for each defendant. The so-called Citgo 6 had been lured to Venezuela three years ago for a business meeting and arrested. They are employees of the Houston-based Citgo refining company, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA.
LONDON (AP) – The British government has formally asked the country’s medicines regulator to assess whether a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University should be authorized for use. The step comes amid questions about preliminary results from trials of the jab, after the company and the university acknowledged that the most encouraging part of their findings stemmed from a dosing error.
BANGKOK (AP) – Thailand has signed a deal to procure 26 million doses of the trial coronavirus vaccine developed by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University. It is expected to be delivered in mid-2021. The deal, worth $200 million, secures a supply of 26 million doses covering 13 million people in a population of about 69 million. A government spokesman says officials are still deciding who should receive the vaccine first. A separate deal signed in October allows a Thai company to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine. Thailand has had 3,961 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since January, including 60 deaths.
LONDON (AP) – Britain plans to create a new watchdog to police big tech companies including Google and Facebook to counter their market dominance and prevent them from exploiting consumers and small businesses. The U.K. government says it’s setting up a “digital markets unit” next year to enforce a new code of conduct governing the behavior of tech giants that dominate the online advertising market. The digital markets unit, scheduled to launch in April, will oversee a new regulatory regime for tech companies that’s aimed at spurring more competition.