Stocks gain…British economy slows…German jobless rate steady
BEIJING (AP) – Most global stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Friday on strong U.S. earnings as investors watched the inter-Korean summit. Futures point to opening gains on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to $68.00 per barrel. The dollar declined against the yen and the euro.
LONDON (AP) – Official figures show that the British economy slowed sharply in the first quarter of the year, growing by only 0.1 percent from the previous three-month period. The outcome released by the Office for National Statistics on Friday was worse than expected and largely due to a big decline in construction output. Growth was also at its lowest since the fourth quarter of 2012.
BERLIN (AP) – Government figures show Germany’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in April as the labor market in Europe’s largest economy stayed strong. The Federal Labor Agency said Friday that the unemployment rate remained at 5.3 percent when adjusted for seasonal factors. In real terms, the number of unemployed people dropped 74,358 for a total of 2.38 million jobless in April. That brought the unadjusted unemployment rate down to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent the previous month. Germany’s economy has been posting solid growth.
TOKYO (AP) – Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. reported a 12 percent rise in its January-March profit thanks to growing sales and cost cutting. Tokyo-based Honda said Friday it posted a January-March profit of 107.7 billion yen ($988 million), up from 95.9 billion yen a year earlier. That’s on sales of 3.9 trillion yen ($36 billion), up 4 percent. Honda, which makes the Odyssey minivan and Asimo robot, says the results were achieved despite some unfavorable currency moves. The company also suffered from costs related to a massive recall caused by faulty air-bag inflators made by Takata Corp.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Automaker Daimler AG saw first-quarter net profit fall 11 percent due to shifting currency exchange rates and one-time gains in the year-earlier quarter. But the company had stronger earnings from its Mercedes-Benz luxury car division and raised its profit forecast for the year, saying earnings will increase slightly even as it spends heavily on new technology. For the first quarter, net profit was 2.35 billion euros ($2.85 billion), down from 2.65 billion euros a year earlier.