Stocks climbing…Biden, Manchin still can’t agree
UNDATED (AP) – Stocks have climbed in Europe and Asia, tracking Wall Street’s gains, after the Federal Reserve said it would accelerate its pullback of economic stimulus. In early trading, Germany’s DAX surged 1.8% and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 1.5%. The FTSE 100 gained 1.1%. In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index closed 2.1% higher and the Kospi in South Korea picked up 0.6%. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.8%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng clawed back from early losses, gaining 0.2%. Wall Street is expected to open higher, with S&P 500 futures up 0.6% and Dow futures up 0.5%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin are said to be sharply divided over Democrats’ huge social and environment bill, with the holdout senator pushing to erase the measure’s improved child tax credit. That word comes from a person familiar with the talks who described them on condition of anonymity. Manchin says there are “a lot of bad rumors” about his position. The rocky status of the talks is among the indications that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer faces a struggle just to begin debate on the massive measure before the holiday. Letting work on the legislation slip into next year would be an ominous sign about its prospects.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – The European Central Bank is facing a tough decision today. It’s caught between the scheduled end of its pandemic support program and growing worries that the new omicron variant of the coronavirus might set back hard-won progress in the economic recovery from the pandemic. Experts say the bank will probably confirm it will phase out its pandemic bond purchases but might keep at least some of that stimulus by moving purchases to another program.
LONDON (AP) – The Bank of England faces a difficult dilemma over whether to increase interest rates. Though consumer prices are rising at their fastest rate in a decade, the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus has stoked concerns over the economic recovery. As a result, the central bank is expected to err on the side of caution today and keep its main interest rate unchanged from a record-low 0.1%.
TOKYO (AP) – Japan says its exports jumped 20% and imports rose at an even faster pace in November as disruptions to manufacturing supply chains eased. Preliminary trade data shows imports surging nearly 44% from a year earlier as surging oil prices pushed costs sharply higher. The country logged a trade deficit as a result. Iron and steel exports jumped 88%, while exports of vehicles and other transport equipment rose 20%. Shipments of computer chips also revived, rising more than 20%.