Global stocks higher…Record inflation in euro countries
BEIJING (AP) – Global stocks are higher while China is closed for the Lunar New Year. London and Frankfurt opened higher. Tokyo, Sydney and India gained. Oil prices rose. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.7%, boosted by gains for energy and tech stocks in a late burst of buying. U.S. stocks are coming off their worst month since early in the pandemic nearly two years ago. Investors are trying to figure out how the economy and corporate profits will be affected by upcoming Federal Reserve rate hikes, intended to cool inflation that has surged to a four-decade high.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Inflation fed by high oil and gas prices hit record levels in Europe for the third month in a row. That’s extending pain for consumers and sharpening questions about future moves by the European Central Bank. European Union statistics agency Eurostat reports that the 19 countries using the euro currency saw consumer prices increase by an annual 5.1% in January. The figure broke records of 5% in December and 4.9% in November and was the highest since recordkeeping started in 1997.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Major oil-producing countries are deciding how much crude to pump to the world next month. Today’s decision will be closely watched because oil prices are at seven-year highs and have spiked fuel costs for heating, flying and driving. Fears of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine are adding to concerns about supply because Russia is a major oil producer and could be hit with sanctions by the U.S. and Europe. Analysts think the 23-member OPEC+ alliance will stick with its plan to add 400,000 barrels per day every month. That could support prices that are now just under $90 per barrel as some countries fall short on their share of output.
TOKYO (AP) – Sony says its profit for the quarter through December rose 11% on healthy sales from its film division, including the new Spider-Man movie. The Japanese electronics and entertainment company says its fiscal third quarter profit totaled 346 billion yen, or $3 billion. Sony says strong offerings in its music division, like the album “30” from Adele, films like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and licensing income from the “Seinfeld” series in its movies operations lifted earnings. Its imaging and sensor unit also posted solid results. But Sony said a parts supply crunch, especially of semiconductors, dented sales of its PlayStation 5 machine.
ASHKELON, Israel (AP) – A number of former Israeli leaders and security chiefs have found new careers in the country’s tightly controlled medical marijuana industry. They hope not only to cash in on the local market, but also to clear the way for the country’s major marijuana producers to export. Israel is home to dozens of firms that research and develop medical cannabis. But they say that regulatory hurdles are preventing them from selling their products to local and overseas markets.