Global stocks mixed…H&M sees full-year sales up by 6%
BEIJING (AP) – Major global stock markets are mixed ahead of data on U.S. employment costs that might influence Federal Reserve decisions on interest rate hikes to cool inflation. London and Frankfurt opened lower today. Tokyo advanced while Shanghai and Hong Kong declined. Wall Street futures are mixed after U.S. stocks declined for a third day Thursday as investors tried to figure out how fast the Fed might raise interest rates. The Employment Cost Index is expected to show the price of American labor rose by about 1.2% over the previous quarter in the final three months of 2021.
TOKYO (AP) – Toyota says it’s working with Japan’s space agency on a vehicle to explore the lunar surface, with ambitions to help people live on the moon by 2040 and eventually live on Mars. The vehicle being developed with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is called Lunar Cruiser, whose name pays homage to the Toyota Land Cruiser sport utility vehicle. Its launch is set for the late 2020’s.
STOCKHOLM (AP) – Swedish low-cost fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz AB, known as H&M, says its net sales in local currencies have increased by 8% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $6 billion. That’s back at pre-pandemic level, with the full year net sales increasing by 6% to $21 billion. The Stockholm-based group says its Q4 gross profit increased by 14% to $3.3 billion while for the whole year it increased to $11 billion.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Malaysia’s AirAsia Group has changed the name of its listed holding company to Capital A to reflect the diversity of its business portfolio as it seeks to grow its non-airline revenue. Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes says the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed the group to accelerate plans to grow beyond the airline business to include logistics, aircraft engineering, venture capital, education and mobile applications for payments, travel and lifestyle. He says the company will become a “one-stop digital travel and lifestyle services group.”
BANGKOK (AP) – The International Labor Organization says about 1.6 million jobs were lost in Myanmar in 2021, with women suffering the biggest setbacks as work in factories, tourism and construction dwindled amid the pandemic and a military takeover. In a report issued today, the ILO says the country is facing a “multi-dimensional humanitarian crisis” as political turmoil, violence, insecurity and displacement have been heaped on top of the troubles from the coronavirus pandemic. Myanmar’s economy is estimated to have contracted by about 18% last year.