World shares mixed…China responds
UNDATED (AP) – World shares are mixed and U.S. futures have declined as investors await final results of Senate runoff elections that will determine whether Democrats take control of both houses of Congress. Benchmarks edged higher in Europe. Shares traded lower for most of the day in Asia, although markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai ended higher. U.S. stocks advanced Tuesday, regaining their footing a day after starting out 2021 with their worst loss in months amid the worsening pandemic and the Senate elections in the state of Georgia. Speculation that Democratic victories might lead to more government spending that could fuel inflation have pushed Treasury yields higher.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Top national security agencies are confirming in a rare joint statement that Russia was likely responsible for a massive hack of U.S. government departments and corporations, rejecting President Donald Trump’s claim that China might be to blame. The statement represents the U.S. government’s first formal attempt to assign responsibility for the breaches at multiple agencies and to assign a possible motive for the operation. It says the hacks appeared to be intended for “intelligence-gathering,” suggesting the evidence so far pointed to a Russian spying effort rather than an attempt to damage or disrupt U.S. government operations. Russia has denied involvement in the hack.
BEIJING (AP) – China is accusing Washington of misusing national security as an excuse to hurt commercial competitors after President Donald Trump signed an order banning transactions with payment services Alipay and WeChat Pay and six other apps. The order escalates a conflict with Beijing over technology, security and spying accusations that has plunged U.S.-Chinese relations to their lowest level in decades. It followed confusion in financial markets after the New York Stock Exchange announced last week it would remove three Chinese phone companies and then withdrew that plan on Monday. A foreign ministry spokeswoman criticized Trump’s order as “bullying, arbitrary and hegemonic behavior.”
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A federal judge has refused to halt oil and gas lease sales in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that were pushed by the Trump administration in its final days. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason made the decision Tuesday. It involves a region valued by conservationists for its beauty and wildlife and is seen as sacred to some Indigenous people but viewed by others as a way to boost oil production and create jobs. The decision came after conservationists and Indigenous groups argued the lease sale scheduled for today was based on inadequate environmental reviews or outdated information.
NEW YORK (AP) – Veteran rock star Neil Young has become the latest artist to strike gold with his song catalogue. The Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a British investment company, says it’s acquired a 50 percent stake in Young’s catalogue of some 1,180 songs that include ‘Heart of Gold,’ ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ and ‘Cinnamon Girl.’ Terms were not disclosed. The deal comes a month after Bob Dylan sold his song publishing for a fortune estimated at between $300 million and a half billion dollars. Song publishing is being looked at as a valuable investment at a time music sales have collapsed and the concert industry is on hold due to the pandemic.