Global stocks up…WH to push fair home appraisals
TOKYO (AP) – Global shares have gained following a rally on Wall Street led by technology companies. Benchmarks rose in Paris, London and Frankfurt and shares advanced across Asia. U.S. futures fell and the dollar gained against the Japanese yen. Investors are watching what might happen at a NATO meeting and EU Summit Thursday in Europe, where sanctions and the Russian oil embargo will likely top the agenda. In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude added $1.14 to $110.41 a barrel. Brent, the international standard, rose $1.51 to $116.99 per barrel.
UNDATED (AP) – Vice President Kamala Harris will announce an action plan to stop racial discrimination in the appraisal of home values. That’s according to senior Biden administration officials who insisted on anonymity to discuss the administration’s action plan ahead of today’s announcement. The plan contains 21 steps to improve oversight and accountability, including a legislative proposal to modernize the governance structure of the appraisal industry. Appraisers help to determine the value of a home so buyers can receive a mortgage. An analysis by mortgage buyer Freddie Mac shows appraisers are more likely to undervalue homes in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. This form of discrimination widens the racial wealth gap.
BEIJING (AP) – Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp. says a U.S. judge has allowed a probation period to end after the company was nearly destroyed in a clash with Washington over its dealings with Iran and North Korea. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump barred ZTE’s access to American components amid rising tension with Beijing over technology and security. ZTE agreed to pay an additional $1 billion, replace its executives and be scrutinized by U.S.-appointed monitors to regain access to U.S. technology.
LONDON (AP) – Britain’s Treasury chief is pledging to respond to Russia’s war in Ukraine and a cost-of-living crisis hitting working families when he delivers his spring budget statement today. Rishi Sunak didn’t offer details on specific policy proposals but said Britain would continue its “unwavering” support for Ukraine and seek to strengthen the domestic economy to counter the threat posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sunak has come under increasing pressure to announce further measures to help consumers facing what one economist has called “the biggest year-on-year fall in household incomes in a generation.” Utility bills are set to rise by more than 50% in April, on top of a planned income tax increase and the biggest surge in inflation in decades.
CAIRO (AP) – The Egyptian pound has slipped further against the dollar, after Egypt’s Central Bank raised its main interest rate and devalued the local currency by 14%. Banks are selling the U.S. currency at more than 18.5 pounds while buying it at more than 18.45. That’s up from an average of 15.6 pounds for $1 before the central bank’s decisions on Monday. The moves by the Central Bank of Egypt came to face inflationary pressures triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which hiked oil prices to record highs.