Global stocks mostly higher…ECB gloom
TOKYO (AP) – Global shares are mostly higher today on optimism over the new U.S. administration that set off a rally on Wall Street Wednesday. In early trading in Europe, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.4%, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.6%. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up nearly 0.2%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.8% higher, South Korea’s Kospi edged up 1.5% and Shanghai Composite added 1.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.1%. On Wall Street, Dow and S&P futures are higher.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – The European Central Bank is confronting more economic gloom. Virus cases and deaths are rising, and new lockdowns mean the 341 million people in the eurozone face a deepening recession in the coming weeks. With more than a trillion euros in stimulus still in the pipeline, the ECB isn’t likely to add more. Top officials meet today to decide monetary policy for the 19 countries that use the euro as their currency. But ECB head Christine Lagarde is likely to deliver a message that the bank will do more if it has to. Otherwise the current support is enough to keep borrowing costs low for struggling companies and governments.
BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union leaders will hold a video summit amid worry that the new coronavirus variants could result in another surge of deaths across the 27-nation bloc and push hospitals to the verge of collapse. Today leaders will assess such measures as further border restrictions, better tracking of mutations and improve coordination of lockdowns. The highly contagious nature of the variants is a major source of concern and has already led some EU countries to strengthen restrictions by imposing stricter curfews and more stringent mask requirements on public transportation and in shops.
PARIS (AP) – Google has signed a deal with a group of French publishers paving the way for the internet giant to make digital copyright payments for online news content. After months of talks, Google France and the Alliance de la Presse d’Information Generale say they’ve agreed to set up a framework under which the U.S. company will negotiate individual licensing deals with publishers. Google has already negotiated a few individual payment deals with some French news publishers. Under the framework agreement, payments will be based on criteria such as the amount published daily and monthly internet traffic.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Norway’s government will help ailing low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle as long as the company manages to raise at least 4.5 billion kroner ($529 million) in new capital. Today’s move is a U-turn from the government’s previous refusal to help the airline. The change comes after Norwegian Air presented a restructuring plan that will focus on European destinations, close its long-haul operations and raise money from private investors. The Oslo government said that plan was “more robust.” Norwegian was struggling even before the pandemic. Like other airlines, its fleet is now mostly grounded as the pandemic has caused a near-total halt to global travel.