European markets closed weaker on Friday. Investors are unsettled as countries take strict measures to combat the recent wave of Covid 19 infections. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 0.3% after starting the day higher. Europe’s banking index was among the weakest performers, falling 2.3% after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde. Germany announced further restrictions on unvaccinated people on Thursday after a fourth wave of cases reached a record high, before Austria announced on Friday that it would resume a full national lockdown.
U.S. stocks struggled on Friday as concerns about a resurgence of Covid-19 weighed on global markets, though tech shares gained. A string of excellent earnings reports from major retailers and strong U.S. retail data helped the broad market index fight rising inflation fears and gave it a boost as Covid worries surfaced. Airline stocks were among the worst performers. United Airlines fell 2.7%, while Delta slipped 1%. Boeing lost 5.7%. The setback in airline and tour operator stocks came about a week after the Biden administration lifted pandemic travel restrictions that had locked out many international visitors for nearly 20 months.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed today after China left its key interest rate unchanged. Investors were watching Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech companies Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com after they were among the companies fined by China’s market regulator for allegedly violating anti-monopoly laws.
Ford and Rivian cancel plans to jointly develop electric vehicle
Ford Motor and Rivian no longer plan to jointly develop an electric vehicle, the companies confirmed Friday. The two companies had originally announced plans to develop a joint vehicle when the automaker invested $500 million in Rivian in 2019. They later said it would be for Ford’s luxury brand, Lincoln before abandoning those plans last year. Ford said at the time that the automakers would continue to look for other ways to work together. Those plans are now off the table as well, according to Ford spokesman Ian Thibodeau. He said the company remains committed to Rivian, including a 12% stake in the startup, which was valued at more than $10 billion in the company’s initial public offering last week.
India’s fastest start-up to reach billion-dollar status is already profitable, says founder
Indian start-up Mensa Brands has achieved billion-dollar unicorn status in just six months and, rarer still, is already profitable, its founder told CNBC. The direct-to-consumer brand aggregator this week became the fastest company in India’s history to reach the coveted threshold after closing its Series B funding round with $135 million at a $1 billion valuation. The funding, which was led by Falcon Edge Capital, brings the total debt and equity raised to 300 million dollars. “In the first six months of our existence, we have already turned a profit and we continue to intend to run this company profitably,” founder Ananth Narayanan said.