World shares tumble…Pill said to treat COVID-19
UNDATED (AP) – Share prices have tumbled in Europe and Asia on the tail of Wall Street’s worst monthly loss since the beginning of the pandemic. The S&P 500 ended September down 4.8% Thursday, its first monthly drop since January and the biggest since March 2020. Today in early European trading, Germany’s DAX lost 0.8% and the CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.8%. London’s FTSE 100 declined 1%. In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 681.59 points. The Kospi in Seoul closed 1.6% lower. Shares also fell in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Dow and S&P 500 futures are lower.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Pharmaceutical company Merck says its experimental COVID-19 pill reduces hospitalizations and deaths by half in people recently infected with the coronavirus. The company says it will soon ask health officials in the U.S. and around the world to authorize its use. Merck’s drug would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19. The study results were released by the company and have not been peer reviewed. An independent group of medical advisers monitoring the trial recommended stopping it early because the interim results were so strong.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Action resumes today on Capitol Hill as Democrats try to reach a deal to salvage President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion government overhaul. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had pushed the House into session last night as Democratic leaders worked to negotiate a scaled-back plan centrist holdouts would accept. But it appeared no deal was within reach, especially with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who holds fast to his declaration that he’s willing to meet the president less than halfway.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – The European Union’s statistics agency says sharply higher oil and gas prices helped push annual inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro to its highest in more than a decade. Eurostat reports that inflation came in at 3.4% for September, up from 3.0% in August and more than the 3.3% expected by market analysts. Boosted by a jolting 17.4% increase in energy prices, the overall inflation level is the euro area’s highest since 2008. Core inflation, which excludes volatile fuel and food, was more modest at 1.9%. Higher prices for natural gas and electricity have spread concern among European governments, which are taking steps to limit rises in residential utility bills.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – A new currency with six fewer zeros is debuting in Venezuela, whose currency has been made nearly worthless by years of the world’s worst inflation. The highest denomination until now was a 1 million bolivar bill that was worth a little less than a quarter as of Thursday. The new currency in use starting today tops out at 100 bolivars, a little less than $25 – until inflation starts to eat away at that as well.