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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING : Stocks Slip as Markets -2-

06/17/2021 | 06:41am EDT

Passenger-car registrations in the European Union rose in May, but the number of cars sold remained well below the level recorded in May 2019, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said Thursday.

New car registrations--a reflection of sales--increased by 53% in May to 891,665 units, according to the association, also known as ACEA.

Turkey's Troubles Point to Emerging-Market Risks as Economies Recover

Early tightening of the Federal Reserve's policy could ripple across emerging markets that are dependent on the U.S. dollar. Prime among them is Turkey.

The Turkish lira has come under pressure in recent weeks as investors try to assess whether the country's central bank will heed the demands of its president to cut interest rates. But a rate cut could drag the lira down further at the same time that the country's high inflation rate is already diminishing the currency's buying power.

Israel-Hamas Tensions High as Gaza Militants Launch More Flaming Balloons

TEL AVIV-Palestinian militants in Gaza launched more flaming balloons into Israel on Wednesday, as a new round of violence between Israel and Hamas entered a second day and threatened to trigger another conflict.

Little-known militant groups in Gaza claimed responsibility for the arson attacks, which ignited four fires in agricultural zones in southern Israel, according to Israel's Fire and Rescue Authority.

Biden, Putin Discuss Prickly Issues During First Summit

GENEVA-President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to ease tensions during a high-profile summit, even as the Russian leader denied involvement in cyberattacks and Mr. Biden warned of significant consequences for future cyber-aggression or harm to jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

The summit, which took place in an 18th century villa overlooking Lake Geneva, came as both presidents have acknowledged that relations between the U.S. and Russia have reached a post-Cold War low in recent years. While the leaders expressed disagreements, they also offered measured assessments of each other, avoiding the heated rhetoric that has at times strained the bilateral relationship.

GLOBAL NEWS

Unemployment Claims Trend Closer to a Labor Market Normal

Worker filings for initial unemployment benefits have in recent weeks dropped closer to what economists consider a normal range as they have reached fresh pandemic lows, a sign Covid-19's impact on the labor market is continuing to recede as employers shed fewer workers.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended June 12 are projected to decline to a new pandemic low of 360,000, from 376,000 for the week earlier, according to economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal. The estimated decline comes as Covid-19 restrictions continue to wane. California, the state with the largest population, fully reopened its economy Tuesday.

Market-Beating China Fund Manager Favors Scooters and Spicy Sauce Over Tech

HONG KONG-Michelle Leung is used to standing out, as a China-focused stock picker who doesn't follow the crowd and as a top female professional in the male-dominated fund-management industry.

She is the founder of Xingtai Capital Management Ltd., a firm with offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai that oversees around $600 million in assets and counts institutions from the U.S., Europe and Asia as investors.

Green SPACs Struggle After Years of Success

SPACs and green companies were two of the hottest pandemic investments. Combining the two-green SPACs-has been even more profitable, but there is evidence this is changing.

Special-purpose acquisition companies that pledge to merge with renewable-energy, electric-vehicle and other sustainable businesses raised more than $120 billion since March 2020. SPACs, known as blank-check companies, raise cash from investors with the goal of buying a private company.

China's New Home Prices Remained Largely Stable in May

BEIJING-Home-price growth in China remained largely stable in May amid Chinese authorities' efforts to cool the market and tackle a buildup in developers' debt.

Average new home prices rose 4.47% in May from a year earlier, after a 4.45% increase in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

Wage Growth Target Still 'Way Off' Being Achieved, RBA Gov. Says

Australia's job market has tightened alongside a rapid economic recovery over recent quarters, but there is still no solid evidence that wages growth or inflation is heating up, Reserve Bank of Australia Gov. Philip Lowe said Thursday.

"For inflation to be sustainably in the 2-3% range, wage increases will need to be materially higher than they have been recently," Mr. Lowe told a farmers conference in Toowoomba, Queensland. "This still seems some way off,"

Hong Kong Police Arrest Newspaper Editor Under National Security Law

HONG KONG-National security police in Hong Kong arrested the top editor of a popular pro-democracy newspaper and searched the company's newsroom, in the most targeted action involving a media organization's journalistic operations yet in a yearlong crackdown on dissent.

Apple Daily's editor in chief, Ryan Law, was photographed on Thursday being led away in handcuffs by officers from his home in the Quarry Bay neighborhood. The raid was the latest in a series of moves against the newspaper group and its publisher, Jimmy Lai, a multimillionaire Beijing critic.

Biden, Putin Discuss Prickly Issues During First Summit

GENEVA-President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to ease tensions during a high-profile summit, even as the Russian leader denied involvement in cyberattacks and Mr. Biden warned of significant consequences for future cyber-aggression or harm to jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

The summit, which took place in an 18th century villa overlooking Lake Geneva, came as both presidents have acknowledged that relations between the U.S. and Russia have reached a post-Cold War low in recent years. While the leaders expressed disagreements, they also offered measured assessments of each other, avoiding the heated rhetoric that has at times strained the bilateral relationship.

Texas Governor Says State Will Build a Wall Along Border With Mexico

AUSTIN, Texas-The state will begin efforts to build its own wall along its border with Mexico, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday, saying the state was prompted to take action since President Biden has pulled back on former President Donald Trump's border wall plans.

The state will use an initial $250 million of state funds to explore how to build the wall. Mr. Abbott, a Republican, said building a wall along areas of the border that don't yet have one would allow state police to arrest and jail immigrants who cross it on trespassing charges. He said he would build more jails along the southern border to hold such people. States don't have authority to enforce federal immigration laws.

Trial of Scientist Accused of Hiding China Work Ends in Hung Jury

A federal judge ordered a mistrial Wednesday after a jury deadlocked over whether a former University of Tennessee scientist hid his work in Beijing in order to obtain U.S. government research grants.

The criminal trial of Anming Hu was the first after a series of arrests of researchers accused of concealing work in China while receiving American taxpayer-funded grants, and the outcome points to challenges that federal authorities face in trying to police scientific collaborations the U.S. says are boosting China's competitiveness.

Chinese Astronauts Sent Into Orbit to Staff Space Station

HONG KONG-Thirteen years after former fighter pilot Liu Boming participated in China's first spacewalk, the 54-year-old astronaut was sent into space again Thursday morning to notch another milestone as part of the first mission to staff the nation's new space station.

Mr. Liu and two other former members of the People's Liberation Army Air Force blasted off aboard Shenzhou-12-"Divine Vessel" in Chinese-with a Long March-2F carrier rocket from a launch center in northwest China.

Write to sarka.halas@wsj.com

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-17-21 0640ET

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