Global shares mixed…Biden push for infrastructure plan
TOKYO (AP) – Global shares are mixed on cautious optimism that upcoming company earnings reports will reflect a gradual recovery from the damage of the pandemic. European indexes are down in early trading today while U.S. futures are little changed. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished higher in the first session after its Golden Week series of national holidays. Although the vaccine rollout is progressing slowly in Asia compared to the U.S. and Europe, the global recovery is raising hopes for improved exports and earnings of companies doing business overseas.
UNDATED (AP) – President Joe Biden will push the case for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan today in the reliably Republican state of Louisiana. Biden is directly challenging GOP lawmakers who say low taxes for corporations and the wealthy will fuel economic growth. A White House official says when Biden visits Louisiana, he will pose a basic question to voters about whether tax cuts for big companies and CEOs will make the country stronger than programs to bolster the middle class. The Democratic president plans to speak in the city of Lake Charles in front of a bridge that is 20 years past its designed lifespan.
UNDATED (AP) – European Union President Ursula von der Leyen says the 27-nation bloc is ready to talk about the U.S. proposal to share the technology behind COVID-19 vaccines to help speed the end of the pandemic. Without firmly committing to the U.S. proposal, von der Leyen says “we are ready to discuss how the U.S. proposal for waiver on intellectual property protection for COVID vaccines could help.” In a video address, she said that “In the short run, however, we call upon all vaccine producing countries to allow exports and to avoid measures.”
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Volkswagen’s earnings bounced back strongly in the first quarter. The company is riding the strong recovery from the pandemic in China. That’s its single biggest market these days. After-tax profit rose to 3.4 billion euros for the first quarter, up from around a half-million euros in the same quarter in 2020. Volkswagen says it has plenty of cash and is pressing ahead with new tech such as electric cars. Sales of battery and hybrid vehicles more than doubled during the first three months of the year to 133,000.
TOKYO (AP) – Nintendo’s says its profit for the fiscal year that ended in March jumped 86% on healthy sales of the Switch handheld machine as people staying at home due to the pandemic turned to video games. The Japanese maker of Super Mario and Pokemon games says its annual profit totaled 480.4 billion yen, or $4.4 billion. The results were better than the company’s internal forecast. In game software sales, demand remained strong for “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” with 20.85 million units sold. “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” also was popular. Nintendo says digital downloads for the Switch also did well.