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Watch Live: Biden Promises US Will Develop Boosters Targeting Omicron Variant

Watch Live: Biden Promises US Will Develop Boosters Targeting Omicron Variant Update (1210ET): Asked by a reporter if the latest US travel restrictions on southern African countries might be premature, President Biden completely dodged the question, choosing instead to babble on about the US's program for sharing (ie selling) jabs to other countries, including South Africa, which Biden said is actually having trouble finding willing arms for all the jabs (even though the country's vaccination rate is 20%). At times, Biden turned to Dr. Fauci, who was present with him in the White House. He also denied he was calling on local officials to reinstate mask mandates, but said instead that he "encourages everyone" to wear masks in crowded indoor rooms. * * * President Biden is delivering remarks Monday on the omcron variant and the hysteria surrounding what researchers have warned could cause it to outmuscle delta. Watch live below: Biden commented on the variant over the weekend, and on Monday he joined Dr. Fauci by urging Americans not to panic, but insisted that those who haven't been vaccinated should make sure they get the jab, while those who have already been jabbed should make sure they get their boosters. Meanwhile, all the big vaccine makers are promising to produce a new jab set to protect specifically against this new variant, while urging all people to get their vaccines/boosters/another booster in the meaning. Biden's message is the same as Dr. Fauci's from earlier: Don't wait - get your shots now! And don't forget to wear your mask! Americans who have gotten all their shots, but are still afraid, need not worry, Biden said: because the White House would guarantee that its partners at Pfizer and elsewhere will develop new shots to target this variant, which hasn't infected that many people, especially when one considers the intensity of the global reaction. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 12:03.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 29th, 2021

Coronavirus links: the case for boosters

A coronavirus-focused linkfest is a weekly feature here at Abnormal Returns. Please stay safe, get a booster and at a vaccination site... OmicronOmicron is now well-established in the United States. (statnews.com)The risk of reinfection from the omicron seems to be higher than previous variants. (bloomberg.com)Five indicators to watch on Omicron including cases in S. Africa. (vox.com)How to interpret incoming Omicron data. (statnews.com)Moderna's ($MRNA) CEO is worried Omicron will be a challenge for existing vaccines. (ft.com)Vaccine makers are rushing to make Omicron-specific vaccines. (newatlas.com)Four big open questions about Omicron. (vox.com)Viral mutationHow did the Omicron variant get so many variations? (scientificamerican.com)Omicron seems to share some genetic material with the the virus that causes the common cold. (washingtonpost.com)Some researchers believe Omicron could have evolved in an animal host. (statnews.com)VaccinesWalgreens ($WBA) and CVS ($CVS) are struggling to keep up with Covid vaccine demand. (wsj.com)Pfizer's ($PFE) success has given it huge power, maybe too much. (ft.com)The J&J ($JNJ) vaccine may have an advantage in durability. (theatlantic.com)It could be the case that a longer interval between the first and second shots would be better. (wsj.com)Mixing-and-matching vaccine doses is fine. (nytimes.com)ChildrenMany southern states are lagging in child vaccinations. (washingtonpost.com)For children the risk from Covid complications is higher than that of myocarditis. (scientificamerican.com)BoostersThe CDC recommended that everyone 18 and older get a booster shot after completing a first course of Covid-19 vaccination. (wsj.com)A third dose greatly reduces risk vs. a two-dose regime. (newatlas.com)Omicron has turned booster skeptics around. (nytimes.com)Omicron likely won't wreck your booster. (theatlantic.com)What's holding back booster roll outs at nursing homes? (nytimes.com)Third doses trump masks. (marginalrevolution.com)Antibody treatmentsRegeneron ($REGN) Regen-Cov treatment is likely less effective against the Omicron variant. (biopharmadive.com)GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) believes its antibody therapy is effective against Omicron. (biopharmadive.com)AntiviralsWhy the two new antiviral treatments are a bigger deal than made out to be. (theatlantic.com)For antivirals to be effective, we are going to have to test a lot more. (nytimes.com)Virtual care companies are hoping to help those infected get antiviral treatments. (statnews.com)If HIV is the model, the development of antivirals will continue for awhile. (npr.org)How antivirals work to thwart Covid. (scientificamerican.com)Genomic sequencingUp until the last week U.S. labs were exclusively seeing Delta. (nytimes.com)Omicron shows the U.S. isn't doing enough genomic sequencing. (statnews.com)Access to genomic sequencing is uneven across the globe. (ft.com)TransmissionThe highest vaccinated U.S. counties show the lowest rates of death from Covid. (washingtonpost.com)Schools have seen lower transmission of other parts of society. (theatlantic.com)A New York City anime convention has the hallmarks of a superspreader event. (bloomberg.com)ResearchWhy will never eradicate the SARS-CoV2 virus. (quantamagazine.org)Having severe Covid doubles the risk of dying over the next year. (businessinsider.com)CountriesGermany is introducing new restrictions on the unvaccinated. (variety.com)China is sticking with its 'zero Covid' strategy especially in light of Omicron. (washingtonpost.com)Why Peru has the world's highest Covid death rate. (npr.org)Spain has had a successful vaccination campaign. It will be interesting to see how it plays out vs. Omicron. (nytimes.com)Anti-vaxxers are now targeting Australian politicians. (washingtonpost.com)PodcastsAndy Slavitt talks Omicron with epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina. (podcasts.apple.com)Derek Thompson talks Omicron with Dr. Peter Hotez. (theringer.com)PoliticsSome states are now effectively paying people not to get vaccinated. (washingtonpost.com)The state of Missouri found mask mandates worked but did not release the findings. (missouriindependent.com)Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 prior to a number of events including a debate with Joe Biden. (newyorker.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsCoronavirus links: viral evolution. (abnormalreturns.com)There's only one way through the pandemic tunnel. (abnormalreturns.com)Why we are eventually going to need digital health passes, i.e. vaccine passports. (abnormalreturns.com)The 'Swiss cheese model' and the importance of avoiding single points of failure in pandemic and life. (abnormalreturns.com)On the challenge of holding two competing thoughts on the pandemic in your head a the same time. (abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaWHO is still doing China's bidding. (epsilontheory.com)One woman's struggle with long Covid. (nytimes.com)On the joy of a negative Covid test. (williamfleitch.medium.com).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsDec 4th, 2021

Biden Promises US Will Develop Boosters Targeting Omicron Variant, Fauci Says New Lockdowns "Unlikely"

Biden Promises US Will Develop Boosters Targeting Omicron Variant, Fauci Says New Lockdowns "Unlikely" Update (1215ET): Asked by a reporter if the latest US travel restrictions on southern African countries might be premature, President Biden completely dodged the question, choosing instead to babble on about the US's program for sharing (ie selling) jabs to other countries, including South Africa, which Biden said is actually having trouble finding willing arms for all the jabs (even though the country's vaccination rate is 20%). At times, Biden turned to Dr. Fauci, who was present with him in the White House. He also denied he was calling on local officials to reinstate mask mandates, but said instead that he "encourages everyone" to wear masks in crowded indoor rooms. Biden also said that lockdowns are "off the table" - at least for now. "If people are vaccinated, and wear their masks, then there's no need for a lockdown." The people have been warned: everybody must get their boosters, or else. But how long will it be before the administration pivots once again, fixating on the next looming "variant of concern" even as a long-anticipated seasonal surge appears to have just began. And if the American people need more boosters and vaccines to get back to "normal", Biden said that he would do everything in his power to supply the shots (which Big Pharma is happy to provide - for a price). Dr. Fauci was there by the president's side during the statement and the Q&A, and dutifully followed the president back to the West Wing after Biden took only a small handful of questions from friendly reporters. During a pre-taped interview, ABC News spoke with Dr. Fauci for its "Good Morning America" program. While officials are bracing for the first confirmed US cases, Dr. Fauci insisted that he doesn't believe more lockdowns or other restrictions - aside from travel restrictions targeting south African nations - are imminent. "Obviously we're on high alert," Fauci, Biden's chief medical advisor, told ABC News. But when asked if other restrictions might be imminent, Dr. Fauci said "I don't think so at all". At least one other public official quoted by Reuters, NIH Director Dr. Fancis Collins, said Monday that vaccines appear to work against other COVID variants, and that "there's reason to be pretty optimistic here." Earlier on Monday, a US ban blocked most travelers from 8 south African countries in an effort to slow transmission and give experts more time to assess. With the Biden Administration already working with Pfizer and others to create new iterations of the vaccine targeted to focus on specific variants, Biden insisted that "this variant is a cause for concern not a cause for panic." * * * President Biden is delivering remarks Monday on the omcron variant and the hysteria surrounding what researchers have warned could cause it to outmuscle delta. Watch live below: Biden commented on the variant over the weekend, and on Monday he joined Dr. Fauci by urging Americans not to panic, but insisted that those who haven't been vaccinated should make sure they get the jab, while those who have already been jabbed should make sure they get their boosters. Meanwhile, all the big vaccine makers are promising to produce a new jab set to protect specifically against this new variant, while urging all people to get their vaccines/boosters/another booster in the meaning. Biden's message is the same as Dr. Fauci's from earlier: Don't wait - get your shots now! And don't forget to wear your mask! Americans who have gotten all their shots, but are still afraid, need not worry, Biden said: because the White House would guarantee that its partners at Pfizer and elsewhere will develop new shots to target this variant, which hasn't infected that many people, especially when one considers the intensity of the global reaction. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 12:03.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 29th, 2021

