Stocks mostly lower…No COVID compromise on Capitol Hill
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets were mostly lower today after U.S. unemployment claims rose in a sign of worsening economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic while Congress remains deadlocked over possible new aid. London, Tokyo and Shanghai retreated while Hong Kong and Seoul gained. U.S. stock futures also are lower.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republican senators won’t support a key compromise on a $900 billion COVID-19 aid package from a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The bill includes a slimmed-down liability shield for companies from virus-related lawsuits in exchange for adding $160 billion for cash-strapped states and cities that Democrats want. Now a legislative pile-up is threatening today’s deadline to pass an unrelated government funding bill by midnight or risk a shutdown starting Saturday.
LONDON (AP) – Drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi say their potential COVID-19 vaccine won’t be ready until late next year as they work to improve the shot’s effectiveness in older people. The companies says that early-stage trials showed the vaccine produced an “insufficient” immune response in older adults, demonstrating the need to refine the product so it protects people of all ages. GSK and Sanofi, based in London and Paris, respectively, say they’re confident of the vaccine’s ultimate success due to positive results from other tests.
LONDON (AP) – British trucking firms, supermarkets and other businesses are imploring the government to strike a last-minute trade deal with the European Union, as leaders for the two sides tell their citizens to brace for New Year upheaval in the U.K.-EU trading relationship. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said there is a “strong possibility” that negotiations on a new economic relationship to take effect Jan. 1 will fail. Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have set a Sunday deadline to decide whether to keep talking or prepare for a no-deal break.
TOKYO (AP) – Domestic sponsors have already contributed a record of $3.3 billion to help pay for the Tokyo Olympics. That’s at least twice as much as any previous Games. But it’s still not enough. Now sponsors are being asked to pay millions more to cover some of the soaring costs of the one-year postponement. This comes as Japanese businesses are battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, raising doubts about re-investing in an Olympics that may be short on fans but long on pandemic-related rules that will curtail sightseeing and spending. Tokyo has signed up nearly 70 domestic sponsors for these Olympics. The Tokyo Games are to open on July 23, 2021.