Asian stocks slip with eye on economic releases
SINGAPORE (AP) – Asian stocks are mostly falling ahead of more regional economic releases that could hint at how the delta variant is affecting growth.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.1% and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.2%. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and Shanghai slipped while that of Sydney rose. Japan and Thailand will report their economic growth for the second quarter next week. China will also release its industrial output and retail sales figures for July. This comes after the country’s services sector was shown to have rebounded ahead of a fresh COVID-19 wave.
Airbnb cuts 2Q loss to $68 million, COVID clouds forecast
UNDATED (AP) – Airbnb says it lost $68 million in the second quarter, but that’s smaller than losses it posted in the same quarter last year and in 2019. The company reported Thursday that its quarterly revenue was $1.34 billion, or 10% higher than in the same period during 2019, before the pandemic.
Still, the resurgence of COVID-19 infections is casting a shadow over the travel business. Airbnb says new variants of the virus will make bookings and cancellations harder to predict.
Airbnb’s business has picked up along with the recovery in travel that, at least in the U.S., began early this year as Americans began to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The San Francisco-based home-sharing company’s stock fell nearly 5% in extended trading.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW ORLEANS
New Orleans mayor: Good times can roll — with vaccines
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – People who want to go into bars, restaurants, gyms, music halls or other indoor venues in New Orleans will soon have to show proof of vaccination against the coronavirus or a recent negative test.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the new requirement Thursday. It’s the latest move to combat a coronavirus surge that has put major stress on Louisiana’s hospitals.
Cantrell said the requirement begins Monday, although there will be a one-week grace period before the city begins aggressive enforcement.
While New Orleans’ residents are getting vaccinated at slightly higher rates than the U.S. as a whole, the vaccination rate for the entire state is one of the worst in the country.
KANSAS CITY-SOUTHERN-BIDDING WAR
Kansas City Southern rejects new bid from Canadian Pacific
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Kansas City Southern railroad is trying to keep its $33.6 billion merger with Canadian National on track by rejecting a competing $31 billion bid from rival Canadian Pacific earlier this week.
Kansas City Southern said Thursday that its board unanimously decided to continue backing Canadian National’s higher offer. KCS shareholders are scheduled to vote whether to accept CN’s offer on Aug. 19.
The U.S. railroad said it may now delay that vote if the U.S. Surface Transportation Board doesn’t issue its decision on a key part of Canadian National’s acquisition plan before Tuesday.
Canadian Pacific officials argue that the acquisition would hurt competition across much of the central United States because those railroads operate parallel rail lines connecting the Gulf Coast to the Midwest.
Canadian National has said it believes it can address the competitive concerns through its operating plan and by selling 70 miles of track between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Kansas City Southern’s network directly overlaps with CN’s tracks.
The STB said earlier this week that it expects to issue its ruling on CN’s proposal by August 31.
Paroled Samsung heir apologies for causing public concern
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Embattled Samsung leader Lee Jae-yong apologized for causing public concern upon being paroled from prison with a year left on his sentence. He was serving time for crimes related to the corruption scandal that toppled South Korea’s previous president.
Lee’s release makes him just the latest in a long line of South Korean corporate bosses receiving lenient punishment for corruption and financial crimes.
Outside the prison, hundreds of demonstrators simultaneously shouted slogans denouncing or welcoming his release.
Lee’s case was part of a massive corruption scandal that triggered nationwide protests and led to the impeachment and ouster South Korea’s previous president, Park Geun-hye (goon-hay), who has been jailed since 2017 and won’t be released until 2039 if she fully serves her term.
Business leaders and key members of South Korea’s current government had endorsed Lee’s early release as beneficial to Samsung and the nation’s economy.