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con Authored by Julius Ruechel via Julius Ruechel.com, The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service) If a plumber with a lifetime of experience were to tell you that water runs uphill, you would know he is lying and that the lie is not accidental. It is a lie with a purpose. If you can also demonstrate that the plumber knows in advance that the product he is promoting with that lie is snake oil, you have evidence for a deliberate con. And once you understand what's really inside that bottle of snake oil, you will begin to understand the purpose of the con. One of the most common reasons given for mass COVID vaccinations is the idea that if we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we can starve the virus out of existence and get our lives back. It's the COVID-Zero strategy or some variant of it. By now it is abundantly clear from the epidemiological data that the vaccinated are able to both catch and spread the disease. Clearly vaccination isn't going to make this virus disappear. Only a mind that has lost its grasp on reality can fail to see how ridiculous all this has become.  But a tour through pre-COVID science demonstrates that, from day one, long before you and I had even heard of this virus, it was 100% inevitable and 100% predictable that these vaccines would never be capable of eradicating this coronavirus and would never lead to any kind of lasting herd immunity. Even worse, lockdowns and mass vaccination have created a dangerous set of circumstances that interferes with our immune system's ability to protect us against other respiratory viruses. They also risk driving the evolution of this virus towards mutations that are more dangerous to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. Lockdowns, mass vaccinations, and mass booster shots were never capable of delivering on any of the promises that were made to the public.  And yet, vaccination has been successfully used to control measles and even to eradicate smallpox. So, why not COVID? Immunity is immunity, and a virus is a virus is a virus, right? Wrong! Reality is far more complicated... and more interesting. This Deep Dive exposes why, from day one, the promise of COVID-Zero can only ever have been a deliberately dishonest shell game designed to prey on a lack of public understanding of how our immune systems work and on how most respiratory viruses differ from other viruses that we routinely vaccinate against. We have been sold a fantasy designed to rope us into a pharmaceutical dependency as a deceitful trade-off for access to our lives. Variant by variant. For as long as the public is willing to go along for the ride.  Exposing this story does not require incriminating emails or whistleblower testimony. The story tells itself by diving into the long-established science that every single virologist, immunologist, evolutionary biologist, vaccine developer, and public health official had access to long before COVID began. As is so often the case, the devil is hidden in the details. As this story unfolds it will become clear that the one-two punch of lockdowns and the promise of vaccines as an exit strategy began as a cynical marketing ploy to coerce us into a never-ending regimen of annual booster shots intentionally designed to replace the natural "antivirus security updates" against respiratory viruses that come from hugs and handshakes and from children laughing together at school. We are being played for fools.  This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other opportunists taking advantage of this crisis to pursue other agendas and to tip society into a full-blown police state. One thing quickly morphs into another. But this essay demonstrates that never-ending boosters were the initial motive for this global social-engineering shell game ― the subscription-based business model, adapted for the pharmaceutical industry. "Immunity as a service".  So, let's dive into the fascinating world of immune systems, viruses, and vaccines, layer by layer, to dispel the myths and false expectations that have been created by deceitful public health officials, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and media manipulators. What emerges as the lies are peeled apart is both surprising and more than a little alarming. “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”  - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Table of Contents:     Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication     SARS: The Exception to the Rule?     Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity     Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses     Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection     Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly     Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu     Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect     Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure     The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity     Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters     The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses     Introducing Immunity as a Service - A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)     The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again. *  *  * Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication Eradication of a killer virus sounds like a noble goal. In some cases it is, such as in the case of the smallpox virus. By 1980 we stopped vaccinating against smallpox because, thanks to widespread immunization, we starved the virus of available hosts for so long that it died out. No-one will need to risk their life on the side effects of a smallpox vaccination ever again because the virus is gone. It is a public health success story. Polio will hopefully be next ― we're getting close.  But smallpox is one of only two viruses (along with rinderpest) that have been eradicated thanks to vaccination. Very few diseases meet the necessary criteria. Eradication is hard and only appropriate for very specific families of viruses. Smallpox made sense for eradication because it was a uniquely human virus ― there was no animal reservoir. By contrast, most respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. COVID) come from animal reservoirs: swine, birds, bats, etc. As long as there are bats in caves, birds in ponds, pigs in mud baths, and deer living in forests, respiratory viruses are only controllable through individual immunity, but it is not possible to eradicate them. There will always be a near-identical cousin brewing in the wings. Even the current strain of COVID is already cheerfully jumping onwards across species boundaries. According to both National Geographic and Nature magazine, 40% of wild deer tested positive for COVID antibodies in a study conducted in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. It has also been documented in wild mink and has already made the species jump to other captive animals including dogs, cats, otters, leopards, tigers, and gorillas. A lot of viruses are not fussy. They happily adapt to new opportunities. Specialists, like smallpox, eventually go extinct. Generalists, like most respiratory viruses, never run out of hosts to keep the infection cycle going, forever. As long as we share this planet with other animals, it is extremely deceitful to give anyone the impression that we can pursue any scorched earth policy that can put this genie back in the bottle. With an outbreak on this global scale, it was clear that we were always going to have to live with this virus. There are over 200 other endemic respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus, many of which circulate freely between humans and other animals. Now there are 201. They will be with us forever, whether we like it or not. SARS: The Exception to the Rule? This all sounds well and good, but the original SARS virus did disappear, with public health measures like contact tracing and strict quarantine measures taking the credit. However, SARS was the exception to the rule. When it made the species jump to humans, it was so poorly adapted to its new human hosts that it had terrible difficulty spreading. This very poor level of adaptation gave SARS a rather unique combination of properties: SARS was extremely difficult to catch (it was never very contagious) SARS made people extremely sick. SARS did not have pre-symptomatic spread. These three conditions made the SARS outbreak easy to control through contact tracing and through the quarantine of symptomatic individuals. SARS therefore never reached the point where it circulated widely among asymptomatic community members.  By contrast, by January/February of 2020 it was clear from experiences in China, Italy, and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (more on that story later) that the unique combination of conditions that made SARS controllable were not going to be the case with COVID. COVID was quite contagious (its rapid spread showed that COVID was already well adapted to spreading easily among its new human hosts), most people would have mild or no symptoms from COVID (making containment impossible), and that it was spreading by aerosols produced by both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people (making contact tracing a joke). In other words, it was clear by January/February 2020 that this pandemic would follow the normal rules of a readily transmissible respiratory epidemic, which cannot be reined in the way SARS was. Thus, by January/February of 2020, giving the public the impression that the SARS experience could be replicated for COVID was a deliberate lie - this genie was never going back inside the bottle. Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity Once a reasonably contagious respiratory virus begins circulating widely in a community, herd immunity can never be maintained for very long. RNA respiratory viruses (such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses) all mutate extremely fast compared to viruses like smallpox, measles, or polio. Understanding the difference between something like measles and a virus like COVID is key to understanding the con that is being perpetrated by our health institutions. Bear with me here, I promise not to get too technical. All viruses survive by creating copies of themselves. And there are always a lot of "imperfect copies" — mutations — produced by the copying process itself. Among RNA respiratory viruses these mutations stack up so quickly that there is rapid genetic drift, which continually produces new strains. Variants are normal. Variants are expected. Variants make it virtually impossible to build the impenetrable wall of long-lasting herd immunity required to starve these respiratory viruses out of existence. That's one of several reasons why flu vaccines don't provide long-lasting immunity and have to be repeated annually ― our immune system constantly needs to be updated to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of countless unnamed "variants."  This never-ending conveyor belt of mutations means that everyone's immunity to COVID was always only going to be temporary and only offer partial cross-reactive protection against future re-infections. Thus, from day one, COVID vaccination was always doomed to the same fate as the flu vaccine ― a lifelong regimen of annual booster shots to try to keep pace with "variants" for those unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of a natural infection. And the hope that by the time the vaccines (and their booster shots) roll off the production line, they won't already be out of date when confronted by the current generation of virus mutations.  Genetic drift caused by mutations is much slower in viruses like measles, polio, or smallpox, which is why herd immunity can be used to control these other viruses (or even eradicate them as in the case of smallpox or polio). The reason the common respiratory viruses have such rapid genetic drift compared to these other viruses has much less to do with how many errors are produced during the copying process and much more to do with how many of those "imperfect" copies are actually able to survive and produce more copies.  A simple virus with an uncomplicated attack strategy for taking over host cells can tolerate a lot more mutations than a complex virus with a complicated attack strategy. Complexity and specialization put limits on how many of those imperfect copies have a chance at becoming successful mutations. Simple machinery doesn't break down as easily if there is an imperfection in the mechanical parts. Complicated high-tech machinery will simply not work if there are even minor flaws in precision parts. For example, before a virus can hijack the DNA of a host cell to begin making copies of itself, the virus needs to unlock the cell wall to gain entry. Cellular walls are made of proteins and are coated by sugars; viruses need to find a way to create a doorway through that protein wall. A virus like influenza uses a very simple strategy to get inside ― it locks onto one of the sugars on the outside of the cell wall in order to piggyback a ride as the sugar is absorbed into the cell (cells use sugar as their energy source). It's such a simple strategy that it allows the influenza virus to go through lots of mutations without losing its ability to gain entry to the cell. Influenza's simplicity makes it very adaptable and allows many different types of mutations to thrive as long as they all use the same piggyback entry strategy to get inside host cells. By contrast, something like the measles virus uses a highly specialized and very complicated strategy to gain entry to a host cell. It relies on very specialized surface proteins to break open a doorway into the host cell. It's a very rigid and complex system that doesn't leave a lot of room for errors in the copying process. Even minor mutations to the measles virus will cause changes to its surface proteins, leaving it unable to gain access to a host cell to make more copies of itself. Thus, even if there are lots of mutations, those mutations are almost all evolutionary dead ends, thus preventing genetic drift. That's one of several reasons why both a natural infection and vaccination against measles creates lifetime immunity ― immunity lasts because new variations don't change much over time.  Most RNA respiratory viruses have a high rate of genetic drift because they all rely on relatively simple attack strategies to gain entry to host cells. This allows mutations to stack up quickly without becoming evolutionary dead ends because they avoid the evolutionary trap of complexity.  Coronaviruses use a different strategy than influenza to gain access to host cells. They have proteins on the virus surface (the infamous S-spike protein, the same one that is mimicked by the vaccine injection), which latches onto a receptor on the cell surface (the ACE2 receptor) ― a kind of key to unlock the door. This attack strategy is a little bit more complicated than the system used by influenza, which is probably why genetic drift in coronaviruses is slightly slower than in influenza, but it is still a much much simpler and much less specialized system than the one used by measles. Coronaviruses, like other respiratory viruses, are therefore constantly producing a never-ending conveyor belt of "variants" that make long-lasting herd immunity impossible. Variants are normal. The alarm raised by our public health authorities about "variants" and the feigned compassion of pharmaceutical companies as they rush to develop fresh boosters capable of fighting variants is a charade, much like expressing surprise about the sun rising in the East. Once you got immunity to smallpox, measles, or polio, you had full protection for a few decades and were protected against severe illness or death for the rest of your life. But for fast-mutating respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, within a few months they are sufficiently different that your previously acquired immunity will only ever offer partial protection against your next exposure. The fast rate of mutation ensures that you never catch the exact same cold or flu twice, just their closely related constantly evolving cousins. What keeps you from feeling the full brunt of each new infection is cross-reactive immunity, which is another part of the story of how you are being conned, which I will come back to shortly.  Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses But let's pretend for a moment that a miraculous vaccine could be developed that could give us all 100% sterilizing immunity today. The length of time it takes to manufacture and ship 8 billion doses (and then make vaccination appointments for 8 billion people) ensures that by the time the last person gets their last dose, the never-ending conveyor belt of mutations will have already rendered the vaccine partially ineffective. True sterilizing immunity simply won't ever happen with coronaviruses. The logistics of rolling out vaccines to 8 billion people meant that none of our vaccine makers or public health authorities ever could have genuinely believed that vaccines would create lasting herd immunity against COVID. So, for a multitude of reasons, it was a deliberate lie to give the public the impression that if enough people take the vaccine, it would create lasting herd immunity. It was 100% certain, from day one, that by the time the last dose is administered, the rapid evolution of the virus would ensure that it would already be time to start thinking about booster shots. Exactly like the flu shot. Exactly the opposite of a measles vaccine. Vaccines against respiratory viruses can never provide anything more than a temporary cross-reactive immunity "update" ― they are merely a synthetic replacement for your annual natural exposure to the smorgasbord of cold and flu viruses. Immunity as a service, imposed on society by trickery. The only question was always, how long between booster shots? Weeks, months, years?  Feeling conned yet? Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection The current crop of COVID vaccines was never designed to provide sterilizing immunity - that's not how they work. They are merely a tool designed to teach the immune system to attack the S-spike protein, thereby priming the immune system to reduce the severity of infection in preparation for your inevitable future encounter with the real virus. They were never capable of preventing infection, nor of preventing spread. They were merely designed to reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you are infected. As former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is on Pfizer’s board, said: "the original premise behind these vaccines were [sic] that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials.” Every first-year medical student knows that you cannot get herd immunity from a vaccine that does not stop infection.  In other words, by their design, these vaccines can neither stop you from catching an infection nor stop you from transmitting the infection to someone else. They were never capable of creating herd immunity. They were designed to protect individuals against severe outcomes if they choose to take them - a tool to provide temporary focused protection for the vulnerable, just like the flu vaccine. Pushing for mass vaccination was a con from day one. And the idea of using vaccine passports to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated was also a con from day one. The only impact these vaccine passports have on the pandemic is as a coercive tool to get you to roll up your sleeve. Nothing more. Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly There are multiple interconnected parts to why immunity to COVID, or any other respiratory virus, is always only temporary. Not only is the virus constantly mutating but immunity itself fades over time, not unlike the way our brains start forgetting how to do complicated math problems unless they keep practicing. This is true for both immunity acquired through natural infection and immunity acquired through vaccination. Our immune systems have a kind of immunological memory ― basically, how long does your immune system remember how to launch an attack against a specific kind of threat. That memory fades over time. For some vaccines, like diphtheria and tetanus, that immunological memory fades very slowly. The measles vaccine protects for life. But for others, like the flu vaccine, that immunological memory fades very quickly. On average, the flu vaccine is only about 40% effective to begin with. And it begins to fade almost immediately after vaccination. By about 150 days (5 months), it reaches zero. Fading immunity after flu shot (Science, April 18th, 2019) The solution to this strange phenomenon lies in the different types of immune system responses that are triggered by a vaccine (or by exposure to the real thing through a natural infection). This has big implications for coronavirus vaccines, but I'll get to that in a moment. First a little background information... A good analogy is to think of our immune system like a medieval army. The first layer of protection began with generalists - guys armed with clubs that would take a swing at everything - they were good for keeping robbers and brigands at bay and for conducting small skirmishes. But if the attack was bigger, then these generalists were quickly overwhelmed, serving as arrow fodder to blunt the attack on the more specialized troops coming up behind them. Spearmen, swordsmen, archers, cavalry, catapult operators, siege tower engineers, and so on. Each additional layer of defense has a more expensive kit and takes ever greater amounts of time to train (an English longbowman took years to build up the necessary skill and strength to become effective). The more specialized a troop is, the more you want to hold them back from the fight unless it's absolutely necessary because they are expensive to train, expensive to deploy, and make a bigger mess when they fight that needs to be cleaned up afterwards. Always keep your powder dry. Send in the arrow fodder first and slowly ramp up your efforts from there. Our immune system relies on a similar kind of layered system of defense. In addition to various non-specific rapid response layers that take out the brigands, like natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, and so on, we also have many adaptive (specialized) layers of antibodies (i.e. IgA, IgG, IgM immunoglobulin) and various types of highly specialized white blood cells, like B-cells and T-cells. Some antibodies are released by regular B-cells. Others are released by blood plasma. Then there are memory B-cells, which are capable of remembering previous threats and creating new antibodies long after the original antibodies fade away. And there are various types of T-cells (again with various degrees of immunological memory), like natural killer T-cells, killer T-cells, and helper T-cells, all of which play various roles in detecting and neutralizing invaders. In short, the greater the threat, the more troops are called into the fight. This is clearly a gross oversimplification of all the different interconnected parts of our immune system, but the point is that a mild infection doesn't trigger as many layers whereas a severe infection enlists the help of deeper layers, which are slower to respond but are much more specialized in their attack capabilities. And if those deeper adaptive layers get involved, they are capable of retaining a memory of the threat in order to be able to mount a quicker attack if a repeat attack is recognized in the future. That's why someone who was infected by the dangerous Spanish Flu in 1918 might still have measurable T-cell immunity a century later but the mild bout of winter flu you had a couple of years ago might not have triggered T-cell immunity, even though both may have been caused by versions of the same H1N1 influenza virus. As a rule of thumb, the broader the immune response, the longer immunological memory will last. Antibodies fade in a matter of months, whereas B-cell and T-cell immunity can last a lifetime. Another rule of thumb is that a higher viral load puts more strain on your immune defenses, thus overwhelming the rapid response layers and forcing the immune system to enlist the deeper adaptive layers. That's why nursing homes and hospitals are more dangerous places for vulnerable people than backyard barbeques. That's why feedlot cattle are more vulnerable to viral diseases than cattle on pasture. Viral load matters a lot to how easily the generalist layers are overwhelmed and how much effort your immune system has to make to neutralize a threat. Where the infection happens in the body also matters. For example, an infection in the upper respiratory tract triggers much less involvement from your adaptive immune system than when it reaches your lungs. Part of this is because your upper respiratory tract is already heavily preloaded with large numbers of generalist immunological cells that are designed to attack germs as they enter, which is why most colds and flus never make it deeper into the lungs. The guys with the clubs are capable of handling most of the threats that try to make through the gate. Most of the specialized troops hold back unless they are needed. Catching a dangerous disease like measles produces lifetime immunity because an infection triggers all the deep layers that will retain a memory of how to fight off future encounters with the virus. So does the measles vaccine. Catching a cold or mild flu generally does not.  From an evolutionary point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense. Why waste valuable resources developing long-lasting immunity (i.e. training archers and building catapults) to defend against a virus that did not put you in mortal danger. A far better evolutionary strategy is to evolve a narrower generalist immune response to mild infections (i.e. most cold and flu viruses), which fades quickly once the threat is conquered, but invest in deep long-term broad-based immunity to dangerous infections, which lasts a very long time in case that threat is ever spotted on the horizon again. Considering the huge number of threats our immune systems face, this strategy avoids the trap of spreading immunological memory too thin. Our immunological memory resources are not limitless - long-term survival requires prioritizing our immunological resources. The take-home lesson is that vaccines will, at best, only last as long as immunity acquired through natural infection and will often fade much faster because the vaccine is often only able to trigger a partial immune response compared to the actual infection. So, if the disease itself doesn't produce a broad-based immune response leading to long-lasting immunity, neither will the vaccine. And in most cases, immunity acquired through vaccination will begin to fade much sooner than immunity acquired through a natural infection. Every vaccine maker and public health official knows this despite bizarrely claiming that the COVID vaccines (based on re-creating the S-protein spike instead of using a whole virus) would somehow become the exception to the rule. That was a lie, and they knew it from day one. That should set your alarm bells ringing at full throttle. So, with this little bit of background knowledge under our belts, let's look at what our public health officials and vaccine makers would have known in advance about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines when they told us back in the early Spring of 2020 that COVID vaccines were the path back to normality. From a 2003 study [my emphasis]: "Until SARS appeared, human coronaviruses were known as the cause of 15–30% of colds... Colds are generally mild, self-limited infections, and significant increases in neutralizing antibody titer are found in nasal secretions and serum after infection. Nevertheless, some unlucky individuals can be reinfected with the same coronavirus soon after recovery and get symptoms again." In other words, the coronaviruses involved in colds (there were four human coronaviruses before SARS, MERS, and COVID) all trigger such a weak immune response that they do not lead to any long-lasting immunity whatsoever. And why would they if, for most of us, the threat is so minimal that the generalists are perfectly capable of neutralizing the attack. We also know that immunity against coronaviruses is not durable in other animals either. As any farmer knows well, cycles of reinfection with coronaviruses are the rule rather than the exception among their livestock (for example, coronaviruses are a common cause of pneumonia and various types of diarrheal diseases like scours, shipping fever, and winter dysentery in cattle). Annual farm vaccination schedules are therefore designed accordingly. The lack of long-term immunity to coronaviruses is well documented in veterinary research among cattle, poultry, deer, water buffalo, etc. Furthermore, although animal coronavirus vaccines have been on the market for many years, it is well known that "none are completely efficacious in animals". So, like the fading flu vaccine profile I showed you earlier, none of the animal coronavirus vaccines are capable of providing sterilizing immunity (none were capable of stopping 100% of infections, without which you can never achieve herd immunity) and the partial immunity they offered is well known to fade rather quickly. What about immunity to COVID's close cousin, the deadly SARS coronavirus, which had an 11% case fatality rate during the 2003 outbreak? From a 2007 study: "SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years... SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."  (Bear in mind that, as with all diseases, re-infection does not mean you are necessarily going to get full-blown SARS; fading immunity after a natural infection tends to offer at least some level of partial protection against severe outcomes for a considerable amount of time after you can already be reinfected and spread it to others - more on that later.) And what about MERS, the deadliest coronavirus to date, which made the jump from camels in 2012 and had a fatality rate of around 35%? It triggered the broadest immune response (due to its severity) and also appears to trigger the longest lasting immunity as a result (> 6yrs) Thus, to pretend that there was any chance that herd immunity to COVID would be anything but short-lived was dishonest at best. For most people, immunity was always going to fade quickly. Just like what happens after most other respiratory virus infections. By February 2020, the epidemiological data showed clearly that for most people COVID was a mild coronavirus (nowhere near as severe than SARS or MERS), so it was virtually a certainty that even the immunity from a natural infection would fade within months, not years. It was also a certainty that vaccination was therefore, at best, only ever going to provide partial protection and that this protection would be temporary, lasting on the order of months. This is a case of false and misleading advertising if there ever was one. If I can allow my farming roots to shine through for a moment, I'd like to explain the implications of what was known about animal coronaviruses vaccines. Baby calves are often vaccinated against bovine coronaviral diarrhea shortly after birth if they are born in the spring mud and slush season, but not if they are born in midsummer on lush pastures where the risk of infection is lower. Likewise, bovine coronavirus vaccines are used to protect cattle before they face stressful conditions during shipping, in a feedlot, or in winter feed pens. Animal coronavirus vaccines are thus used as tools to provide a temporary boost in immunity, in very specific conditions, and only for very specific vulnerable categories of animals. After everything I've laid out so far in this text, the targeted use of bovine coronavirus vaccines should surprise no-one. Pretending that our human coronavirus vaccines would be different was nonsense.  The only rational reason why the WHO and public health officials would withhold all that contextual information from the public as they rolled out lockdowns and held forth vaccines as an exit strategy was to whip the public into irrational fear in order to be able to make a dishonest case for mass vaccination when they should have, at most, been focused on providing focused vaccination of the most vulnerable only. That deception was the Trojan Horse to introduce endless mass booster shots as immunity inevitably fades and as new variants replace old ones.  Now, as all the inevitable limitations and problems with these vaccines become apparent (i.e. fading of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccines proving to only be partially effective, the rise of new variants, and the vaccinated population demonstrably catching and spreading the virus ― a.k.a. the leaky vaccine phenomenon), the surprise that our health authorities are showing simply isn't credible. As I have shown you, all this was 100% to be expected. They intentionally weaponized fear and false expectations to unleash a fraudulent bait-and-switch racket of global proportions. Immunity on demand, forever. Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu At this point you may be wondering, if there is no lasting immunity from infection or vaccination, then are public health officials right to roll out booster shots to protect us from severe outcomes even if their dishonest methods to get us to accept them were unethical? Do we need a lifetime regimen of booster shots to keep us safe from a beast to which we cannot develop durable long-term immunity? The short answer is no.  Contrary to what you might think, the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses actually has several important benefits for us as their involuntary hosts, which protects us without the benefit of broad lifelong immunity. One of those benefits has to do with the natural evolution of the virus towards less dangerous variants. The other is the cross-reactive immunity that comes from frequent re-exposure to closely related "cousins". I'm going to peel apart both of these topics in order to show you the remarkable system that nature designed to keep us safe... and to show you how the policies being forced on us by our public health authorities are knowingly interfering with this system. They are creating a dangerous situation that increases our risk to other respiratory viruses (not just to COVID) and may even push the COVID virus to evolve to become more dangerous to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. There are growing signs that this nightmare scenario has already begun.  “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."  - President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Let's start with the evolutionary pressures that normally drive viruses towards becoming less dangerous over time. A virus depends on its host to spread it. A lively host is more useful than a bedridden or dead one because a lively host can spread the virus further and will still be around to catch future mutations. Viruses risk becoming evolutionary dead ends if they kill or immobilize their hosts. Plagues came, killed, and then were starved out of existence because their surviving hosts had all acquired herd immunity. Colds come and go every year because their hosts are lively, easily spread the viruses around, and never acquire long-lasting immunity so that last year's hosts can also serve as next year's hosts ― only those who have weak immune systems have much to worry about. In other words, under normal conditions, mutations that are more contagious but less deadly have a survival advantage over less contagious and more deadly variations. From the virus' point of view, the evolutionary golden mean is reached when it can easily infect as many hosts as possible without reducing their mobility and without triggering long-term immunity in most of their hosts. That's the ticket to setting up a sustainable cycle of reinfection, forever. Viruses with slow genetic drift and highly specialized reproductive strategies, like polio or measles, can take centuries or longer to become less deadly and more contagious; some may never reach the relatively harmless status of a cold or mild flu virus (by harmless I mean harmless to the majority of the population despite being extremely dangerous to those with weak or compromised immune systems). But for viruses with fast genetic drift, like respiratory viruses, even a few months can make a dramatic difference. Rapid genetic drift is one of the reasons why the Spanish Flu stopped being a monster disease, but polio and measles haven't. And anyone with training in virology or immunology understands this!  We often speak of evolutionary pressure as though it forces an organism to adapt. In reality, a simple organism like a virus is utterly blind to its environment — all it does is blindly produce genetic copies of itself. "Evolutionary pressure" is actually just a fancy way of saying that environmental conditions will determine which of those millions of copies survives long enough to produce even more copies of itself.  A human adapts to its environment by altering its behaviour (that's one type of adaptation). But the behaviour of a single viral particle never changes. A virus "adapts" over time because some genetic copies with one set of mutations survive and spread faster than other copies with a different set of mutations. Adaptation in viruses has to be seen exclusively through the lens of changes from one generation of virus to the next based on which mutations have a competitive edge over others. And that competitive edge will vary depending on the kinds of environmental conditions a virus encounters. So, fear mongering about the Delta variant being even more contagious leaves out the fact that this is exactly what you would expect as a respiratory virus adapts to its new host species. We would expect new variants to be more contagious but less deadly as the virus fades to become just like the other 200+ respiratory viruses that cause common colds and flus.  That's also why the decision to lock down the healthy population is so sinister. Lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing rules reduced spread among the healthy population, thus creating a situation where mutations produced among the healthy would become sufficiently rare that they might be outnumbered by mutations circulating among the bedridden. Mutations circulating among the healthy are, by definition, going to be the least dangerous mutations since they did not make their hosts s.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

