FirstFT: Today’s top stories | Financial Times

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Energy groups must stop all new oil and gas exploration projects from this year if global warming is to be kept in check, the International Energy Agency said.

The proposal is part of a scenario outlined in a report on ways to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, a prerequisite to meet the Paris climate accord goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Aside from drastically cutting fossil fuel consumption, an unprecedented jump in spending on low carbon technologies would also be required — around $5tn in energy investments per year by 2030, up from about $2tn today, the report said. 

“We need a historical surge in investment,” said Fatih Birol, head of Paris-based IEA on Tuesday. “The bulk of it needs to be in clean energy.”

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Coronavirus digest

  • Lenders recouped far less from US companies that went bust during the pandemic than in previous economic downturns, a new report has revealed.

  • Joe Biden said his administration will send at least 20m doses of BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to other countries in the coming weeks.

  • Japan’s economic output fell 1.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, a drop of 5.1 per cent at an annualised rate, as a renewed Covid-19 state of emergency hit consumer spending.

  • The UK labour market turned a corner in the first quarter of 2021, with payroll employment rising, unemployment falling faster than expected and hiring accelerating in the run-up to the economy reopening.

  • Denmark will reopen almost completely on Friday and will phase out use of its domestic coronavirus passport and even face masks over the summer.

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In the news

Amazon in talks to acquire MGM The ecommerce giant is seeking to buy the film studio behind the James Bond franchise for about $9bn. MGM is one of the few Hollywood studios not to have been gobbled up in recent waves of media consolidation. News of Amazon’s interest in MGM comes a day after AT&T agreed to spin off and combine WarnerMedia with rival Discovery. Here’s how the WarnerMedia-Discovery plan emerged.

AT&T falls behind in streaming

Buffett dumps Wells Fargo shares Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sold the vast majority of its stake in Wells Fargo in the first quarter, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, unloading an investment that has been a staple of the conglomerate’s portfolio dating back to 1989.

Biden backs Israel-Palestinian ceasefire The US president for the first time expressed his support for a ceasefire in a call on Monday with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. European foreign ministers are due to hold crisis talks today as the death toll from the conflict rises above 200.

  • Go deeper: Katrina Manson, US foreign and defence correspondent, and Michael Peel, EU diplomatic correspondent, discuss how the US and Europe are responding to the Gaza conflict with presenter Marc Filippino in today’s FT News Briefing podcast.

EU and US signal trade detente The EU has agreed to shelve plans to boost tariffs on a range of US products as the two sides seek a resolution to a longstanding stand-off over the steel and aluminium sectors. Brussels said in a joint statement with the Biden administration that the EU and US had agreed to avoid changes that “negatively affect bilateral trade”. Sign-up to our Trade Secrets email for the latest international trade and globalisation.

US Supreme Court to hear challenge to Roe vs Wade The US Supreme Court will take up a big abortion case challenging Roe vs Wade, a move that stands to reignite long-simmering tensions over abortion rights in the US. The hearing is likely to take place in the autumn, with a ruling made in the spring or summer of 2022 — just before midterm elections next November.

Public opinion on abortion has been remarkably consistent in the decades since Roe vs Wade was decided © AFP via Getty Images

Chile votes for radicals to write new constitution Chile’s stock market dived on Monday after voters backed hard-left, radical and independent candidates to write the country’s new constitution, in a poll that largely shunned traditional parties of the left and right. The results of the weekend constituent assembly election defied forecasts of a moderate body.

The day ahead

Fed conference The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank will host a conference where Robert Kaplan, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve, will moderate a session on fostering a “resilient” economy. Former treasury secretary Larry Summers is also due to speak.

US housing data Housing starts rose to an almost 15-year high in March, boosted by low interest rates and a desire for larger living quarters during the pandemic, fuelling a rise in lumber prices. Economists have forecast a small step back in April. (FT, WSJ)

Walmart results The retailer kicks-off a big week for retail earnings. It is expected to post its slowest same-store sales growth since the start of the pandemic when it reports first-quarter results. If you missed it here’s your chance to read our recent look at the rivalry between Walmart and Amazon. It was part of a series on the Future of Retail.

Google gathering Sundar Pichai will speak at the search giant’s annual conference for software developers, where he is expected to address the issue of privacy.

Brazil’s pandemic inquiry Former foreign minister Ernesto Araújo testifies to the parliamentary inquiry into the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic by the government of Jair Bolsonaro.

A reminder that the FT has launched a new markets email. Written by US financial editor Robert Armstrong, ‘Unhedged’ will land in inboxes each weekday morning. Sign up here.

What else we’re reading

How social media is pumping penny stocks Hundreds of penny stocks traded privately, away from the main US stock markets, have had their own frenzied, social media-driven speculation this year, according to an FT investigation, often encouraged by social media accounts with cultish followings.

© FT Montage/Dreamstime

‘The economy needs more than neoliberal medicine’ Former dean of Columbia Business School and Republican adviser Glenn Hubbard tells the FT’s editor-at-large Gillian Tett why 1980s-style neoliberalism — or the mantra of Ronald Reagan — needs to be rethought for the 21st century. This is the latest in our Economists Exchange series, focusing on the pandemic and its impact of the global economy.

Disruption in the era of electric vehicles Foxconn, the Apple iPhone maker, is spearheading an assault by electronics groups on the auto industry and their push into electric vehicle manufacturing. An assault that could also make it easier for Apple, its largest customer, to enter the car market.

Netanyahu’s master plan has failed Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy may have increased the threat to his country by inadvertently opening up a new front within Israel itself, writes Gideon Rachman. That threat will remain, even after the pummelling of Gaza has stopped.

© James Ferguson

Net zero: from fringe to mainstream The world has rarely seen any environmental idea take off like the push to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, Pilita Clark writes. Yet for many businesses, the rush to net zero looks like a looming car crash. The FT launches today its inaugural listing of European companies that have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions intensity the most.

Hot in the City . . . the FT summer beauty guide From multitasking SPFs to new fragrances and neon nails, How To Spend It rounds up the best health and beauty advice for the summer.

© ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Podcast of the day

How can I change my money mindset? Thirty-two year-old project manager Rosie contacted Money Clinic as she kept making the same mistakes when it came to budgeting. With the help of Tim Harford, FT columnist and author, and blogger Ellie Austin-Williams, known online as This Girl Talks Money, the FT’s consumer editor Claer Barrett offers some advice.

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