World stocks mostly higher…AstraZeneca strong earnings
World stock indexes are mostly higher today. In early trading, Germany’s DAX edged 0.1% higher, the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.3% and Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat. Many markets in Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year and other holidays, but benchmarks in Hong Kong rose. On Wall Street, S&P and Dow futures both gained 0.2%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Republicans are attacking the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package as too costly, economically damaging and overtly partisan. It’s an all-angles attempt by the GOP to derail new President Joe Biden’s top priority as it starts moving through a Congress that his party controls only narrowly. Five House committees worked Wednesday on their pieces of the sweeping legislation. The package would provide $1,400 payments to some Americans, hundreds of billions for state and local governments and boost vaccination efforts, raise tax credits for children and increase unemployment benefits. Democratic leaders hope for a bill on Biden’s desk by mid-March.
LONDON (AP) – Drug maker AstraZeneca says fourth-quarter earnings more than tripled amid strong sales of cancer drugs. AstraZeneca is also a co-developer of one of the first COVID-19 vaccines to be authorized for widespread use. The Anglo-Swedish company says net income rose to $1.01 billion from $313 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Drug sales increased 11% to $7.41 billion, driven by a 24% increase in cancer treatments.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt has died at age 78. A longtime attorney says Flynt died Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Flynt’s career began with Ohio strip clubs but in 1974 he founded Hustler, a hard-core skin magazine. In 1978, Flynt survived an assassination attempt, but was left paralyzed from the waist down.
LONDON (AP) – Royal Dutch Shell says it plans to eliminate seven refineries and reduce production of gasoline and diesel fuel by 55% over the next decade as it unveils new plans for reaching its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. Shell says the company’s oil production peaked in 2019 and is expected to decline by 1% to 2% annually. Critics say energy companies like Shell are moving too slowly to cut carbon emissions blamed for global warming amid a United Nations drive to limit temperature increases to no more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit over pre-industrial levels.