Futures Tread Water With Traders Spooked By Spike In Yields

Futures Tread Water With Traders Spooked By Spike In Yields After futures rose to a new all time high during the Tuesday overnight session, the mood has been decided more muted after yesterday's sharp rates-driven tech selloff, and on Wednesday U.S. futures were mixed and Nasdaq contracts slumped as investors once again contemplated the effect of expected rate hikes on tech stocks with lofty valuations while waiting for the release of Federal Reserve minutes at 2pm today. At 730am, Nasdaq 100 futures traded 0.3% lower amid caution over the impact of higher yields on equity valuations, S&P 500 Index futures were down 0.1%, while Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge traded near a record high. The dollar weakened, as did bitcoin, while Brent crude rose back over $80. “The sharp rise in U.S. yields this week has sparked a move from growth to value,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific. “Wall Street went looking for the winners in an inflationary environment and as a result, loaded up on the Dow Jones at the expense of the Nasdaq.” Concerns related to the pandemic deepened as Hong Kong restricted dining-in, closed bars and gyms and banned flights from eight countries including the U.S. and the U.K. to slow the spread of the omicron variant. Meanwhile, a selloff in technology stocks extended to Asia, where the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbled as much as 4.2%, sending the gauge toward a six-year low. Traders are now caught in a quandary over deepening fears on global growth combined with a faster tightening by the Federal Reserve. “Earlier we thought that rate hikes wouldn’t be on the table until mid-2022 but the Fed seems to have worked up a consensus to taper faster and hike sooner rather than later,” Steve Englander, head of global G-10 FX research at Standard Chartered, said in a note. “But we don’t think inflation dynamics will support continued hiking. We suspect the biggest driver of asset markets will be when inflation and Covid fears begin to ebb.” Data on Tuesday showed mixed signs on U.S. inflation. Prices paid by manufacturers in December came in sharply lower than expected. However, figures showing a faster U.S. job quit rate added to concerns over wage inflation. With 4.5 million Americans leaving their jobs in November, compared with 10.6 million available positions, the odds increased the Fed will struggle to influence the employment numbers increasingly dictated by social reasons. The data came before Friday’s monthly report from the Labor Department, currently forecast to show 420,000 job additions in December. In premarket trading, tech giants Tesla, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices were among the worst performers. Pfizer advanced in New York premarket trading after BofA Global Research recommended the stock. Shares of Chinese companies listed in the U.S. extended their decline after Tencent cut its stake in gaming and e-commerce company Sea, triggering concerns of similar actions at other firms amid Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the technology sector. Alibaba (BABA US) falls 1.2%, Didi (DIDI US) -1.8%. Here are the other notable premarket movers: Shares in electric vehicle makers fall in U.S. premarket trading, set to extend Tuesday’s losses, amid signs of deepening competition in the sector. Tesla (TSLA US) slips 1.1%, Rivian (RIVN US) -0.6%. Beyond Meat (BYND US) shares jump 8.9% premarket following a CNBC report that Yum! Brands’ KFC will launch fried chicken made with the company’s meat substitute. Recent selloff in Pinterest (PINS US) shares presents an attractive risk/reward, with opportunities for the social media company largely unchanged, Piper Sandler writes in note as it upgrades to overweight. Stock gains 2.3% in premarket trading. Senseonics Holdings (SENS US) shares rise 15% premarket after the medical technology company said it expects a U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision in weeks on an updated diabetes- monitoring system. MillerKnoll (MLKN US) shares were down 3.1% in postmarket trading Tuesday after reporting fiscal 2Q top and bottom line results that missed analysts’ estimates. Annexon (ANNX US) was down 23% postmarket Tuesday after results were released from an experimental therapy for a fatal movement disorder called Huntington’s disease. Three patients in the 28- person trial discontinued treatment due to drug-related side- effects. Wejo Group (WEJO US) shares are up 34% premarket after the company said it’s developing the Wejo Neural Edge platform to enable intelligent handling of data from vehicles at scale. Smart Global (SGH US) falls 6% postmarket Tuesday after the computing memory maker forecast earnings per share for the second quarter. The low end of that forecast missed the average analyst estimate. Beyond Meat (BYND) shares surge premarket after CNBC KFC launch report UBS cut the recommendation on Adobe Inc. (ADBE US) to neutral from buy, citing concerns over the software company’s 2022 growth prospects. Shares down 2% in premarket trading. Oncternal Therapeutics (ONCT US) shares climb 5.1% premarket after saying it reached consensus with the FDA on the design and major details of the phase 3 superiority study ZILO-301 to treat mantle cell lymphoma. In Europe, the energy, chemicals and car industries led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index up 0.2% to near an all-time high set on Tuesday. The Euro Stoxx 50 rises as much as 0.6%, DAX outperforms. FTSE 100 lags but rises off the lows to trade up 0.2%. Nestle dropped 2.4%, slipping from a record, after Jefferies cut the Swiss food giant to underperform. Utilities were the worst-performing sector in Europe on Wednesday as cyclical areas of the market are favored over defensives, while Uniper and Fortum fall following news of a loan agreement.  Other decliners include RWE (-2.4%), Endesa (2.1%), Verbund (-1.3%), NatGrid (-1.2%), Centrica (-1.2%). Earlier in the session, technology shares led a decline in Asian equity markets, with investors concerned about the prospects of higher interest rates and Tencent’s continued sale of assets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 0.6%, the most in two weeks, dragged down by Tencent and Meituan. The rout in U.S. tech spilled over to Asia, where the Hang Seng Tech Index plunged 4.6%, the most since July, following Tencent’s stake cut in Singapore’s Sea. Declines in tech and other sectors in Hong Kong widened after the city tightened rules to curb the spread of the omicron variant. Most Asian indexes fell on Wednesday, with Japan an exception among major markets as automakers offered support. The outlook for tighter monetary policy in the U.S. and higher Treasury yields weighed on the region’s technology shares, prompting a rotation from growth to value stocks.   Read: China Tech Selloff Deepens as Tencent Sale Spooks Traders Asian equities have underperformed U.S. and European peers amid slower recoveries and vaccination rates in the past year. With omicron rapidly gaining a foothold in Asia, there is a risk of “any further restriction measures, which could cloud the services sector outlook, along with disruption to supply chains,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a strategist at IG Asia Pte.  Philippine stocks gained as trading resumed following a one-day halt due to a systems glitch. North Korea appeared to have launched its first ballistic missile in about two months, just days after leader Kim Jong Un indicated that returning to stalled nuclear talks with the U.S. was a low priority for him in the coming year. India’s key equity gauges posted their longest run of advances in more than two moths, driven by a rally in financial stocks on hopes of revival in lending on the back of capex spending in the country. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.6% to 60,223.15 in Mumbai, its highest since Nov. 16, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 0.7%. Both benchmarks stretched their winning run to a fourth day, the longest since Oct. 18. All but six of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. climbed, led by a gauge of banking firms. “I believe from an uncertain, volatile environment, the Nifty is now headed for a directional move,” Sahaj Agrawal, a head of derivative research at Kotak Securities, writes in a note. The Nifty 50 crossed a significant barrier of the 17,800 level and is now expected to trade at 19,000-19,500 level in the medium term, Agrawal added. HDFC Bank contributed the most to the Sensex’s gain, increasing 2.4%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex, 18 rose, while 12 fell In FX, Bloomberg Dollar Spot index slpped 0.2% back toward Tuesday’s lows, falling as the greenback was weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers, SEK and JPY are the best performers in G-10, CAD underperforms. Scandinavian currencies and the yen led gains, though most G-10 currencies were trading in narrow ranges. Australia’s dollar reversed an Asia-session loss in European trading. The yen rebounded from a five-year low as investors trimmed short positions on the haven currency and amid a decline in Asian stock markets. Treasuries were generally flat in overnight trading, with the curve flatter into early U.S. session as long-end outperforms, partially unwinding a two-day selloff to start the year with Tuesday witnessing a late block sale in ultra-bond futures. 10-year yields traded as high as 1.650% ahead of the US open after being mostly flat around 1.645%; yields were richer by up to 2bp across long-end of the curve while little change from front-end out to belly, flattening 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 0.5bp and 1.8bp; gilts outperformed in the sector by half basis point. Focus expected to continue on IG issuance, which has impacted the market in the past couple of days, and in U.S. afternoon session FOMC minutes will be released. IG dollar issuance slate includes EIB $5B 5-year SOFR and Reliance Ind. 10Y/30Y/40Y; thirteen borrowers priced $23.1b across 30 tranches Tuesday, making it the largest single day volume for U.S. high-grade corporate bonds since first week of September. European peripheral spreads widen to core. 30y Italy lags peers, widening ~2bps to Germany with order books above EU43b at the long 30y syndication. Ten-year yields shot up 8bps in New Zealand as its markets reopened following the New Year holiday. Aussie yields advanced 4bps. A 10-year sale in Japan drew a bid-cover ratio of 3.46. In commodities, crude futures were range-bound with WTI near just below $77, Brent nearer $80 after OPEC+ agreed to revive more halted production as the outlook for global oil markets improved, with demand largely withstanding the new coronavirus variant. Spot gold puts in a small upside move out of Asia’s tight range to trade near $1,820/oz. Base metals are mixed. LME nickel lags, dropping over 2%; LME aluminum and lead are up ~0.8%.  Looking at the day ahead, data releases include the December services and composite PMIs from the Euro Area, Italy, France, Germany and the US. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s December report of private payrolls from the US, the preliminary December CPI report from Italy, and December’s consumer confidence reading from France. Separately from the Federal Reserve, we’ll get the minutes of the December FOMC meeting. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,783.25 MXAP down 0.4% to 193.71 MXAPJ down 0.9% to 626.67 Nikkei up 0.1% to 29,332.16 Topix up 0.4% to 2,039.27 Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 22,907.25 Shanghai Composite down 1.0% to 3,595.18 Sensex up 0.7% to 60,300.47 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,565.85 Kospi down 1.2% to 2,953.97 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.1% to 494.52 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.09% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1304 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $79.72/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,819.73 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.13% to 96.13 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The U.S. yield curve’s most dramatic steepening in more than three months has little to do with traders turning more optimistic on the economy or betting on a more aggressive timetable for raising interest rates The surge in euro-area inflation that surprised policy makers in recent months is close to its peak, according to European Central Bank Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau Some Bank of Japan officials say it’s likely the central bank will discuss the possible ditching of a long-held view that price risks are mainly on the downward side at a policy meeting this month, according to people familiar with the matter Turkish authorities are keeping tabs on investors who are buying large amounts of foreign currency and asked banks to deter their clients from using the spot market for hedging-related trades as they struggle to contain the lira’s slide Italy is trying to lock in historically low financing costs at the start of a year where inflationary and political pressures could spell an end to super easy borrowing conditions North Korea appears to have launched its first ballistic missile in about two months, after leader Kim Jong Un indicated he was more interested in bolstering his arsenal than returning to stalled nuclear talks with the U.S. A More detailed breakdown of overnight news from Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities traded mostly in the red following the mixed handover from Wall Street, where the US majors maintained a cyclical bias and the NDX bore the brunt of another sizeable Treasury curve bear-steepener. Overnight, US equity futures resumed trade with mild losses and have since been subdued, with participants now gearing up for the FOMC minutes (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite) ahead of Friday’s US jobs report and several scheduled Fed speakers. In APAC, the ASX 200 (-0.3%) was pressured by its tech sector, although the upside in financials cushioned some losses. The Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was kept afloat by the recent JPY weakness, whilst Sony Group rose some 4% after its chairman announced EV ambitions. The KOSPI (-1.2%) was dealt a blow as North Korea fired a projectile that appeared to be a ballistic missile, but this landed outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Hang Seng (-1.6%) saw its losses accelerate with the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbling over 4% as the sector tackled headwinds from Wall Street alongside domestic crackdowns. China Huarong Asset Management slumped over 50% as it resumed trade following a nine-month halt after its financial failure. The Shanghai Comp. (-1.0%) conformed to the mostly negative tone after again seeing a hefty liquidity drain by the PBoC. In the debt complex, the US T-note futures held a mild upside bias since the resumption of trade, and the US curve was somewhat steady. Participants also highlighted large short-covering heading into yesterday’s US close ahead of the FOMC minutes. Top Asian News Asian Stocks Slide as Surging Yields Squeeze Technology Sector China’s Growth Forecast Cut by CICC Amid Covid Outbreaks BOJ Is Said to Discuss Changing Long-Held View on Price Risks Gold Holds Gain With Fed Rate Hikes and Treasury Yields in Focus European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.1%) trade mixed in what has been a relatively quiet session thus far with the final readings of Eurozone services and composite PMIs providing little in the way of fresh impetus for prices. The handover from the APAC region was predominantly a soft one with Chinese bourses lagging once again with the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbling over 4% as the sector tackled headwinds from Wall Street alongside domestic crackdowns. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Comp. (-1%) conformed to the mostly negative tone after again seeing a hefty liquidity drain by the PBoC. Stateside, the ES and RTY are flat whilst the NQ lags once again after yesterday bearing the brunt of another sizeable treasury curve bear-steepener. In terms of house views, analysts at Barclays expect “2022 to be a more normal yet positive year for equities, looking for high single-digit upside and a broader leadership”. Barclays adds that it remains “pro-cyclical (Industrials, Autos, Leisure, reopening plays and Energy OW), and prefer Value to Growth”. Elsewhere, analysts at Citi stated that “monetary tightening may push up longer-dated nominal/real bond yields, threatening highly rated sectors such as IT or Luxury Goods. Alternatively, higher yields could help traditional value trades such as UK equities and Pan-European Financials”. Sectors in Europe are mostly higher, with auto names leading as Renault (+3.4%) sits at the top of the CAC, whilst Stellantis (+0.6%) has seen some support following the announcement that it is planning for a full battery-electric portfolio by 2028. Elsewhere, support has also been seen for Chemicals, Oil & Gas and Banking names with the latter continuing to be supported by the current favourable yield environment. To the downside, Food and Beverage is the clear laggard amid losses in Nestle (-2.6%) following a broker downgrade at Jefferies. Ocado (+5.5%) sits at the top of the Stoxx 600 after being upgraded to buy at Berenberg with analysts expecting the Co. to sign further deals with new and existing grocery e-commerce partners this year. Finally, Uniper (-2.4%) sits near the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after securing credit facilities totalling EUR 10bln from Fortum and KfW. Top European News U.K. Weighs Dropping Covid Test Mandate for Arriving Travelers German Energy Giant Uniper Gets $11 Billion for Margin Calls European Gas Extends Rally as Russian Shipments Remain Curbed Italian Inflation Hits Highest in More Than a Decade on Energy In FX, notwithstanding Tuesday’s somewhat mixed US manufacturing ISM survey and relatively hawkish remarks from Fed’s Kashkari, the week (and year) in terms of data and events really begins today with the release of ADP as a guide for NFP and minutes of the December FOMC that confirmed a faster pace of tapering and more hawkish dot plots. As such, it may not be surprising to see the Buck meandering broadly and index settling into a range inside yesterday’s parameters with less impetus from Treasuries that have flipped from a severe if not extreme bear-steepening incline. Looking at DXY price action in more detail, 96.337 marks the top and 96.053 the bottom at present, and from a purely technical perspective, 96.098 remains significant as a key Fib retracement level. JPY/EUR/AUD/GBP/NZD - All taking advantage of the aforementioned Greenback fade, and with the Yen more eager than others to claw back lost ground given recent underperformance. Hence, Usd/Jpy has retreated further from multi-year highs and through 116.00 to expose more downside potential irrespective of latest reports via newswire sources suggesting the BoJ is expected to slightly revise higher its inflation forecast for the next fiscal year and downgrade the GDP outlook for the year ending in March. Similarly, the Euro is having another look above 1.1300 even though EZ services and composite PMIs were mostly below consensus or preliminary readings and German new car registrations fell sharply, while the Aussie is retesting resistance around 0.7250 and its 50 DMA with some assistance from firm copper prices, Cable remains underpinned near 1.3550 and the 100 DMA and the Kiwi is holding mainly above 0.6800 in the face of stronger Aud/Nzd headwinds. Indeed, the cross is approaching 1.0650 in contrast to Eur/Gbp that is showing signs of changing course following several bounces off circa 0.8333 that equates to 1.2000 as a reciprocal. CHF/CAD - The Franc and Loonie appear a bit less eager to pounce on their US peer’s retrenchment, as the former pivots 0.9150 and latter straddles 1.2700 amidst a downturn in crude pre-Canadian building permits and new house prices. SCANDI/EM - Little sign of any fallout from a slowdown in Sweden’s services PMI as overall risk sentiment remains supportive for the Sek either side of 10.2600 vs the Eur, but the Nok is veering back down towards 10.0000 in line with slippage in Brent from Usd 80+/brl peaks reached on Tuesday. Elsewhere, the Zar is shrugging off a sub-50 SA PMI as Gold strengthens its grip on the Usd 1800/oz handle and the Cnh/Cny are still underpinned after another PBoC liquidity drain and firmer than previous midpoint fix on hopes that cash injections might be forthcoming through open market operations into the banking system from the second half of January to meet rising demand for cash, according to China's Securities Journal. Conversely, the Try has not derived any real comfort from comments by Turkey’s Finance Minister underscoring its shift away from orthodox policies, or insistence that budget discipline will not be compromised. In commodities, crude benchmarks are currently little changed but have been somewhat choppy within a range shy of USD 1/bbl in European hours, in-spite of limited fresh newsflow occurring. For reference, WTI and Brent reside within USD 77.26-76.53/bbl and USD 80.25-79.56/bbl parameters respectively. Updates for the complex so far include Cascade data reporting that gas flows via the Russian Yamal-Europe pipeline in an eastward direction have reduced. As a reminder, the pipeline drew scrutiny in the run up to the holiday period given reverse mode action, an undertaking the Kremlin described as ‘operational’ and due to a lack of requests being placed. Separately, last nights private inventories were a larger than expected draw, however, the internals all printed builds which surpassed expectations. Today’s EIA release is similar expected to show a headline draw and builds amongst the internals. Elsewhere, and more broadly, geopolitics remain in focus with Reuters sources reporting that a rocket attack has hit a military base in proximity to the Baghdad airport which hosts US forces. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are once again fairly contained though the yellow metal retains the upside it derived around this point yesterday, hovering just below the USD 1820/oz mark. US Event Calendar 7am: Dec. MBA Mortgage Applications -5.6%, prior -0.6% 8:15am: Dec. ADP Employment Change, est. 410,000, prior 534,000 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 56.9 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Services PMI, est. 57.5, prior 57.5 2pm: Dec. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap As you may have seen from my CoTD yesterday all I got for Xmas this year was Omicron, alongside my wife and two of our three kids (we didn’t test Bronte). On Xmas Day I was cooking a late Xmas dinner and I suddenly started to have a slightly lumpy throat and felt a bit tired. Given I’d had a couple of glasses of red wine I thought it might be a case of Bordeaux-2015. However a LFT and PCR test the next day confirmed Covid-19. I had a couple of days of being a bit tired, sneezing and being sniffly. After that I was 100% physically (outside a of bad back, knee and shoulder but I can’t blame that on covid) but am still sniffly today. I’m also still testing positive on a LFT even if I’m out of isolation which tells me testing to get out of isolation early only likely works if you’re completely asymptomatic. My wife was similar to me symptom wise. Maybe slightly worse but she gets flu badly when it arrives and this was nothing like that. The two kids had no real symptoms unless being extremely annoying is one. Indeed spending 10 days cooped up with them in very wet conditions (ie garden activity limited) was very challenging. Although I came out of isolation straight to my home office that was still a very welcome change of scenery yesterday. The covid numbers are absolutely incredible and beyond my wildest imagination a month ago. Yesterday the UK reported c.219k new cases, France c.272k and the US 1.08 million. While these are alarming numbers it’s equally impressive that where the data is available, patients on mechanical ventilation have hardly budged and hospitalisations, while rising, are so far a decent level below precious peaks. Omicron has seen big enough case numbers now for long enough that even though we’ve had another big boost in cases these past few days, there’s nothing to suggest that the central thesis shouldn’t be anything other than a major decoupling between cases and fatalities. See the chart immediately below of global cases for the exponential recent rise but the still subdued levels of deaths. Clearly there is a lag but enough time has passed that suggests the decoupling will continue to be sizeable. It seems the main problem over the next few weeks is the huge number of people self isolating as the variant rips through populations. This will massively burden health services and likely various other industries. However hopefully this latest wave can accelerate the end game for the pandemic and move us towards endemicity faster. Famous last words perhaps but this variant is likely milder, is outcompeting all the others, and our defences are much, much better than they have been (vaccines, immunity, boosters, other therapeutic treatments). Indeed, President Biden directed his team to double the amount of Pfizer’s anti-covid pill Paxlovid they order; he called the pill a game changer. So a difficult few weeks ahead undoubtedly but hopefully light at the end of the tunnel for many countries. Prime Minister Boris Johnson noted yesterday that Britain can ride out the current Omicron wave without implementing any stricter measures, suggesting that learning to live with the virus is becoming the official policy stance in the UK. The head scratcher is what countries with zero-covid strategies will do faced with the current set up. If we’ve learnt anything from the last two years of covid it is that there is almost no way of avoiding it. Will a milder variant change such a stance? Markets seem to have started the year with covid concerns on the back burner as day 2 of 2022 was a lighter version of the buoyant day 1 even if US equities dipped a little led by a big under-performance from the NASDAQ (-1.33%), as tech stocks got hit by higher discount rates with the long end continuing to sell off to start the year. Elsewhere the Dow Jones (+0.59%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (+0.82%) both climbed to new records, with cyclical sectors generally outperforming once again. Interestingly the STOXX Travel & Leisure index rose a further +3.11% yesterday, having already surpassed its pre-Omicron level. As discussed the notable exception to yesterday’s rally were tech stocks, with a number of megacap tech stocks significantly underperforming amidst a continued rise in Treasury yields, and the rotation towards cyclical stocks as investors take the message we’ll be living with rather than attempting to defeat Covid. The weakness among that group meant that the FANG+ index fell -1.68% yesterday, with every one of the 10 companies in the index moving lower, and that weakness in turn meant that the S&P 500 (-0.06%) came slightly off its record high from the previous session. Showing the tech imbalance though was the fact that the equal weight S&P 500 was +0.82% and 335 of the index rose on the day. So it was a reflation day overall. Staying with the theme, the significant rise in treasury yields we saw on Monday extended further yesterday, with the 10yr yield up another +1.9bps to 1.65%. That means the 10yr yield is up by +13.7bps over the last 2 sessions, marking its biggest increase over 2 consecutive sessions since last September. Those moves have also coincided with a notable steepening in the yield curve, which is good news if you value it as a recessionary indicator, with the 2s10s curve +11.3bps to +88.7bps over the last 2 sessions, again marking its biggest 2-day steepening since last September Those moves higher for Treasury yields were entirely driven by a rise in real yields, with the 10yr real yield moving back above the -1% mark. Conversely, inflation breakevens fell back across the board, with the 10yr breakeven declining more than -7.0bps from an intraday peak of 2.67%, the highest level in more than six weeks, which tempered some of the increase in nominal yields. The decline in breakevens was aided by the release of the ISM manufacturing reading for December, since the prices paid reading fell to 68.2, some way beneath the 79.3 reading that the consensus had been expecting. In fact, that’s the biggest monthly drop in the prices paid measure in over a decade, and leaves it at its lowest level since November 2020. Otherwise, the headline reading did disappoint relative to the consensus at 58.7 (vs. 60.0 expected), but the employment component was above expectations at 54.2 (vs. 53.6 expected), which is its highest level in 8 months and some promising news ahead of this Friday’s jobs report. Staying with US employment, the number of US job openings fell to 10.562m in November (vs. 11.079m expected), but the number of people quitting their job hit a record high of 4.5m. That pushed the quits rate back to its record of 3.0% and just shows that the labour market continues to remain very tight with employees struggling to hire the staff needed. This has been our favourite indicator of the labour market over the last few quarters and it continues to keep to the same trend. Back to bonds and Europe saw a much more subdued movement in sovereign bond yields, although gilts were the exception as the 10yr yield surged +11.7bps as it caught up following the previous day’s public holiday in the UK. Elsewhere however, yields on bunds (-0.2bps), OATs (-1.1bps) and BTPs (+0.9bps) all saw fairly modest moves. Also of interest ahead of tonight’s Fed minutes, there was a story from the Wall Street Journal late yesterday that said Fed officials are considering whether to reduce their bond holdings, and thus beginning QT, in short order. Last cycle, the Fed kept the size of its balance sheet flat for three years after the end of QE by reinvesting maturing proceeds before starting QT. This iteration of QE is set to end in March, so any move towards balance sheet rolloff would be a much quicker tightening than last cycle, which the article suggested was a real possibility. As this cycle has taught us time and again, it is moving much faster than historical precedent, so don’t rely on prior timelines. Balance sheet policy and the timing of any QT will be a major focus in tonight’s minutes, along with any signals for the timing of liftoff and path of subsequent rate hikes. Overnight in Asia markets are trading mostly lower with the KOSPI (-1.45%), Hang Seng (-0.85%), Shanghai Composite (-0.81%) and CSI (-0.67%) dragged down largely by IT stocks while the Nikkei (+0.07%) is holding up better. In China, Tencent cut its stake in a Singapore based company yesterday by selling $ 4 billion worth shares amidst China's regulatory crackdown with investors concerned they will do more. This has helped push the Hang Seng Tech Index towards its lowest close since its inception in July 2020 with Tencent and companies it invested in losing heavily. Moving on, Japan is bringing forward booster doses for the elderly while maintaining border controls in an effort to contain Omicron. Futures are indicating a weaker start in DM markets with the S&P 500 (-0.25%) and DAX (-0.11%) both tracking their Asian peers. Oil prices continued their ascent yesterday, with Brent Crude (+1.20%) hitting its highest level since the Omicron variant first emerged on the scene. Those moves came as the OPEC+ group agreed that they would go ahead with the increase in output in February of 400k barrels per day. And the strength we saw in commodities more broadly last year has also continued to persist into 2022, with copper prices (+1.12%) hitting a 2-month high, whilst soybean prices (+2.49%) hit a 4-month high. Looking at yesterday’s other data, German unemployment fell by -23k in December (vs. -15k expected), leaving the level of unemployment at a post-pandemic low of 2.405m in December. Finally, the preliminary French CPI reading for December came in slightly beneath expectations on the EU-harmomised measure, at 3.4% (vs. 3.5% expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases include the December services and composite PMIs from the Euro Area, Italy, France, Germany and the US. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s December report of private payrolls from the US, the preliminary December CPI report from Italy, and December’s consumer confidence reading from France. Separately from the Federal Reserve, we’ll get the minutes of the December FOMC meeting. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/05/2022 - 08:07.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 5th, 2022

