Stocks mostly higher, China on Evergrande debt, Amazon fine
BEIJING (AP) – Global stocks are mostly higher as investors wait for U.S. inflation data that might influence the Federal Reserve’s decision on when to roll back economic stimulus. London and Frankfurt opened higher while Tokyo declined. Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul also advanced. Wall Street futures were lower after U.S. stocks rose for a third day as anxiety about the coronavirus’s omicron variant eased. Traders are looking to Friday’s report of U.S. inflation for November for indications of whether the Federal Reserve will feel pressure to cool prices by rolling back stimulus. Fed officials said they were ready to act after inflation in October surged to a three-decade high.
BEIJING (AP) – China’s central bank governor says financial markets can cope with the impact of a real estate developer that is struggling to avoid defaulting on $310 billion in debt. Those comments to a Hong Kong seminar added to indications Beijing has no plans to bail out Evergrande Group. Fears of a default have rattled financial markets, but economists say the ruling Communist Party wants to avoid sending the wrong signal at a time when it is trying to force companies to cut high debt burdens.
MILAN (AP) – Italy’s anti-trust authority has fined Amazon $1.3 billion, accusing the company of exploiting its dominant position against independent sellers on its website in violation of European Union competition rules. Today’s fine is one of the largest leveraged in Europe against the online retail giant, which expanded in particular in Italy during a coronavirus lockdown that prevented residents from going to stores to buy items considered nonessential. Amazon said it “strongly disagreed” with the decision and would appeal.
LONDON (AP) – The European Union has unveiled plans to improve conditions for the growing number of gig economy workers that could reclassify some as employees who must earn benefits. It’s the latest setback for digital platforms that rely on independent contractors to deliver food and offer rides. The draft rules outlined Thursday by EU officials aim to clarify the labor status of people employed by app-based companies like Uber and Deliveroo. Uber says it’s committed to improving work conditions but worries about the EU proposal could put thousands of jobs at risk.
BANGKOK (AP) – The U.S. has ordered an arms embargo on Cambodia, citing deepening Chinese military influence, corruption and human rights abuses in the Southeast Asian country. The added restrictions on defense related goods and services, issued by the State and Commerce departments, are due to take effect today. The aim of the embargo is to ensure that defense-related items are not available to Cambodia’s military and military intelligence services without advance review by the U.S. government, it said.