Global stocks mixed…EU, US steel dispute
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets are mixed today after surging new coronavirus cases in Thailand and Taiwan fueled disease fears and Chinese factory and consumer activity were weaker than expected. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.4% and Frankfurt’s DAX was off less than 0.1% The CAC in Paris shed 0.2%. In Asian markets, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.8% higher. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.9% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.6%. The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.6%. On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are off 0.2%.
PARIS (AP) – Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline’s potential COVID-19 vaccine triggered strong immune responses in all adult age groups in preliminary trials. The result boosts optimism the shot may join the fight against the pandemic this year. In trial results released today, participants showed neutralizing antibodies in line with those found in people who had recovered from the disease. The drugmakers say they plan to begin late-stage trials and production in the coming weeks and hope to win regulatory approval for the vaccine before the end of 2021. Regulators have already authorized a number of COVID-19 vaccines, though experts say more are needed.
HONG KONG (AP) – The Hong Kong stock exchange has halted trading of Next Digital shares at the media company’s request after assets belonging to its founder Jimmy Lai were frozen. Later today, the media tycoon and nine pro-democracy activists pleaded guilty to taking part in an unlawful assembly. Lai is already in prison for his role in two other unauthorized assemblies in 2019 when Hong Kong experienced mass anti-government protests. Next Digital publishes pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily, and Lai is its controlling shareholder.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union and the United States have decided to temporarily suspend measures at the heart of a steel tariff dispute that is seen as one of the major trade issues dividing the two sides. EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis says, with the decision, “we are walking the talk in our efforts to reboot the transatlantic relationship.” The issue goes back to the tariffs that then-President Donald Trump slapped on EU steel and aluminum, which enraged Europeans and other allies by calling their metals a threat to U.S. national security. President Joe Biden will meet with EU leaders in mid-June to discuss a new relationship.
MILAN (AP) – The rapidly rebounding U.S. economy is helping to accelerate recovery in the personal luxury goods market, which could reach pre-pandemic levels of sales as early as this year. A study by Bain & Co. consultancy says that the U.S., combined with China’s confirmed growth trajectory, could push sales of luxury apparel, jewelry, leather goods and beauty products to as high as 295 billion euros ($358 billion) this year. That is after they plunged from 281 billion in 2019 to 217 billion in the pandemic year of 2020, shedding six years of growth.