Global shares mostly higher…Call for climate change goals
TOKYO (AP) – Global shares have been mostly higher today with hopes growing for a global economic rebound despite surging coronavirus cases in many places. In early trading, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.3%, while Germany’s DAX edged up 0.2%. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell less than 0.1%. In Asian trading, Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.7% higher. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.5%. Wall Street is set for a slow start, with Dow futures up 0.1% and S&P futures up less than 0.1%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – More than 300 businesses and investors are calling on the Biden administration to set an ambitious climate change goal that would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. The target would nearly double the nation’s previous commitment and require dramatic changes in the power, transportation and other sectors. Those sending today’s letter to President Joe Biden calling for action include such giants as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. Biden is considering a range of options for expected carbon reductions by 2030 ahead of a virtual climate summit the United States is hosting later this month.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – The Australian government has decided against buying the single-dose Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine and has identified a second case of a rare blood clot likely linked to the AstraZeneca shot. The government had been in talks with the U.S. company but Health Minister Greg Hunt ruled out a J&J contract because its vaccine was similar to AstraZeneca’s. Australia has already contracted for 53.8 million doses of AstraZeneca’s two-dose vaccine. It also recently doubled its order with Pfizer and expects delivery late this year.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Volkswagen and Germany’s largest industrial union have agreed on a 23-month wage deal that provides a 1,000 euro bonus recognizing employee efforts during the coronavirus pandemic and a 2.3% wage increase in January 2022. The deal announced today covers 120,000 workers at six factories in Germany and people who work for Volkswagen’s financial services arm.. The company says it will pay out the one-time bonus in June. Volkswagen also agreed to offer 1,400 apprenticeships each year through 2025, to make a one-time contribution of 150 euros per worker to company pension plans, and to convert a performance-based salary component to a payment of 150 euros a month per worker.
LONDON (AP) – The U.K. economy grew 0.4% in February, rebounding from a sharp drop the previous month, as the rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines boosted confidence in a recovery from the pandemic. The Office for National Statistics says the expansion was led by a 1.3% increase in manufacturing output and a 1.6% boost in construction as most nonessential shops remained closed due to a nationwide lockdown. England marked the end of its third national lockdown on Monday with the reopening of gyms, hairdressers and nonessential shops. Pubs and restaurants also opened their doors, but only for outdoor service.