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International Market Update
- European stocks closed higher Monday as investors digested a string of corporate news and the latest growth data from China. The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended the session up 0.8%, with media stocks leading the gains with a 1.9% rise, while most sectors and major bourses were in positive territory. Credit Suisse was embroiled in another scandal after its chief executive resigned after violating quarantine rules for the coronavirus.
- U.S. markets are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
- Asia-Pacific markets rose in morning trading today after a quiet day on Wall Street, where U.S. markets were closed for a holiday. Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Monday that a rapid rise in interest rates could derail the global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. “If major economies slam on the brakes or reverse their monetary policies, it would have serious negative repercussions,” Xi said via video conference at The Davos Agenda virtual event.
In International news
Unilever to pursue mega merger worth more than 50 billion pounds
Consumer goods giant Unilever has signalled it will press ahead with its acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) healthcare division. Unilever has already rejected a £50 billion offer, but said Monday that a takeover would be a “strong strategic fit.” GSK’s healthcare business includes brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste, Panadol and Centrum vitamins. Unilever, the maker of Marmite, PG Tips and Dove soap, wants a bigger share of the health and hygiene sector. “The acquisition would provide scale and a growth platform for the combined portfolio in the U.S., China and India, with further opportunities in other emerging markets,” Unilever said, pointing to synergies in oral care and vitamin products. Unilever did not say whether it will sweeten its rejected offer.
Amazon halts plan to block UK Visa credit cards amid talks
Amazon abandoned plans to block payments with U.K. Visa credit cards this week as the two sides continue to try to resolve a dispute over payment fees. “The anticipated change regarding the use of Visa credit cards on Amazon.co.uk will no longer take place on Jan. 19,” Amazon announced. Visa said it was “working closely to reach an agreement.” Amazon said last year that the cost of Visa payments was “a barrier” to providing the best prices to customers. Visa, however, accused Amazon of limiting consumer choice. “When consumer choice is limited, nobody wins,” Visa said. Neither company indicated when the talks might conclude.