Global shares mostly higher…Pope urges economic reset
TOKYO (AP) – Global shares mostly rose today, echoing the rally on Wall Street last week, with Japan’s benchmark reaching a three-decade high on growing optimism over the global economy. In early trading, France’s CAC 40 added 0.5%, Germany’s DAX added 0.7% and Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed 2.1% higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.1% and the Shanghai Composite picked up 1.0%. But South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.9%. On Wall Street, U.S. futures are higher.
ROME (AP) – Pope Francis is urging governments to use the coronavirus crisis as a revolutionary opportunity to create a world that is more economically and environmentally just, and where basic health care is guaranteed for all. Francis made the appeal in his annual foreign policy address to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See. Francis is urging governments to contribute to global initiatives to provide vaccines to the poor, and to use the pandemic as a whole as a chance to reset what he said is a sick economic model that exploits the poor and the Earth.
TOKYO (AP) – Japanese telecommunications and technology conglomerate Softbank Group Corp. is reporting a whopping 1.17 trillion yen ($11 billion) profit for the October-December quarter as its investments rose in value. SoftBank says its profits are far better than what analysts had expected, zooming up 21-fold from its profit the previous year. The value of its investments rose, including in DoorDash, a U.S. food delivery service, and Uber, a U.S. technology company that offers ride-hailing and deliveries. SoftBank’s investment portfolio got an overall healthy boost from booming global stock markets.
BERLIN (AP) – Official data shows that industrial production in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, stagnated in December after seven consecutive months of gains. Today’s figure from the Economy Ministry follows data on Friday that showed factory orders dropping nearly 1.9% in December compared with the previous month, nearly double the drop economists had expected. The numbers reinforce the impression that the economy could contract again in the current quarter after eking out minimal growth of 0.1% in last year’s fourth quarter.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Around the globe, tough new restrictions on travel because of variants of the coronavirus are hitting just when millions of people are normally on the move. That’s more bad news for airlines, restaurants and hotels, which have been struggling mightily for the past year. In late winter and early spring, Chinese factory workers are normally heading home for Lunar New Year, American college students are hitting the beach over spring break, and Germans and Britons are fleeing drab skies for some Mediterranean sun over Easter. But all of that is canceled or in doubt.