Global stocks mostly higher…Democrats not giving up
BEIING (AP) – Global stock markets have followed Wall Street higher after President Joe Biden reassured investors by calling for more vaccinations but no business or travel curbs in response to the omicron coronavirus variant. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London was off 0.2% while Frankfurt’s DAX added 1.4%. The CAC 40 in Paris rose 1.4%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed up less than 0.1% and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.1%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 1%. The Kospi in Seoul added 0.2%. On Wall Street, S&P 500 futures were off less than 0.1% and Dow futures are up less than 0.1%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden appears determined to return to the negotiating table with Sen. Joe Manchin. Biden says he and the West Virginia Democrat will, as Biden put it, “get something done.” The president’s remarks at the White House on Tuesday were his first since Manchin effectively tanked the party’s signature $2 trillion domestic policy initiative with his own jarring year-end announcement. Later in the evening Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also struck a determined tone, telling Senate Democrats on 90-minute video call to expect a vote in January on the package as they push toward a deal.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Russia’s natural gas pipeline to Europe is built and filling with gas. But the Nord Stream 2 pipeline still faces a rocky road ahead before the gas can flow to customers in Germany and Europe. First, the U.S. secretary of state has said gas won’t start if Russia launches military aggression against Ukraine. German officials are more cautious but say Russian aggression would carry high costs and sanctions. Even if it doesn’t come to that, Nord Stream 2 faces an extensive regulatory review and possible lawsuits after that from pipeline opponents such as Poland who say it gives Russia too much leverage over Europe.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – The world’s biggest shipping company, Denmark’s A.P. Moeller-Maersk, has acquired Hong Kong-based LF Logistics Holdings Limited in a $3.6 billion deal. Maersk executive Vincent Clerc says the deal will enable the company “to go deep into Asia, which is the fastest-growing market.” Maersk says it will acquire 100% of the shares. The deal is one of the Danish group’s biggest acquisitions ever and is subject to regulatory approval.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Hundreds of small business owners rallied in South Korea’s capital today, calling for the withdrawal of a curfew and tough coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, cafes, gyms and other facilities. The protesters pumped their fists in the air and chanted, “Guarantee the right to live!” and “Scrap restrictions on business operations!” No major violence or clashes with police erupted. On Saturday, South Korea reimposed its toughest social distancing rules to try to control a record-breaking surge of the coronavirus.