World shares mostly lower…Disney 1Q profit falls
UNDATED (AP) – World shares are mostly lower today after Wall Street wobbled to a nearly flat finish Thursday, though the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite still logged record highs. Most Asian markets were closed to mark the Lunar New Year, but Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.1% lower. In early trading, Germany’s DAX lost 0.5%, the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.3% and Britain’s FTSE 100 declined 0.6%. Wall Street looks set for a slow start, with the Dow and S&P futures down 0.3%.
LONDON (AP) – Britain’s economy suffered its biggest decline on record last year as the coronavirus pandemic closed shops and restaurants and devastated the travel industry. But even as the Office for National Statistics said today that gross domestic product shrank 9.9% in 2020, there were signs of a rebound. The economy expanded 1% in the fourth quarter, a second consecutive quarter of growth.
NEW YORK (AP) – Amazon is facing the biggest unionization push in its history. And it’s happening in the unlikeliest of places: Alabama, a state with laws that don’t favor unions. For Amazon employees, a successful effort could motivate other workers to organize. But workers, who want more break times and to be treated with respect, have an uphill battle. A contract could take years, and Amazon has a history of crushing labor organizing. Mail-in voting started this week and will go on until the end of March. A majority of the 6,000 employees have to vote “yes” in order to unionize.
NEW YORK (AP) – The Walt Disney Co.’s net income fell sharply in its most-recent quarter. The coronavirus pandemic is still weighing heavily on many of the entertainment giant’s businesses, from theme parks to movies. Disney’s parks and resorts have been closed or operating at significantly reduced capacity since the second quarter of 2020. Its cruise ships have been suspended during that time as well. Live sporting events have been canceled and film and TV projects have been disrupted too. Disney said it expects coronavirus disruption to cost about $1 billion in fiscal 2021.
BEIJING (AP) – China has banned BBC World News from airing in China, a week after threatening to retaliate for the revocation of the British broadcasting license for China’s state-owned CGTN. The National Radio and Television Administration says BBC World News coverage of China had violated requirements that news reporting be true and impartial and undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity. The BBC already is generally not viewable in China outside of some hotels, businesses and residential compounds for foreigners. It wasn’t immediately clear if the ban would affect reception in those facilities. The Chinese government has criticized BBC reports on the COVID-19 pandemic in China and on allegations of forced labor and sexual abuse in the Xinjiang region.