BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Europe and Asia today after the S&P 500 index notched another record high despite a surge in U.S. consumer prices in May. In early trading, Germany’s DAX gained less than 0.1% and the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.4%. Britain’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.5%. In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index closed nearly unchanged, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.4%. The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.8%, while the Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.6%. On Wall Street, S&P 500 futures are flat and Dow futures are 0.1% higher.
CARBIS BAY, England (AP) — Leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are set to commit at their summit to share at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with struggling countries around the world. Half the doses will come from the U.S. and 100 million from the U.K. Vaccine sharing commitments from President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday set the stage for the G-7 meeting in England. Leaders today will pivot from opening greetings and a “family photo” directly into a session on “Building Back Better From COVID-19.” Biden says the leaders will “help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners.”
LONDON (AP) — The easing of lockdown restrictions in April helped the British economy grow at its fastest rate since July 2020 and recoup further ground lost during the coronavirus pandemic. The Office for National Statistics says the economy grew by 2.3% during April, when shops selling non-essential items reopened and service providers such as hairdressers resumed work. Despite the growth recorded in April, the British economy remained 3.7% smaller than it was in February 2020. Of the major sectors in the economy, only construction is above the level it was on the eve of the pandemic. The British economy is expected to regain more ground over the summer as remaining restrictions are lifted.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A private company that took over power transmission and distribution in Puerto Rico this month has struggled with widespread outages and growing anger. Officials say outages have affected more than 1 million customers so far this month as they scrambled to control a large fire at a main substation that left 700,000 clients in the dark. Several mayors have declared a state of emergency as they distributed ice and generators to those most in need. Many in Puerto Rico had hoped for a quick improvement in service, but clients complain it has gotten even worse in Luma’s first few days of operations — with problems complicated by heavy rains this week.
EL ZONTE, El Salvador — El Salvador’s congress made the bitcoin legal tender this week, but the country’s Pacific coast fishing village of El Zonte (ZAHN’-tay) has had the cryptocurrency in its economy for the past year. Some 500 fishing and farming families use bitcoin to buy groceries and pay utilities. That’s something the government envisions for the country at large. Bitcoin already was legal to use in El Salvador but its acceptance was voluntary, so the legislation passed late Tuesday now requires all businesses to accept payment in bitcoin. El Zonte’s mini bitcoin economy came about through an anonymous donor who started working through a local nonprofit group in 2019.