BANGKOK (AP) – World stocks were mixed today after Wall Street pulled back from recent record highs. In early trading, the German DAX rose 1% and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 1.8%. In London, the FTSE 100 rose 0.7%. In the Asian markets, the Nikkei in Tokyo closed 0.6% lower, while the Kospi in South Korea fell 1.1%. The Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1%, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong rose 0.9%. On Wall Street, the Dow futures rose 0.5% while the S&P 500 futures rose 0.3%.
UNDATED (AP) – President Joe Biden’s proposal for a global minimum corporate tax will be re-examined at a meeting of senior tax officials. The group of 20 ministers meeting in Venice is likely to sign the idea. But there are still questions that need to be resolved. Some European countries have not acceded to the agreement and could block wider European acceptance. And the EU itself is planning a digital levy, which has raised concerns in the US. Meanwhile, Biden faces opposition to the Republican proposal at home. The general purpose is to prevent smart bookkeeping from shifting profits to low tax countries.
LONDON (AP) – Official figures show that the UK economy continued to recover in May after further loosening of lockdown restrictions, although the surge was about half what economists expected. The National Statistics Bureau says the economy grew 0.8% in May. The growth was mainly driven by the service sector, which posted 0.9% growth after a number of hospitality, leisure and art businesses reopened on May 17th in England following the easing of restrictions. Despite growth, the UK economy remains 3.1% smaller than it was in February 2020, the month before the government first put lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus.
BEIJING (AP) – An industry group says China’s auto sales rose 27% year over year in the first half of 2021 but are still below pre-pandemic levels. Production and sales declined in June due to the global scarcity of processor chips. The Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers says sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans rose to 10 million in the largest market in global industry from January to June. Compared to the level before the pandemic in 2019, car sales fell by 1.4% in the first half of the year. Production declined 13.7% year over year in June while sales declined 11.1% to 1.6 million. The CAAM blamed the lack of chips.
DHAKA, Bangladesh (dpa) – According to the fire brigade, at least 49 people were killed in a fire in a food and beverage factory outside the capital of Bangladesh. The fire started Thursday evening in the five-story Hashem Food and Beverage Ltd. factory. in Rupganj, just outside of Dhaka. A fire officer says 49 bodies have been recovered from inside the factory and rescuers have not yet searched the top two floors. He says the main exit gate of the factory, which processes juices, soft drinks, and other foods, was locked from the inside.