Global stocks mixed…Suez ship partially refloating
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets are mixed today amid optimism about government stimulus and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.4% while Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.1%. The CAC 40 in Paris was up less than 0.1%. In Asian markets, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.5% higher, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 0.7% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was up less than 0.1%. On Wall Street, both Dow and S&P futures are down.
SUEZ, Egypt (AP) – Engineers have partially refloated the container ship that’s wedged across the Suez Canal. But the massive ship is still blocking traffic. The canal services firm says tugboats pushed and pulled the ship while the full moon’s tides raised the water level. Dredgers are also removing mud and sand around the ship. The skyscraper-sized Ever Given became stuck in the canal last Tuesday and has held up $9 billion in global trade each day.
BEIJING (AP) – China is announcing tax breaks to spur growth of its semiconductor industry. The move follows U.S. sanctions that cut off access to American processor chips for tech giant Huawei and some other companies. Communist leaders declared accelerating efforts to transform China into a self-reliant “technology power” this year’s top economic priority after the tariff war with Washington highlighted its reliance on U.S. components for smartphones and other tech industries Beijing wants to develop. The Finance Ministry and other agencies say chipmakers can import machinery and raw materials tax-free through 2030.
PARIS (AP) – A Paris court is expected to deliver its verdict today in a case that grew into one of France’s biggest modern health scandals. The court will rule whether the French pharmaceutical company Servier Laboratories is guilty of manslaughter and other charges for selling the diabetes drug Mediator. Mediator is blamed for hundreds of deaths. Servier is facing millions of euros in potential fines and damages after a huge trial involving 6,500 plaintiffs.
PRAGUE (AP) – Politicians and friends in the Czech Republic are paying tribute to Petr Kellner, the country’s richest man, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Alaska. He was 56. Kellner was one of five people, including the pilot, who died in the accident on Saturday. One person survived. Kellner was a majority owner of the PPF Group, an international investment company. His wealth was estimated by Forbes at $17.4 billion. PPF Group confirmed his death.