Reality Is Impinging Upon The Democrats" Carefully Constructed COVID Tyranny

Reality Is Impinging Upon The Democrats' Carefully Constructed COVID Tyranny Authored by Andrea Widburg via AmericanThinker.com, Biden ran on a promise: He was going to federalize the COVID response and end COVID in America. He introduced vaccine mandates for federal employees and those doing business with the federal government and had OSHA do the same for every business with more than 100 employees. Various states, cities, and businesses, especially when it came to healthcare, followed suit. We were also told that, if we even breathed the same air as a COVID person, we had to quarantine ourselves for ten days. In the last two days, that promised federal response, COVID mandates, and quarantines have all fallen apart, thanks to the very contagious but seemingly relatively harmless Omicron variant. Biden made a lot of promises during the campaign and the media graciously refused to demand details: I'm not going to shut down the country. I'm not going to shut down the economy. I'm going to shut down the virus. — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 30, 2020 We're eight months into this pandemic, and Donald Trump still doesn't have a plan to get this virus under control. I do. — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 16, 2020 Those claims—that Biden would use the federal government to end the pandemic—went a long way with people weary of 2020’s madness. On Monday, after a COVID year more deadly and dispiriting than 2020, Biden admitted that the federal government can’t fix things: Joe Biden on covid: “There is no federal solution. This gets solved at a state level.” pic.twitter.com/ufg7qDXzQ0 — RealMac (@beingrealmac) December 27, 2021 Trump, of course, said from the beginning that his role as president was to support the states because each state was best equipped to handle COVID as it presented within that state. Meanwhile, as Omicron spreads, especially in New York City, one of the most vaccinated places in America, other Democrat-driven initiatives are falling. The CDC has had to shorten by 50% its COVID isolation and quarantine period recommendations, reflecting (a) that Omicron seems to be a cold and (b) that America can’t shut down because of a cold: U.S. health officials on Monday cut isolation restrictions for Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days, and similarly shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the guidance is in keeping with growing evidence that people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop. The decision also was driven by a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, propelled by the omicron variant. Early research suggests omicron may cause milder illnesses than earlier versions of the coronavirus. But the sheer number of people becoming infected — and therefore having to isolate or quarantine — threatens to crush the ability of hospitals, airlines and other businesses to stay open, experts say. Image: Omicron by Alexandra Koch. Pixabay license. And finally, and most ironically, as Omicron cases increase, hospitals are facing staff shortages because their ludicrous, unscientific vaccine mandates saw them firing thousands of employees. Last week, the CDC updated a document entitled “Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages.” It appears that more than 13 states are struggling to deal with Omicron cases because of staff shortages. Interestingly, the Forbes article to which I linked talks about staff burnout and more patients as reasons for the shortage but makes no mention of mass firings. Funny that. The point is that Democrats made pie in the sky promises and completely failed to make good on them. More people died from COVID under Biden than under Trump, Biden’s had to admit that Trump’s state-based approach was the correct one, unreasonably long quarantines are becoming impossible to maintain, and all the things that Democrats, and Democrat-driven businesses, did to destroy the workforce are now becoming a serious problem. I’m deeply sorry for sick people, overworked people, and unemployed people. I’m grateful, though, that reality is striking so hard and fast. That speed means there’s still time for sanity to return before the system collapses completely. Tyler Durden Tue, 12/28/2021 - 11:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 28th, 2021

South Africa Eases COVID Restrictions After Omicron Peaks

South Africa Eases COVID Restrictions After Omicron Peaks South Africa is dialing back COVID-19 restrictions after the Omicron variant - which is far more mild than other strains - has peaked sooner than expected. On Friday, the government announced that contacts of Covid-positive cases that they will no longer need to test or self-isolate if they aren't showing symptoms. Those who develop mild symptoms will be required to isolate for eight days, while anyone with severe symptoms will need to isolate for 10 days, according to the Health Ministry. Meanwhile, the Ministry is ending quarantine at specialized facilities outside the home, and will be scrapping contact tracing efforts with the exception of cluster outbreaks, according to DW. The changes were "based on advice from our scientists that it [isolation] is not really having an impact anymore," per Deputy Health Minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo in a statement to local broadcaster SABC. The decision comes as some researchers believe cases of the highly-transmissible omicron variant may have peaked in South Africa, where it first emerged last month. Also on Friday, South Africa began offering booster shots to the general public for the first time. Both Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer shots have been authorized as boosters by the country's health regulator. So far, only J&J booster shots have been available for health workers. Pfizer booster shots will be available in early January. -DW As Summit News noted last week, South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla said that only 1.7% of COVID cases in the current Omicron wave are being hospitalized, compared to 19% in the previous wave and that the vast majority of cases are "fairly mild." Meanwhile residents across 'developed' nations can look forward to another round of 'one-virus-fits-all' lockdowns. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/24/2021 - 14:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 24th, 2021

"Santa Rally Is Finally Here": Futures Hit All Time High Day After Powell Goes Full Jean-Claude Trichet

