Global stocks mixed…Trump’s Facebook fate
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets are mixed today in light trading while China and Japan are closed for holidays. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London advanced 1.2% while the DAX in Frankfurt rose 1.4%. The CAC 40 in France was 1% higher. In Asia, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed 0.5% lower. Wall Street futures are higher after the benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.7% on Tuesday, dragged down by more declines for tech stocks including Apple and Microsoft.
GENEVA (AP) – Ambassadors from World Trade Organization countries are set to discuss trade rules protecting the technological know-how behind COVID-19 vaccines. The WTO’s General Council’s agenda for a two-day meeting starting today includes a waiver on intellectual property protections for vaccines. South Africa and India first proposed the idea in October. It has gained support in the developing world and among some progressive lawmakers in the West as a way to help developing countries fight the pandemic. The proposal has faced resistance from many countries with influential pharmaceutical industries. The authors have been revising it in hopes of making it more palatable, but no consensus is expected to emerge from the meeting.
UNDATED (AP) – Former President Donald Trump will know his fate today on the world’s biggest social platform, Facebook. Since the day after the deadly Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, Trump’s social media accounts have been silent – muzzled for inciting violence using the platforms as online megaphones. Now Facebook’s quasi-independent Oversight Board will announce this morning whether Facebook must restore his account. If it rules in Trump’s favor, Facebook has seven days to reinstate the account. If the board upholds Facebook’s decision, Trump will remain “indefinitely” suspended. Either decision could lead to major repercussions for U.S. politics and regulation of social media.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Malaysian rubber maker Top Glove says it hopes to swiftly resolve a U.S. ban on its products due to allegations of forced labor after one of its shipments was seized at a U.S. port. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it had seized a shipment of 3.97 million nitrile disposable gloves from Top Glove – the world’s largest maker of rubber gloves – in Cleveland, Ohio. This followed a ban on Top Glove products as of March 29 based on various indicators of forced labor. Top Glove says the British consultancy Impactt Ltd. had verified in an report last month that the company had fixed those problems. Top Glove says U.S. CBP is reviewing a submission based on that report.
MILAN (AP) – The Stellantis automotive company is reporting a 14% increase in first-quarter revenues despite a drop in production due to the semiconductor shortage. Stellantis was created out of the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Peugeot. Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer says lost production due to the global chip shortage for the period was 190,000 vehicles, with the impact likely higher in the second quarter. Palmer says the impact is likely higher in the second quarter but “is still very controlled.” Nearly all automakers are struggling with the chip shortage from semiconductor makers switching their factories to more profitable consumer-electronics processors when automakers closed last year due to the pandemic.