Asian shares fall amid interest rate, earnings worries
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares have declined after U.S. stocks tumbled last week as global markets’ expectations for higher interest rates set the tone.
Benchmarks fell in Japan, South Korea and China today. Trading was closed in Australia for a national holiday.
Oil prices slipped about $4 per barrel and the U.S. dollar remained near 128 to the Japanese yen.
The news that Emmanuel Macron won the run-off French presidential election over the weekend, clinching a second term as was widely expected, reassured markets that France won’t abruptly shift course in the midst of the war in Ukraine.
Investors are also watching corporate profit reports.
China promotes coal in setback for efforts to cut emissions
BEIJING (AP) — China is promoting coal-fired power as the ruling Communist Party tries to revive a sluggish economy, prompting warnings that Beijing is setting back efforts to cut climate-changing carbon emissions from the biggest global source.
News reports say official plans call for boosting coal production capacity by 300 million tons this year. That is equal to 7% of last year’s output of 4.1 billion tons.
China is one of the biggest investors in wind and solar, but jittery leaders called for more coal-fired power after economic growth plunged and shortages caused blackouts and factory shutdowns.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine added to anxiety that foreign oil and coal supplies might be disrupted.
2 suspects sought as 100 die in Nigeria oil refinery blast
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) —A Nigerian oil official says as many as 100 people may have died in an explosion at an illegal oil refinery in southeastern Nigeria.
Two people suspected of involvement in the blast at the illegally run facility are being sought by police.
The Imo state commissioner for petroleum resources gave the death toll and said many victims died of severe burns. Although Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer of crude oil, its capacity has been limited by the chronic challenge of illegal refineries.
President Muhammadu Buhari called the explosion on Friday night a “catastrophe and a national disaster.” He later said he has directed security forces to clamp down on such illegal operations.
Beijing districts placed under lockdown as cases mount
BEIJING (AP) — China’s capital Beijing has begun mass testing and shutting down residential and business districts amid a new outbreak of COVID-19.
More than 40 cases have been found in the city of more than 21 million since the outbreak surfaced Friday. Residents are staying home and stocking up on food as a safeguard against the possibility that they could be confined to their homes, as has happened in multiple cities including the financial hub of Shanghai.
The central city of Anyang along with Dandong on the border with North Korea announced lockdowns as the omicron variant spread through China. The country’s borders remain largely closed as the pandemic’s economic impact and China’s hardline response continue to grow.
State TV says Iran foiled cyberattacks on public services
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s state television says authorities have foiled massive cyberattacks that sought to target public services, both government and privately owned.
The report late on Sunday says Iran thwarted the attacks that planned to target the infrastructure of more than 100 public sector agencies. It did not elaborate or name specific examples of public sector agencies, organizations or services but said the incidents happened in recent days.
The report says that unidentified parties behind the cyberattacks used Internet Protocols in the Netherlands, Britain and the United States.
Iran occasionally announces cyberattacks targeting the Islamic Republic as world powers struggle to revive a tattered nuclear deal with Tehran.
Spain vows to be transparent in probe of Pegasus spyware use
MADRID (AP) — Spanish authorities are pledging full transparency as they launch inquiries into the allegations that the phones of dozens of supporters of Catalan independence were hacked with controversial spyware only sold to government agencies.
Authorities announced an internal probe by the intelligence agency, a special parliamentary commission, and a separate investigation by Spain’s ombudsman to show transparency.
Catalonia’s separatist government says it was putting “on hold” relations with national authorities after cybersecurity experts in Canada revealed “massive political espionage.”
Citizen Lab said traces of Pegasus and other spyware by two Israeli companies were identified in devices of 65 people, including elected officials, activists, lawyers and European lawmakers.
Average US gasoline price drops 3 cents to $4.24 a gallon
CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The Lundberg Survey says the national average retail price of regular-grade gasoline dropped 3 cents in the past two weeks to $4.24 a gallon. According to the survey released Sunday, the total decline over six weeks now totals 19 cents a gallon, leaving the current price $1.27 above its year-ago point.
Mid-grade gasoline averaged $4.57 a gallon and premium averaged $4.83.
Nationwide, the highest average price for regular-grade gasoline in the April 22 survey was $5.71 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The lowest average was $3.70 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
‘Bad Guys’ bests ‘The Northman,’ Nick Cage at the box office
NEW YORK (AP) — On an unusually crowded weekend at movie theaters that featured a pricey Viking epic and Nicolas Cage playing himself, DreamWorks Animation’s “The Bad Guys” bested the field.
That signals a continued resurgence for family moviegoing after a downturn during the pandemic.
“The Bad Guys” debuted with $24 million in U.S. and Canada ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. That came despite steep competition for families from “Sonic The Hedgehog 2,” which stayed in second place with $15.2 million its third week of release.
The weekend’s other new releases — Robert Eggers’ “The Northman” and the Cage-starring “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” — didn’t do as well but still fared reasonably solid in their first weekend.