"Santa Rally Is Finally Here": Futures Hit All Time High Day After Powell Goes Full Jean-Claude Trichet One day before what everyone knew would be a hawkish pivot by the Fed, the mood was dour with tech names tumbling and futures hanging one for dear life. One day after, Jerome Powell confirmed he would go full Jean-Claude Trichet as the Fed would not only turbo-taper into a sharply slowing economy, ending its QE program by March but then proceed with hiking rates as many as 3 times in 2022 (more than the 2 hike consensus), with the BOE shocking markets moments ago with a surprise rate hike and even the ECB trimming its turbo QE, and futures are.... at all time highs. That's right - eminis are higher by 140 points in 24 hours because the Fed was more hawkish than consensus expected.  At 8:00 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 215 points, or 0.61%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 27.25 points, or 0.57%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 100 points, or 0.61%. Treasury yields jumped alongside European bonds after the BOE became the first major central bank to raise rates since the pandemic, while the dollar fell and the pound jumped. The Euro also hit session highs after the ECB seemed to turn ever so slightly more hawkish as its monthly QE is set to shrink in the coming year. "The market likes facts it can digest. With the uncertainty now gone, it finds relief,” said Frederik Hildner, a portfolio manager at Salm-Salm & Partner. Gradual rising rates “provides more firepower for the next downturn, as it displays the ability normalize monetary policy.” On Wednesday, Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy no longer needed increasing amounts of policy support as annual inflation has been running at more than double the central bank's target in recent months, while the economy nears full employment. Recent readings on surging producer and consumer prices as well as the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus have fueled anxiety as the benchmark S&P 500 inches closer to a record high. "Is the Santa Rally finally here? Markets certainly seem to have a spring in their step... the prospect of three interest rate hikes in 2022 would suggest the central bank has a clear plan to not let inflation get out of control," Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell wrote in a client note. "Equally, it isn't being too aggressive to trip up the economy. This sense of balance is exactly what investors want, and an upbeat tone from the Fed certainly seems to have rubbed off on markets" Bell said, clearly goalseeking his narrative to the market's response as just 24 hours later he would be saying just the opposite when futures were tanking of hawkish Fed fears. Big tech stocks and banks led gains in premarket trading. Shares in Tesla, Microsoft, Meta and Amazon.com rose between 0.7% and 2.4%, with the lift pushing Apple shares nearer to an historic market value of $3 trillion. Bank stocks including JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup all gained between 0.7% and 0.8%. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Apple (APPL) and other big U.S. tech stocks rise after the Federal Reserve said that it would speed up its taper, joining in with a broader relief rally across risk assets. Apple shares are up 0.6%, with the stock drawing nearer to an historic market capitalization of $3 trillion. Also Thursday, Goldman Sachs said lead times for Apple’s iPhone have declined in the latest week. Assertio (ASRT US) shares rise 4% after the company announced the $44 million acquisition of the Otrexup device from Antares Pharma. Blue Bird (BLBD US) dropped 6% after the school bus-maker provided a weaker-than-expected sales outlook. The company also offered $75m shares at $16/share in a private placement. Danimer Scientific (DNMR) falls 10% after announcing that it plans to offer $175 million of convertible senior notes. Delta Air Lines (DAL) is up 2% after saying it expects to report a profit for the fourth quarter, citing a strong demand for travel over the winter holiday period and a decline in jet fuel prices. Other airline stocks are also higher. DocuSign (DOCU) falls 2% as Morgan Stanley issued a downgrade, saying third-quarter results changed the firm’s view regarding the durability of growth through tough post-pandemic comparables. Freyr Battery (FREY) gains 14% after executing its inaugural offtake agreement for at least 31 GWh of low-carbon battery cells. IronNet (IRNT US) slumps 25% after the cybersecurity company’s results fell short of expectations, prompting a Street-low target from Jefferies. Lennar Corp. (LEN US) declined 6% after it reported a forecast for purchase contracts that was weaker than expected. Plug Power (PLUG) gains 5% after signing an agreement with Korean electric-vehicle manufacturer Edison Motors to develop an electric city bus powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Syndax Pharmaceuticals (SNDX) falls 8% after pricing 3.2 million shares at $17.50 each. Tesla (TSLA) is up 2%, rising with other electric vehicle stocks amid a broader gain in technology stocks and U.S. futures on hopes that the Federal Reserve’s policy tightening will fight high inflation without hampering economic growth. Wayfair (W) falls 2% after BofA downgraded the stock to underperform, citing weak near-term data and difficult comparisons through the first quarter of 2022 for the online furniture retailer. European equities rally with Euro Stoxx 50 up as much as 2.1% before drifting off best levels. The U.K.’s exporter-heavy FTSE 100 Index pared some gains after the BOE decision, while European dipped modestly after the European Central Bank’s meeting.  Miners, tech and autos are the best performers, utilities and media names lag. Equities have whipsawed in recent weeks as investors attempted to price in the prospect of rate hikes, while assessing risks from the spread of the omicron variant. The market’s early response to the Fed signals some relief arising from policy clarity, and optimism that the rebound from pandemic lows can weather the pivot away from ultra-loose monetary settings. “The market is breathing a sigh of relief that the FOMC meeting suggested that it is taking inflation risks in the United States more seriously,” Ann-Katrin Petersen, an investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “The question really will be whether the Fed will dare to do even more in order to taper the inflation risk.” Asian stocks rose, halting a four-day slide, as confidence in Federal Reserve policy allowed investors to take on riskier assets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.8%, buoyed by energy and technology shares. Japan was Asia’s top performer, aided by a weaker yen. Hong Kong and China stocks eked out gains amid ongoing concern over U.S. sanctions. Australian equities declined for a third day. Asia’s benchmark advanced for the first time this week on hopes the Fed will effectively combat surging prices without choking off economic growth. The U.S. central bank said it will double the pace of its asset tapering program to $30 billion a month and projected three interest-rate increases in 2022. In the run-up to the Fed’s decision, Asia’s equity gauge slumped almost 2% over the past four days, keeping it below the 50-day moving average.    The short-term boost to stock market sentiment is from Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments about wage inflation not being the main issue for now, and expectations that there’ll be full employment next year, said Ilya Spivak, head of Greater Asia at DailyFX. However, there’s a “meaningful risk” that the Fed’s latest policy stance will trigger liquidation as Asia stock portfolios are de-risked, Spivak said. Japan’s stocks rose for a second day after the yen weakened and U.S. stocks rallied amid speculation the Federal Reserve will combat surging prices without choking off economic growth. The Topix index climbed 1.5% to close at 2,013.08 in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 2.1% to 29,066.32. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 2.5%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 1,674 rose and 421 fell, while 86 were unchanged. “It wouldn’t be strange to see the discount on Japanese equities narrowing following the FOMC meeting results, with market interest centered around electronics, machinery, automakers and marine transportation stocks,” said Takashi Ito, an equity market strategist at Nomura Securities. Electronics firms and automakers helped lift the Topix as the yen headed for a four-day slump against the dollar, with the currency falling 0.1% to 114.19 Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4% to close at 7,295.70, extending its losing streak to a third day.  CSL was the worst performer after the benchmark’s second-biggest company by weighting completed a placement to fund its Vifor acquisition. Mesoblast was the top performer after saying it plans to conduct an additional U.S. Phase 3 trial of rexlemestrocel-L in patients with chronic low back pain.  Investors also digested November jobs data. Australian employment soared last month, smashing expectations and pushing the jobless rate lower as virus restrictions eased on the east coast. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.7% to 12,777.54 In rates, cash USTs bull steepened, bolstered by a large curve steepener that blocked in early London. Bunds are soft at the back end, peripherals slightly wider ahead of today’s ECB meeting. Gilts bear steepen slightly, white pack sonia futures are lower by 2-3.5 ticks. In FX, the dollar slipped for a second day and oil rose; cable snapped to best levels of the week after the BOE unexpectedly hiked rates.  The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell for a second day as the greenback weakened against all its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen; Tresury yields fell, led by the belly of the curve. Commodity currencies were the best G-10 performers, led by the krone, which reversed an earlier loss after Norway’s central bank raised its interest rate for the second time this year and flagged another increase in March as officials acted to cool the rebounding economy despite renewed coronavirus concerns. The Australian and New Zealand dollars reversed earlier losses amid upbeat stock markets; the Aussie earlier weakened as RBA Governor Lowe hinted at the prospect of no rate hikes next year. The yen fell as the Federal Reserve’s decision reaffirmed yield differentials ahead of the Bank of Japan’s outcome on Friday. Bonds rose after a solid auction. Elsewhere in FX, NOK outperforms in G-10 after Norges Bank rate action, other commodity currencies are similarly well bid. In commodities, Crude futures hold a narrow range around best levels of the session. WTI is up 1.1% near $71.70, Brent near $74.70. Spot gold grinds higher, adding ~$9 near $1,786/oz. LME copper outperforms in a well-bid base metals complex To the day ahead now, and the main highlights will be the aforementioned policy decisions from the ECB and the BoE. On the data side, we’ll also get the flash PMIs for December from around the world, the Euro Area trade balance for October, and in the US there’s November data on industrial production, housing starts and building permits, as well as the weekly initial jobless claims. Finally, EU leaders will be meeting for a summit in Brussels. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.5% to 4,734.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.2% to 476.39 MXAP up 0.8% to 193.11 MXAPJ up 0.5% to 623.76 Nikkei up 2.1% to 29,066.32 Topix up 1.5% to 2,013.08 Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 23,475.50 Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,675.02 Sensex up 0.1% to 57,851.57 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,295.66 Kospi up 0.6% to 3,006.41 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $74.59/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,786.03 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.36% to 96.16 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1316 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The greenback is set for its biggest annual gain in six years and its rally appears to be far from over, market participants say. The prime mover: a hawkish Federal Reserve that’s drawn a roadmap of interest-rate increases over the next three years, while other central banks look much more reticent to withdraw stimulus The ECB is poised to unveil a gradual withdrawal from extraordinary pandemic stimulus in the face of soaring inflation whose path is further clouded by the omicron coronavirus variant The “phenomenal pace” at which the new Covid-19 omicron strain is spreading across the U.K. will trigger a surge in hospital admissions over the holiday period, according to Boris Johnson’s top medical adviser The Swiss National Bank kept both the deposit and the policy rate at -0.75%, as widely predicted by economists. With the global economic recovery on shaky footing due to the omicron variant, President Thomas Jordan and fellow policy makers also reiterated their pledge to supplement subzero rates with currency interventions as needed France will impose tougher rules on people traveling from the U.K., including a ban on non-essential trips and a requirement to self-isolate, as it tries to slow the spread of the omicron variant IHS Markit said its index tracking output across the U.K. economy fell to 53.2 this month from 57.6 in November, reflecting weaker-than-expected growth in service industries including hotels, restaurants and travel-related businesses. Business-to-business services stalled European power prices soared to records after Electricite de France SA said that two nuclear reactors will stop unexpectedly and two will have prolonged halts -- just as the continent heads for a cold snap with already depleted gas inventories Hungary’s central bank increased the effective base interest rate for the fifth time in as many weeks to tackle the fastest inflation since 2007 and shore up the battered forint A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed as the region digested the FOMC meeting. The ASX 200 (-0.4%) was negative with heavy losses in the healthcare sector and as COVID infections remained rampant. There were also notable comments from RBA Governor Lowe that the board discussed tapering bond purchases in February and ending it in May or could even end purchases in February if economic progress is better than expected, although it is also open to reviewing bond buying again in May if the data disappoints. The Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) outperformed and reclaimed the 29k level after the Lower House recently passed the record extra budget stimulus and with the latest trade data showing double-digit percentage surges in Imports and Exports, despite the latter slightly missing on expectations. The Hang Seng (+0.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.8%) were varied with Hong Kong pressured by losses in the big tech names amid ongoing frictions between the world’s two largest economies and as US lawmakers proposed a bill to allow the US oversight of China audits, although the mainland was kept afloat amid further speculation of a potential LPR cut this month, as well as reports that China will boost financial support for small businesses and offer more longer-term loans to manufacturers. Finally, 10yr JGBs were indecisive despite the constructive mood in Tokyo and with price action stuck near the 152.00 focal point, while demand was also sidelined amid mixed results at the 20yr JGB auction and as the BoJ kickstarts its two-day meeting. Top Asian News Indonesia Reports First Omicron Case in Jakarta Facility Asia Stocks Snap Four-Day Drop as Traders Take on Risk After Fed Shimao Group Shares Set for Best Day in Month Money Manager Vanishes With $313 Million From China Builder Equities in Europe have taken their cue from the post-FOMC rally seen across Wall Street (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.6%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) following somewhat mixed APAC trade. As a reminder, markets saw relief with one of the major risk events out of the way, and with Chair Powell refraining from throwing hawkish curveballs. That being said, the forecast does see three rate hikes next year, whilst the Fed Board next year will also be more hawkish – at least within the rotating voters - with George, Mester and Bullard poised to vote from 2022. Nonetheless, US equity future continues grinding higher with all contracts in the green and the RTY (+1.3%) outperforming vs the NQ (+0.7%), ES (+0.6%), and YM (+0.5%). Bourses in Europe also experience broad-based gains with no real outliers, although the upside momentum somewhat waned amid some softer-than-expected PMI metrics ahead of ECB. Sectors in Europe paint a clear pro-cyclical bias. Tech outperforms following a similar sectorial performance seen on Wall Street. Basic Resources and Oil & Gas follow a close second, with Autos and Travel & Leisure also among the biggest gainers. The downside sees Personal & Household Goods, Telecoms and Food & Beverages. Healthcare meanwhile fares better than its defensive peers as Novartis (+4%) is bolstered after commencing a new USD 15bln buyback, highlighting confidence in growth and pipeline. On the flip side, EDF (-12%) shares have slipped after it narrowed FY EBITDA forecasts and highlighted some faults with some nuclear reactors amid corrosion. Top European News Britain’s Covid Resurgence Cuts Growth to Slowest Since Lockdown SNB Says Franc Is Highly Valued as Omicron Clouds Outlook Norway Delivers Rate Hike That Omicron Had Threatened to Derail Erdogan Approves Third Capital Boost for State Banks Since 2019 In FX, not much bang for the Buck fits the bill accurately as it is panning out in the FOMC aftermath even though market expectations were matched and arguably exceeded in terms of dot plots showing three hikes in 2022 vs two anticipated by most and only one previously, while the unwinding of asset purchases will occur in double quick time to end in March next year instead of June. However, there appears to be enough in the overall statement, SEP and Fed chair Powell’s post-meeting press conference to offset the initial knee-jerk spike in the Dollar and index that lifted the latter very close to its current y-t-d peak at 96.914 vs 96.938 from November 24. Indeed, the terminal rate was maintained at 2.5%, no decision has been taken about whether to take a break after tapering before tightening, and the recovery in labour market participation has been disappointing to the point that it will now take longer to return to higher levels. In response, or on further reflection, the DXY has recoiled to 96.141 and through the 21 DMA that comes in at 96.238 today. NZD/AUD/CAD/GBP/EUR/CHF - All on the rebound vs their US counterpart, with the Kiwi back on the 0.6800 handle and also encouraged by NZ GDP contracting less than feared in Q3, while the Aussie is hovering around 0.7200 in wake of a stellar jobs report only partly tempered by dovish remarks from RBA Governor Lowe who is still not in the 2022 hike camp and non-committal about ending QE next February or extending until May. Elsewhere, the Loonie has clawed back a chunk of its losses amidst recovering crude prices to regain 1.2800+ status ahead of Canadian wholesale trade that is buried between a raft of US data and survey releases, Sterling is flirting with 1.3300 in advance of the BoE that is likely to hold fire irrespective of significantly hotter than forecast UK inflation, the Euro is pivoting 1.1300 pre-ECB that is eyed for details of life after the PEPP and the Franc is somewhat mixed post-SNB that maintained rates and a highly valued assessment of the Chf with readiness to intervene as required. Note, Usd/Chf is meandering from 0.9256 to 0.9221 vs Eur/Chf more elevated within a 1.0455-30 band. JPY - The Yen is underperforming on the eve of the BoJ and looking technically weak to compound its yield and rate disadvantage after Usd/Jpy closed above a key chart level on Wednesday (at 114.03). As such, Fib resistance is now exposed at 114.38 vs the circa 114.25 high, so far, while decent option expiry interest may be influential one way or the other into the NY cut given around 1.3 bn at the 114.25 strike, 1.7 bn at 114.30 and 1.2 bn or so at 114.50. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are taking advantage of the risk appetite coupled with the softer Buck. WTI Jan trades on either side of USD 71.50/bbl (vs low USD 71.39/bbl) while Brent Feb sees itself around USD 74.50/bbl (vs low USD 74.28/bbl). Complex-specific news has again been on the quiet end, with prices working off the macro impulses for the time being, and with volumes also light heading into Christmas trade. Elsewhere spot gold and silver ebb higher – in tandem with the Dollar, with the former eyeing a group of DMAs to the upside including the 100 (1,788/oz), 21 (1,789/oz) 200 (1,794/oz) and 50 (1,796/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper has been catapulted higher amid the risk and weaker Dollar, with prices re-testing USD 9,500/t to the upside. Meanwhile, a Chinese government consultancy has said that China's steel consumption will dip 0.7% on an annual basis in 2022 amid policies for the real estate market and uncertainties linked to COVID-19 curb demand. US event calendar 8:30am: Dec. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 200,000, prior 184,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.94m, prior 1.99m 8:30am: Nov. Housing Starts MoM, est. 3.1%, prior -0.7% 8:30am: Nov. Housing Starts, est. 1.57m, prior 1.52m 8:30am: Nov. Building Permits MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 4.0%, revised 4.2% 8:30am: Nov. Building Permits, est. 1.66m, prior 1.65m, revised 1.65m 8:30am: Dec. Philadelphia Fed Business Outl, est. 29.6, prior 39.0 9:15am: Nov. Manufacturing (SIC) Production, est. 0.7%, prior 1.2%; Industrial Production MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 1.6% 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 58.5, prior 58.3 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Services PMI, est. 58.8, prior 58.0 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Yesterday’s biggest story was obviously the Fed. In line with our US economists call (their full recap here), the FOMC doubled the pace of taper to $30bn a month, which would bring an end to QE in mid-March. The new dot plot showed three rate hikes in 2022, up from the Committee being split over one hike in September. Farther out, the median dot had 3 additional hikes in 2023 and 2 hikes in 2024, bringing fed funds just below their estimate of the longer-term rate. Notably, all 18 Committee members have liftoff occurring next year, and 10 have 3 hikes penciled in, suggesting consensus behind the recent hawkish turn was strong. Short-end market pricing increased in line and now has around 2.9 hikes priced for 2022. The first hike is fully priced for the June meeting, but notably, meetings as early as March are priced as live, more on that in a bit. In the statement, the Committee admitted that inflation had exceeded target for some time (dropping ‘transitory’ completely), and that liftoff would be tied to the economy reaching full employment. By the sounds of the press conference, progress toward full employment has proceeded pretty rapidly. Chair Powell noted that while labour force participation progress has been disappointing, almost every other measure of labour market strength shows a very strong labour market, and could create upside risks to inflation should wage growth start to increase beyond productivity. It is within that context that he framed the decision to taper faster, it will leave the Fed in a position to react as needed, providing optionality. In that vein, he stressed a few times that the lag between the end of taper and liftoff need not be as long as it was in the last cycle, and that the Fed will raise rates after taper is done whenever needed, hence meetings as early as March being live. Notably on Omicron, the Chair, like the rest of us, recognises we don’t know much about the variant yet, but seemed optimistic about the economy’s ability to withstand subsequent Covid shocks, regardless of Omicron’s specifics. While Covid shocks can tighten supply chains, discourage labour participation, and reduce demand, as more people get vaccinated those impacts should dwindle over time, so his argument went. Hammering the point home, he sounded confident that the economy can handle whatever Omicron brings without any additional QE, justifying the accelerated taper path despite Covid risks. The hawkish turn had been well forecast through Fed speakers since the last meeting, not least of which the Chair himself during Congressional testimony, which served to dull the market impact. Treasury yields were slightly higher, (2yr Tsys +0.6bps and 10yr Tsys +1.5 bps) but were quite docile for an FOMC afternoon. The dollar initially strengthened on the statement release before reversing course and ending the day -0.24% lower. Stocks were the real outperformers, as the S&P 500 rallied through the FOMC events, gaining +1.63%, the best daily performance in two months, while the Nasdaq increased +2.15%. The Russell 2000 matched the S&P, gaining +1.65%. Obviously the market was anticipating the change in policy, but if doubling taper and adding three rate hikes in the next year isn’t enough to tighten financial conditions, what is? The Chair was asked about that in so many words in the press conference, where he responded by noting financial conditions could change on a dime. Indeed, they will have to tighten from historically easy levels if the Fed is to bring inflation back to target through policy. The Fed may be out of the way now, but the central bank excitement continues today as both the ECB and the BoE announce their own policy decisions later on. We’ll start with the ECB, who like the Fed have faced much higher than expected inflation lately, with the November flash estimate coming in at +4.9%, which is the highest since the formation of the single currency. Whilst Omicron has cast a shadow of uncertainty, with Commission President von der Leyen saying yesterday that it was likely to become dominant in Europe by mid-January, our European economics team doesn’t think there has been anything concrete enough to alter the ECB from their course (like the Fed). In our European economists’ preview (link here) they write the ECB appears on track to initiate a transition to a monetary policy stance based more on policy rates and rates guidance and less on liquidity provision. The ECB is set to confirm that PEPP net purchases will end in March, but will cushion the blow by working flexibility into the post-PEPP asset purchase arrangement. They are also set to make the policy framework more flexible to better respond to inflation uncertainties. One thing to keep an eye out for in particular will be the latest inflation projections, with a report from Bloomberg suggesting that they’ll show inflation beneath the 2% target in both 2023 and 2024. So if that’s true, that could offer a route to arguing against a tightening of monetary policy for the time being, since the ECB’s forward guidance has been that it won’t raise rates until it sees inflation at the target “durably for the rest of the projection horizon”. Today’s other big decision comes from the BoE, where our UK economist is expecting that there’ll be a 15bps increase in Bank Rate, taking it up to 0.25% although they suggest it’s a very close call. See here for the rationale. Ahead of that decision later on, we received a very strong UK inflation print for November, with CPI rising to +5.1% (vs. +4.8% expected), up from +4.2% in October and the fastest pace in a decade. That’s running ahead of the BoE’s own staff forecasts in the November Monetary Policy Report, which had seen inflation at just +4.5% that month, so six-tenths beneath the realised figure. We’ll get their decision at 12:00 London time, 45 minutes ahead of the ECB’s. In terms of the latest on the Omicron variant, there are continued signs of concern in South Africa, with cases coming in at a record 26,976 yesterday, whilst the number in hospital at 7,339 is up +73% compared to a week ago. Meanwhile the UK recorded their highest number of cases since the pandemic began, at 78,610. England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, said that a lot of Covid records would be broken in the coming weeks, and also that a majority of cases in London were now from the Omicron variant. Separately, the French government is set to hold a meeting tomorrow on Covid measures, and EU leaders will be discussing the pandemic at their summit today. When it comes to Omicron’s economic impact, we could see some light shed on that today as the December flash PMIs are released from around the world. Overnight we’ve already had the numbers out of Australia and Japan where hints of a slowdown are apparent. Japan's Manufacturing PMI came out at 54.2 (54.5 previous) and the Composite at 51.8 (53.3 previous) while Australia’s Manufacturing and Composite came in at 57.4 and 54.9 respectively (59.2 and 55.7 previous). Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher led by the Nikkei (+1.78%) followed by the Shanghai Composite (+0.28%), and KOSPI (+0.22%). However the CSI (-0.07%) and Hang Seng (-0.81%) are losing ground on concerns of US sanctions on Chinese tech companies. In Australia, the November employment report registered a strong beat by adding 366.1k jobs against 200k consensus. This is being reflected in a +12.75 bps surge in Australia's 3y bond. Elsewhere, in India wholesale inflation for November rose +14.2% year on year, levels last seen in 2000 against a consensus of +11.98% on the back of higher food and input prices. DM futures are indicating a positive start to markets today with S&P 500 (+0.19%) and DAX (+1.04%) contracts both higher as we type. Ahead of the Fed, European markets had put in a fairly steady performance yesterday, with the STOXX 600 up +0.26%. That brought an end to a run of 5 successive declines, with technology stocks in particular seeing an outperformance. Sovereign bond markets were also subdued ahead of the ECB and BoE meetings later, with yields on 10yr bunds (+0.9bps), OATs (+0.5bps) and gilts (+1.2bps) only seeing modest moves higher. In DC, despite optimistic sounding talks earlier in the week, the latest yesterday was President Biden and Senator Manchin remained far apart on the administration’s build back better bill, imperiling its chances of passing before Christmas. Elsewhere, reports suggested the President would have more nominations for the remaining Fed Board vacancies this week. Looking at yesterday’s other data, US retail sales underwhelmed in November with growth of just +0.3% (vs. +0.8% expected), and measure excluding gas and motor vehicles was also up just +0.2% (vs. +0.8% expected). Also the NAHB’s housing market index for December moved up to a 10-month high of 84, in line with expectations. To the day ahead now, and the main highlights will be the aforementioned policy decisions from the ECB and the BoE. On the data side, we’ll also get the flash PMIs for December from around the world, the Euro Area trade balance for October, and in the US there’s November data on industrial production, housing starts and building permits, as well as the weekly initial jobless claims. Finally, EU leaders will be meeting for a summit in Brussels. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/16/2021 - 08:29.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 16th, 2021

