Mixed markets…More than $1 trillion for US infrastructure?
BANGKOK (AP) – World shares are mixed, but Wall Street is expected to open higher. In early trading, Germany’s DAX lost 0.2% and the CAC 40 in Paris gave up 0.3%. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.1%. In Asian markets, the Nikkei closed higher. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.1%. The Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% lower. South Korea’s Kospi picked up 0.4%. Dow and S&P futures are each up 0.3%.
UNDATED (AP) – AstraZeneca says that its COVID-19 vaccine is strongly effective even after counting additional illnesses in its disputed U.S. study. The announcement late Wednesday was the latest in an extraordinary public rift with American officials. The drugmaker said it had recalculated data from that study and concluded the vaccine is 76% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, instead of the 79% it had reported earlier in the week. Just a day earlier, an independent panel that oversees the study had accused AstraZeneca of cherry-picking data to tout the protection offered by its vaccine. The panel said the company had left out some COVID-19 cases that occurred in the study, a move that could erode trust in the science.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says America’s infrastructure needs exceed $1 trillion and that other countries like China are pulling ahead. It’s a disparity that Buttigieg is calling “a threat to our collective future” in prepared remarks to Congress. Buttigieg is set to appear before a House panel today to sell lawmakers on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan. Congress just passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, but Buttigieg says spending on infrastructure is needed. In prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press, Buttigieg calls the coming months “the best chance in any of our lifetimes to make a generational investment in infrastructure.”
BEIJING (AP) – Chinese state TV is urging people to boycott H&M as Beijing blasts clothing and footwear brands following Western sanctions on Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. The ruling Communist Party criticized H&M for saying in March 2020 it would stop buying cotton from the northwestern Chinese region. The Swedish retailer and other brands have expressed concern about reports of forced labor there. China Central Television said on its social media account: “For enterprises that touch the bottom line of our country, the response is very clear: don’t buy!” The attacks follow a decision by the EU, the US, Britain and Canada to sanction four Chinese officials blamed for abuses in Xinjiang.
LONDON (AP) – The rainbow flag is flying proudly above the Bank of England in the heart of London’s financial district to commemorate World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, the new face of Britain’s 50-pound note. The design of the bank note, which is the most valuable in circulation, was unveiled today before it is formally issued on June 23, Turing’s birthday. The new note, which is laden with high-level security features, completes the bank’s rejig of its stable of paper currencies over the past few years. Turing, who played a pivotal role in breaking the Enigma code in World War II, was prosecuted for homosexuality after the war. He received a posthumous apology from the British government in 2009.