Global stock rise, Evergrande worries, Stellantis AI plan
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets have followed Wall Street higher as anxiety about the coronavirus’s latest variant eases. London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Shanghai advanced. Oil prices gained for a second day. Wall Street futures were higher after the chief White House medical adviser said the omicron variant might be less dangerous. That might allow travel and business restrictions to ease. Shares in airlines and cruise lines rose. Investors also are factoring mixed U.S. jobs data and the Federal Reserve’s plan to accelerate its withdrawal of stimulus to cool inflation pressures. The U.S. government is due to report November consumer inflation on Friday.
BEIJING (AP) – Global investors are watching nervously as one of China’s biggest real estate developers tries to avoid a default on its $310 billion mountain of debt. Evergrande Group, which is scrambling to turn assets into cash, rattled financial markets Friday when it warned it might run out of money. It said missing a payment on bonds or other debts might trigger an avalanche of demands to pay other debts immediately. Economists say ruling Communist Party can keep credit markets functioning but won’t bail out Evergrande, which the central bank accused of borrowing recklessly. They say that would be the wrong signal at a time when Beijing is trying to force companies to reduce dangerously high debt loads.
MILAN (AP) – Carmaker Stellantis announced a strategy today to embed AI-enabled software in 34 million vehicles across its 14 brands targeting $22.6 billion in annual revenues by 2030. CEO Carlos Tavares heralded the move as part of a strategy that would transform the car company into a “sustainable mobility tech company,” with business growth coming from over-the-air features and services. It includes key partnerships with BMW on autonomous driving, iPhone manufacturer Foxconn on customized cockpits and Waymo to expand their autonomous driving partnership into a light commercial vehicle delivery fleets.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The United Arab Emirates says that it is changing its official workweek to Monday to Friday, a change that will start next month. The UAE’s state-run WAM news agency said today that as of January, government employees would work a half-day on Friday, the traditional Islamic holy day, and then take Saturday and Sunday off. It marks a major change, allowing the UAE’s financial district to work Western hours when they had previously been closed. Until now, the official workweek in the UAE, as in much of the Middle East, was Sunday through Thursday.
BEIJING (AP) – China is accusing the U.S. of violating the Olympic spirit by announcing an American diplomatic boycott of February’s Beijing Winter Games. A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry came amid a barrage of Chinese criticism of the Biden administration’s announcement. The spokesperson called on the U.S. to stop “politicizing sports” and also vowed that China would respond with “firm countermeasures,” but gave no details. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that the administration will fully support U.S. athletes competing at the games but won’t dispatch U.S. officials or diplomats to attend. Psaki said the U.S. has a “fundamental commitment to promoting human rights” and that the U.S. “will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games.”