UK Reports First Death With Omicron Variant As BoJo Sees "Tidal Wave" Of Infections By Christmas

UK Reports First Death With Omicron Variant As BoJo Sees "Tidal Wave" Of Infections By Christmas Speaking to reporters Monday while touring a vaccination center in West London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that at least one patient infected with the omicron strain has died, marking the first known death WITH the variant in a developed nation. The PM added that he would ensure all adults 18 and over have an opportunity to get their booster jabs before Christmas, while suggesting - or at least refusing to rule out - the possibility of more restrictions on businesses and movement before the holidays as well. A spokesman for BoJo later said there were no plans to close hospitality venues. "Sadly yes Omicron is producing hospitalisations and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron," he said. "So I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that's something we need to set on one side and just recognise the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population. So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters." Analysts were quick to point out that No. 10 Downing Street has provided only scant details about the death, and that the government refused to say whether the patient who died had other comorbidities that could have contributed to their death. According to Sky News, the confirmation comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Sky earlier that "about 10" patients were presently hospitalized in the UK with omicron. The UK has confirmed far more cases of the variant than other developed nations with larger populations (such as the US). Thanks to its proficiency at carrying out variant surveillance, the UK has confirmed 3,137 cases. BoJo added that MPs thinking about voting against his "Plan B" measures should be warned that "now is not the time for complacency." "Throughout the pandemic I've been at great pains to stress to the public that we have to watch where the pandemic is going and we take whatever steps are necessary to protect public health." "We think the steps that we are taking - so Plan B, combined with a hugely ambitious acceleration of the booster campaign, bringing it forward by a month so we offer a booster to every adult by the end of the year - we think that's the right approach." BoJo added that omicron now represents about 40% of coronavirus cases in London and "tomorrow it'll be the majority of the cases" in the capital. Earlier, government advisers said omicron would be the dominant case in the UK by Christmas. The omicron "tidal wave" - as BoJo put it - is happening at the same time as cases in Gauteng, the epicenter of omicron in South Africa, is showing signs of slowing. Researchers have suggested that omicron infections are likely to be more mild, especially in patients who have already been infected with the virus, or have been vaccinated (although some researchers fear the protections from the Pfizer vaccine are almost non-existent). Tyler Durden Mon, 12/13/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 13th, 2021

