Global stocks and crude oil slowed advances made this week as fears over renewed tensions between Washington and Beijing outweighed hopes of more stimulus packages to support the world’s largest economies.
Hong Kong stocks tumbled on Friday after the Chinese government said it planned to impose national security legislation on the city, in the latest sign of how simmering geopolitical tensions have become a significant concern for investors.
Volkswagen has paid €9m in fines to close a case in which its chief executive and chairman were accused of market manipulation in the run-up to the Dieselgate scandal.
German prosecutors had charged Herbert Diess and Hans Dieter Pötsch for allegedly withholding information from shareholders about the existence of devices designed to defeat emissions tests, thus “unlawfully influencing the company’s share price”.
Shares in the German carmaker plunged more than 40 per cent after the scandal came to light in September 2015, wiping billions of euros from its market value.
"Both at the time of the indictment in September 2019 and today, the criminal law advisors and representatives of the company asserted that the accusations of the public prosecutor’s office against Mr Pötsch and Dr Diess are not founded," VW said in a statement.
It added that the VW's supervisory board had decided it was "in the best interest of the company for the proceedings to be terminated".
The Braunschweig prosecutor has not announced whether former boss Martin Winterkorn, who was also charged, has paid a similar fine.
Ovo, one of Britain’s three biggest energy suppliers, is to shed a third of its workforce as the coronavirus crisis forces it to speed up the integration of a business it acquired this year from rival SSE.
Global stocks surged as investors took heart that the gradual easing of lockdowns in Europe would stimulate global economic growth, while also drawing encouragement from a US trial for a Covid-19 vaccine.
Thyssenkrupp will transform from a sprawling conglomerate into a company with “the leanest possible holding”, the German industrial giant announced, as it unveiled a restructuring plan that could leave it with at least 20,000 fewer employees.
Wm Morrison said the precipitous decline in fuel sales at its supermarkets was affecting working capital and debt and that it would continue to defer any decision on special dividends until later in the year.
Wall Street rebounded from early losses on Monday after New York’s governor said parts of the state — which has been the epicentre of the US’s coronavirus outbreak — were ready to open and that other regions were “very close” behind.
The gulf between a buoyant Wall Street and withering Main Street, which has perplexed many investors for more than a month, was widened further on Friday by a rally in stocks despite the biggest decline in US payrolls on record.