Global stocks down…Overturned ship blocks Suez Canal
BEIJING (AP) – Global stocks fell today after Wall Street declined yesterday and European governments extended anti-coronavirus lockdowns, clouding the outlook for economic recovery. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.4% while Frankfurt’s DAX was up less than 0.1%. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.4%. In Asian markets, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.3% and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gave up 2%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 2.2%. The Kospi in South Korea retreated 0.3%. U.S. futures are modestly higher.
HONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong has suspended vaccinations using Pfizer shots after the Chinese distributor informed the city that one batch had defective bottle lids. The government says the suspension is immediate while the matter is investigated by Fosun Pharma and BioNTech, the German company that created the vaccine with American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer. They haven’t found any evidence the shots were unsafe but suspended their use as a precaution. The semi-autonomous territory of Macao also says its residents will not receive the Pfizer vaccinations from the same batch. More than 150,000 people in Hong Kong have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The suspension leaves only China’s Sinovac vaccine for use in Hong Kong.
TOKYO (AP) – Japanese automakers Toyota, Isuzu and Hino are forming a partnership in commercial vehicles to work together in electric, hydrogen, connected and autonomous driving technologies. Under the deal, Toyota, Japan’s top automaker, and truckmaker Isuzu Motors will each take a 4.6% stake in each other. Hino Motors is Toyota’s truck division and had been Isuzu’s rival. The three companies coming together control 80% of the Japanese truck market. The three-way cooperation is designed to reduce emissions by building hydrogen infrastructure, and to help solve Japan’s shortage of drivers by sharing information online and making deliveries more efficient.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – A massive cargo ship has turned sideways in Egypt’s Suez Canal, blocking traffic in a crucial East-West waterway for global shipping. Traffic on the narrow waterway dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula stopped Tuesday after the MV Ever Given got stuck. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the Ever Given to turn sideways, though authorities said winds were high in the area. None of its containers had sunk and no sailors were reportedly injured in the incident. Around 10% of the world’s trade flows through the waterway. An Egyptian official warns it could take at least two days to clear the ship.
BORDEAUX, France (AP) – Researchers in Bordeaux are releasing the preliminary results today of a dozen bottles of French wine that returned to Earth after a stay aboard the International Space Station. At a one-of-a-kind tasting this month, 12 connoisseurs sampled one of the space-traveled wines, blindly tasting it alongside a bottle from the same vintage that had stayed in a cellar. Hundreds of snippets of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines also went into space as part of a longer-term effort to make plants on earth more resilient to climate change and disease by exposing them to new stresses. Scientists also want to better understand the aging process, fermentation and bubbles in wine.