World markets mixed…Mixing COVID vaccines
TOKYO (AP) – Asian shares fell but European benchmarks are edging higher today as caution sets in over company earnings reports, recent choppy trading in technology stocks and prospects for more economic stimulus for a world battling a pandemic. In early trading, France’s CAC 40 is up 0.5%, Germany’s DAX has added 0.5%, Britain’s FTSE 100 is up 0.6%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed 1.1% lower, South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.4%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite was down 0.4%. But Wall Street futures are up slightly.
UNDATED (AP) – British scientists are going to test whether COVID-19 vaccines can be mixed and matched. The vaccines that are rolling out now require two doses, weeks apart, and they should be the same kind. In the study starting today, participants will get one shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by a Pfizer dose, or vice versa. The vaccines use different technologies and it’s unclear whether mixing them might work. But British officials say that, if successful, the study could allow for more flexible policies and help deal with vaccine shortages. Researchers are hoping to enroll 800 volunteers.
LONDON (AP) – The Bank of England is expected to keep interest rates unchanged today amid rising optimism over the British economy’s near-term prospects in the wake of the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines. Alongside its policy decisions, the bank will be publishing its updated economic forecasts that will take account of a number of factors that weren’t clear at the time of its previous predictions in November. In addition to its view on the the vaccine rollout, there will be interest on how the bank thinks the recently agreed trade deal between the U.K. and the European Union will impact upon the British economy.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Deutsche Bank has turned in a profit of 624 million euros for the pandemic year 2020. Germany’s largest bank says that cost cutting over the past several years was paying off. The cost cuts are part of a long-term transformation aimed at reducing riskier or less profitable lines of business and refocusing on its European and German client base. On top of that, the turbulent year saw more revenues from trading bonds and currencies. CEO Christian Sewing says the bank has moved through a transitional period of restructuring and is now looking ahead to sustainable profits.
HELSINKI (AP) – Finnish telecommunications company Nokia is reporting a smaller than expected drop in profit in the fourth-quarter while it acknowledges it was facing some challenges in the race for 5G networks, especially in the North American market. The company reports that net profit for the October-December period was down 1% to 811 million euros ($973 million). Sales were down 5% to 6.6 billion euros. CEO Pekka Lundmark, who took over the company’s top spot in August, describes the fourth quarter result as “solid” but warns that the current year won’t be easy for Nokia.