Business Highlights: Bank jitters in Europe; Wall St. gains


Deutsche Bank shares drop amid global jitters over banks

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Shares in Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest lender, have fallen sharply and dragged down major European banks as fears about the global financial system send fresh shudders through the market. Deutsche Bank closed down 8.5% on the German stock exchange Friday after falling as much as 14%. That followed a steep rise in the cost to insure bondholders against the bank defaulting on its debts, known as credit default swaps. The new turmoil in the global financial system comes after the collapse of two U.S. banks and a government-orchestrated takeover of Swiss lender Credit Suisse by rival UBS. Asked whether Deutsche Bank could be the next Credit Suisse, Scholz said, “There is no reason to worry.”


EU leaders play down bank risks as economy weakens

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders are playing down the risk of a banking crisis developing from recent global financial turmoil and hitting an already weak economy. The deliberations Friday by EU government heads in Brussels follow U.S. regulators shutting down two U.S. banks and a Swiss-orchestrated takeover of troubled lender Credit Suisse by rival UBS. The emergency actions on both sides of the Atlantic revived memories of the 2008 global financial meltdown and the ensuing EU sovereign debt crisis, which almost broke apart the euro currency now shared by 20 European countries. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says “the banking system is stable in Europe.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says “I think we are in good shape.”


Debt, expenses stress lower income households: AP-NORC poll

NEW YORK (AP) — A new AP-NORC poll shows that personal finances are a major source of stress for about half of the lower income households in the U.S.. The results illustrate the toll of high inflation and economic uncertainty on those who can least afford it. About half of U.S. adults in households earning less than $60,000 annually and about 4 in 10 of those in households earning $60,000 to $100,000 say they’re stressed by their personal finances. That compares with only about a quarter of those in higher income households. About three-quarters of adults across income groups say their household expenses are higher now than they were a year ago.


UK watchdog softens position on Microsoft Activision deal

LONDON (AP) — British antitrust regulators scrutinizing Microsoft’s blockbuster purchase of videogame maker Activision Blizzard have dropped concerns that the deal would hurt the console gaming market. The Competition and Markets Authority said Friday that it no longer thinks the $69 billion deal will result in a “substantial lessening of competition” for console games in the U.K. The watchdog was providing an update to provisional findings issued last month based on new evidence. The deal faces stiff opposition from rival Sony and is being examined by regulators in the U.S. and Europe. The U.K. watchdog is still investigating the deal’s impact on the cloud computing market.


Wall Street ends higher, marking 2nd winning week in a row

Stocks shook off a weak start and ended higher on Wall Street even as worries about banks on both sides of the Atlantic continue to weigh on markets. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% Friday, marking its second straight weekly gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite also rose. Treasury yields stabilized after an early drop. Markets have been turbulent recently on worries that banks are weakening under the pressure of much higher interest rates. That’s led to rising concerns about a recession and uncertainty about what central banks will do with interest rates going forward.


France bans TikTok, Twitter from government staff phones

PARIS (AP) — France says it’s banning the “recreational″ use of TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and other apps on government employees’ phones. It cited concern about insufficient data security measures. The move Friday follows similar restrictions on TikTok in democratic countries amid fears about the popular video-sharing app’s Chinese connections. But the French decision also encompassed other platforms that are widely used by government officials to communicate with the public. Exceptions will be allowed. Western governments worry Chinese authorities could force TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance Ltd., to hand over data on international users. The company’s CEO this week pushed back on assertions that TikTok or ByteDance are tools of the Chinese government.


Ford’s Tenn. plant could make 500K electric pickups a year

STANTON, Tenn. (AP) — Ford says its new assembly plant under construction in western Tennessee will be able to build up to 500,000 electric pickup trucks a year at full production. The automaker announced in September of 2021 that it would build the plant and a joint-venture battery factory on a 3,600-acre (1,460-hectare) parcel of land in rural Stanton, northeast of Memphis. Known as the Memphis Regional Megasite, the land designated by the state for industrial development sat unused for years before Ford decided to move in. Construction began last year. Ford has said it plans to start production by 2025. Ford says the assembly and battery plants will employ about 6,000 people with an investment of roughly $5.6 billion.


Chad nationalizes assets by oil giant Exxon, says government

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Chad’s government said it was nationalizing all assets from multinational oil giant, Exxon Mobil, including hydrocarbon and exploration permits. The nationalization of a private company means that all assets are now owned by the government. While this used to happen in the 1960s and 70s it hasn’t happened in a long time and doesn’t conform to the legalities of the sector, say energy experts. Chad began producing oil in 2003 and Exxon has been operating in country for several decades. It was running the Doba oil project in Chad of which it owned a 40% stake. Analysts say the move could scare away investors from West Africa at a time of growing global energy demand and a decline in foreign investments in the region.


The S&P 500 rose 22.27 points, or 0.6%, to 3,970.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 132.28 points, or 0.4%, to 32,237.53. The Nasdaq composite rose 36.56 points, or 0.3% to 11,823.96. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 14.63 points, or 0.9%, to 1,734.92.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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