Stocks mixed … gov’t shutdown? … most expensive city
BEIJING (AP) – Global stocks and Wall Street futures are mixed as traders consider the possible impact of the coronavirus’s omicron variant. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.9% and the DAX in Frankfurt tumbled 1.4%. The CAC in Paris shed 1.2%. In Asian trading, the Shanghai Composite Index closed down less than 0.1% and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.6%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.6% and the Kospi in Seoul surged 1.6%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – OPEC and allied oil-producing countries are meeting under the spikey shadow of a new COVID-19 threat as they decide how much oil to pump to a world paying more for gasoline. Today’s online meeting is clouded by uncertainty over the omicron variant’s impact on the global economic recovery. Officials from OPEC countries, led by Saudi Arabia, and their allies, led by Russia, will decide whether to stick with pre-omicron plans for steady, modest monthly increases in oil releases or scale back those planned upticks. The fast-mutating variant has led countries to impose travel restrictions when it emerged late last week.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government could be heading for a temporary shutdown. Republicans in Congress are poised to stall a must-pass funding bill as they force a debate on rolling back the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for some workers. Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate want to take a hardline stand against the mandated vaccinations. Delays could cause a shutdown Friday that lasts through the weekend. But not all Republicans are on board, saying even a short stoppage of the federal government will not play well with the public.
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – Even Christmas trees aren’t immune to the pandemic-induced shortages and inflation plaguing the economy. Extreme weather and supply chain disruptions have reduced supplies of both real and artificial trees this season. Industry officials say American shoppers should expect to have fewer choices and pay up to 30% more for both types this Christmas.
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – What’s the most expensive international city in which to live? The Economist Intelligence Unit, a research group linked to the Economist magazine, says it’s Tel Aviv, Israel. Tel Aviv previously was ranked 5th most expensive, but it’s now surpassed other pricy places like Paris and Singapore. Economists attribute the jump to a strong appreciation of the shekel against the dollar. The Economist Intelligence Unit also points to a rise in grocery and transportation costs.