Futures Rebound Ahead Of Critical CPI Print

Futures Rebound Ahead Of Critical CPI Print US futures rebounded on Friday from Thursday's selloff as traders waited with bated breath for an inflation report that could strengthen the case for an aggressive policy tightening by the Federal Reserve, while Oracle Corp jumped on an upbeat third-quarter outlook. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 109 points, or 0.30%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 16.25 points, or 0.35%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 53.50 points, or 0.4%. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index pared an earlier decline, while a Bloomberg gauge of Asian airlines fell. In China, Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan sold just over a 2% stake in the company, in the same week the property developer was officially labeled a defaulter for the first time. The dollar, Treasury yields and oil advanced. Shares of Oracle gained 11.2% in premarket trading after posting forecast-beating results for the second quarter, helped by higher technology spending from businesses looking to support hybrid work.  Broadcom Inc rose 7.0% as the semiconductor firm sees first-quarter revenue above Wall Street expectations and announced a $10 billion share buyback plan. So far this week, the Nasdaq and the S&P advanced over 2.8% each and the Dow rallied 3.4%. The S&P is now down 1.6% from its all-time peak. The S&P 500 dropped 5.2% from a record high hit on Nov. 22 as investors digested Jerome Powell's renomination as the Fed's chair, his hawkish commentary to tackle. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate on Thursday passed and sent to President Joe Biden the first of two bills needed to raise the federal government's $28.9 trillion debt limit and avert an unprecedented default. In other news, the U.S. government moved a step closer to prosecuting Julian Assange on espionage charges, after London judges accepted that the WikiLeaks chief can be safely sent to America. With headline CPI expected to print at 6.8% Y/Y this morning - in what would be its highest level since 1982 - with whisper numbers are high as the low 8% after Biden said that this month's number won't show the drop in gasoline prices (which is certainly transitory now that oil price are on track for the biggest weekly gain since August), it is very likely that the CPI number will miss and we will see a major relief rally. On the other hand, any upside surprise on the reading will likely bolster the case for a faster tapering of bond purchases and bring forward expectations for interest rate hikes ahead of the U.S. central bank's policy meeting next week. “Various FOMC participants, including Chair Powell, have signaled a hawkish shift in their policy stance, catalyzed by increasing discomfort with elevated inflation against a backdrop of robust growth and ongoing strengthening in labor markets conditions,” Morgan Stanley economists and strategists including Ellen Zentner, wrote in a note Thursday. “We revise our Fed call and now expect the FOMC to begin raising rates in Sept. 2022 -- two quarters earlier than our prior forecast.” Discussing today's key event, the CPI print, DB's Jim Reid writes that "our US economists are anticipating that headline CPI will rise to +6.9%, which would be the fastest annual pace since 1982. And they see core inflation heading up to +5.1%, which would be the highest since 1990. Bear in mind as well that this is the last big release ahead of next Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision, where our economists are expecting they’ll double the pace of tapering. Chair Powell himself reinforced those expectations in recent testimony, stopping just shy of unilaterally announcing the faster taper. Crucially, he noted this CPI print and the evolution of the virus were potential roadblocks to a faster taper next week. That said, the bar is extremely high for today’s data print to alter their course, especially with the Covid outlook having not deteriorated markedly since his testimony. By the close last night, Fed funds futures were fully pricing in a rate hike by the June meeting, alongside more than 70% chance of one by the May meeting." A reminder that last month saw another bumper print, with the monthly price gain actually at its fastest pace since July 2008, which sent the annual gain up to its highest since 1990, at +6.2%. It also marked the 6th time in the last 8 months that the monthly headline print had been above the consensus estimate on Bloomberg, and in another blow for team transitory, the drivers of inflation were increasingly broad-based, rather than just in a few categories affected by the pandemic. It may have been the death knell for team transitory, with Chair Powell taking pains to retire the term in the aforementioned testimony before Congress. In Europe, stocks fell slightly as a rise in coronavirus infections, with the Stoxx 600 dropping 0.3%, weighed down the most by tech, health care and utilities. DAX -0.2%, and FTSE 100 little changed, both off worst levels. Meanwhile, an epidemiologist has said that the omicron strain may be spreading faster in England than in South Africa, with U.K. cases possibly exceeding 60,000 a day by Christmas. Banks in the U.K. have already started telling staff to work from home in response to the government’s guidance.  Daimler AG’s trucks division gained in its first trading day as the storied German manufacturer completed a historic spinoff to better face sweeping changes in the auto industry. Polish retailer LPP rose to a record. Asian stocks fell on worries over the global spread of the omicron virus strain and after China Evergrande and Kaisa Group officially defaulted on their dollar debt. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost as much as 0.9%, with healthcare, technology and consumer discretionary sectors being the worst performers. Benchmarks slid in China and Hong Kong after Fitch Ratings cut Evergrande and Kaisa to “restricted default,” with the Hang Seng Index being the region’s biggest loser. Investors remain concerned that the omicron virus strain may crimp the economic rebound. South Korea brought forward the timing for Covid-19 booster shots to just three months after the second dose, as one of Asia’s most-vaccinated countries grapples with its worst ever virus surge. The Kospi snapped a seven-day winning run. Meanwhile, the U.S. appears to be headed for a holiday crisis as virus cases and hospital admissions climb, while London firms started telling thousands of staff to work from home. “In Europe, restrictions are being put in place, not just in the U.K. but also in other countries, due to the spread of the omicron variant, spurring worry over the impact on the economy,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a market strategist at Mizuho Securities. “If work-from-home practices are prolonged, consumption will become lackluster, delaying any recovery.” Still, the Asian benchmark is up 1.2% from Dec. 3, poised for its best weekly advance in about two months. That’s owing to gains earlier in the week after China’s move to boost liquidity helped restore investor confidence. Traders are now turning focus to U.S. inflation data due later in the day for clues on the pace of anticipated tapering. China’s central bank took further steps to limit the yuan’s strength -- setting the weakest reference rate relative to estimates compiled by Bloomberg since 2018 -- a day after policy makers raised the foreign currency reserve requirement ratio for banks a second time this year. In rates, the Treasury curve bear flattened with 5s30s printing sub-60bps ahead of today’s November CPI data. Bunds and gilts are quiet; Italy leads a broader tightening of peripheral spreads. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rises 0.2%, building on modest strength during the Asian session. AUD leads G-10 peers; NZD and SEK are weakest, although ranges are narrow. Demand for euro downside exposure waned this week as investors now focus on the upcoming decisions by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. China’s central bank took further steps to limit the yuan’s strength In commodities, brent crude is slightly higher on the day, hovering around the $74-level, while WTI climbs 0.6% to $71-a-barrel. Base metals are mixed. LME aluminum and copper rise, while zinc and lead declines. Spot gold drops $4 to $1,771/oz. Looking at the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for November. In addition, there’s the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for December, UK GDP for October and Italian industrial production for October. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, along with the ECB’s Weidmann, Villeroy, Panetta and Elderson. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,677.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.4% to 474.88 MXAP down 0.8% to 193.90 MXAPJ down 0.8% to 632.63 Nikkei down 1.0% to 28,437.77 Topix down 0.8% to 1,975.48 Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 23,995.72 Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,666.35 Sensex little changed at 58,799.05 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,353.51 Kospi down 0.6% to 3,010.23 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $74.69/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,770.81 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.32 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1281 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Already fighting economic fires on a number of fronts, China is rushing to clamp down on speculation in its strengthening currency before it gets out of control The arrival of the omicron variant has triggered a global rush for booster shots, but questions remain over whether it is the right strategy against omicron The Biden administration aims to sign what could prove a “very powerful” economic framework agreement with Asian nations -- focusing on areas including coordination on supply chains, export controls and standards for artificial intelligence -- next year, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said A mouse bite is at the center of an investigation into a possible new Covid-19 outbreak in Taiwan, after a worker at a high-security laboratory was confirmed as the island’s first local case in more than a month A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were on the back foot as the region took its cue from the weak performance in the US, where the major indices reversed recent upside in the run-up to today’s US CPI metric. The ASX 200 (-0.4%) was led lower by the underperformance in energy and tech after a retreat in oil prices and similar weakness of their counterpart sectors in US. The Nikkei 225 (-1.0%) remained lacklustre as it succumbed to the recent inflows into the currency, although the downside was stemmed as participants digested a record increase in wholesale prices. The Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.2%) were hindered by several headwinds including lower-than-expected lending and aggregate financing data, as well as China’s latest internet crackdown in which it removed 106 apps from app stores. However, losses were contained by a softer currency after China’s efforts to curb RMB strength including the PBoC’s 200bps FX RRR hike yesterday and its overnight weakening of the reference rate by the widest margin against estimates on record. Finally, 10yr JGBs were quiet after the mixed performance in US fixed income markets and with the risk-averse mood counterbalanced by the lack of BoJ purchases in the market today, although later saw a bout of selling on a breakdown of support at the key 152.00 level. Top Asian News Evergrande’s Hui Forced to Sell Part of Stake in Defaulted Firm Hui Has 277.8m Evergrande Shares Sold Under Enforced Disposal Asia Stocks Fall on Renewed Concerns Over Evergrande and Omicron Gold Heads for Worst Weekly Run Since 2019 Before Inflation Data Cash bourses in Europe kicked off the session with modest losses across the board, but the region has been clambering off worst levels since (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.3%; Stoxx 600 -0.3%) as traders gear up for the US CPI release (full preview available on the Newsquawk headline feed). US equity futures meanwhile post modest broad-based gains across the ES (+0.3%), NQ (+0.3%), RTY (+0.4) and YM (+0.2%). Back to Europe, cash markets see broad but contained downside. Sectors are mixed with no overarching theme or bias. Tech resides at the foot of the bunch with heavyweight SAP (-0.2%) failing to garner impetus from Oracle’s (+11% pre-market) blockbuster earnings after beating expectations on the top and bottom lines and announcing a new USD 10bln stock-repurchase authorisation. The upside meanwhile sees some of the more inflation-related sectors, including Oil & Gas, auto, Goods, Foods, and Beverages. In terms of individual movers, Bayer (+1.8%) is firmer after the Co. won a second consecutive trial in California regarding its Roundup weed killer. Daimler (-15%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after spinning off its Daimler Trucks unit (+4%) - considered to be a market listing rather than a full initial public offering. Top European News Heathrow Offers Bleak Outlook as Omicron Halts Long-Haul Rebound HSBC, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank Tell London Staff to Stay Home SocGen CEO Takes Over Compliance After $2.6 Billion Fines Santander AM Names Utrera as Head of Equities as Montero Exits In FX, not a lot of deviation from recent ranges, but the Greenback is grinding higher ahead of US inflation data and Treasuries are bear-steepening to suggest hedging or positioning for an upside surprise following pointers from President Biden and NEC Director Deese to that effect (both advising that recent declines in prices, including energy, will not be reflected in November’s metrics). The index is back above the 96.000 level that has been very pivotal so far this week and hovering near the upper end of a 96.429-157 range, while the benchmark 10 year T-note yield is holding above 1.50% after a so-so long bond auction to wrap up the latest refunding remit. NZD/JPY/GBP - It’s marginal, but the Kiwi, Yen and Pound are lagging behind in the G10 stakes, with Nzd/Usd back below 0.6800 and perhaps taking note of a marked slowdown in the manufacturing PMI to 50.6 in November from 54.3, while Usd/Jpy is straddling 113.50 and eyeing DMAs either side of the half round number and Cable remains choppy around 1.3200 in wake of UK GDP, ip and output all missing consensus. AUD/CAD/EUR/CHF - All a tad more narrowly divergent vs the Buck, and the Aussie managing to keep tabs on 0.7150 after outperformance post-RBA on mainly external and technical impulses. Elsewhere, the Loonie has limited losses through 1.2700 with some assistance from hawkish sounding commentary from BoC Deputy Governor Gravelle rather than choppy crude prices as WTI swings around Usd 71/brl. To recap, he said that concerns over inflation are heightened on the upside much more than usual and the BoC is likely to react a little bit more readily to the upside risk given that inflation is already above the control range. Elsewhere, the Euro continues to fade on advances beyond 1.1300 and hit resistance at or near the 21 DMA and the Franc is more attuned to yields than risk sentiment at present, like the Yen, though is outpacing the Euro, as Eur/Chf veers towards 1.0400 again and Usd/Chf sits closer to 0.9250 vs 0.9200. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures have been edging higher in early European trade following a choppy APAC session and in the run-up today’s main event, the US inflation data. Currently, WTI Jan trades just under USD 71.50/bbl (vs low USD 70.32/bbl) while Brent Feb resides north of USD 74.50/bbl (vs low USD 73.80/bbl), with news flow also on the lighter side ahead of the tier 1 data. In terms of other macro events, sources suggested Iran is willing to work from the basis of texts created in June on nuclear discussions, which will now be put to the test in upcoming days, via a European diplomatic source. This would mark somewhat of a shift from reports last week which suggested that Iran took a tougher stance than it had back in June. Western diplomats last week suggested that Tehran ramped up their conditions, which resulted in talks stalling last Friday. Aside from that, relevant news flow has been light for the complex. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are drifting lower in tandem gains in the Dollar – spot gold has dipped under USD 1,770/oz, with the current YTD low at 1,676/oz. LME copper holds its head above USD 9,500/t but within a tight range amid the overall indecisive mood across the markets. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Nov. CPI YoY, est. 6.8%, prior 6.2%; MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.9% 8:30am: Nov. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 4.9%, prior 4.6%; MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6% 8:30am: Nov. Real Avg Hourly Earning YoY, prior -1.2%, revised -1.3% Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -1.6% 10am: Dec. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 5.0%, prior 4.9%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0% Sentiment, est. 68.0, prior 67.4 Expectations, est. 62.5, prior 63.5 Current Conditions, est. 73.5, prior 73.6 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’m sure if anyone had said to you at the start of 2021 that US CPI would end the year around 7% YoY then there may have been some sleepless nights about how to position your portfolio. The reality is that as inflation has risen, the market has managed to go through denial, transitory, elongated transitory, and now the retirement of transitory, all without much fuss. I’ve said this before but I doubt there is anyone in the world that predicted we’d end the year at near 7% whilst at the same time having 10yr UST yields still at around 1.5%. Today our US economists are anticipating that headline CPI will rise to +6.9%, which would be the fastest annual pace since 1982. And they see core inflation heading up to +5.1%, which would be the highest since 1990. Bear in mind as well that this is the last big release ahead of next Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision, where our economists are expecting they’ll double the pace of tapering. Chair Powell himself reinforced those expectations in recent testimony, stopping just shy of unilaterally announcing the faster taper. Crucially, he noted this CPI print and the evolution of the virus were potential roadblocks to a faster taper next week. That said, the bar is extremely high for today’s data print to alter their course, especially with the Covid outlook having not deteriorated markedly since his testimony. By the close last night, Fed funds futures were fully pricing in a rate hike by the June meeting, alongside more than 70% chance of one by the May meeting. A reminder that last month saw another bumper print, with the monthly price gain actually at its fastest pace since July 2008, which sent the annual gain up to its highest since 1990, at +6.2%. It also marked the 6th time in the last 8 months that the monthly headline print had been above the consensus estimate on Bloomberg, and in another blow for team transitory, the drivers of inflation were increasingly broad-based, rather than just in a few categories affected by the pandemic. It may have been the death knell for team transitory, with Chair Powell taking pains to retire the term in the aforementioned testimony before Congress. Ahead of this, markets were in slightly subdued mood yesterday as the reality of the new Omicron restrictions in various places soured the mood. Even as the news on Omicron’s severity has remained positive, concern is still elevated that this good news on severity could be outweighed by a rise in transmissibility, which ultimately would lead to a higher absolute number of both infections and hospitalisations. Even if it doesn’t, it seems restrictions are mounting while we wait and see. In response, US equities and oil prices fell back for the first time this week, as did 10yr Treasury yields. The S&P 500 (-0.72%) and the STOXX 600 (-0.08%) fell, whilst the VIX index of volatility ticked back up +1.73pts to move above the 20 mark again. Tech stocks underperformed in a reversal of the previous session, with the NASDAQ down -1.71%, and the small-cap Russell 2000 seeing a hefty -2.27% decline, as it moved lower throughout the day. Other risk assets saw similar declines too, with Brent crude (-1.85%) and WTI (-1.96%) oil prices both paring back their gains of the week so far. The move out of risk benefited safe havens, with sovereign bond yields moving lower across the curve, with those on 10yr Treasuries down -2.2bps to 1.50%. Those moves were echoed in Europe, where yields on 10yr bunds (-4.3bps), OATs (-4.5bps) and BTPs (-2.9bps) fell back as well. That came against the backdrop of a Reuters report saying ECB governors would discuss a temporary increase in the Asset Purchase Programme at their meeting next week, albeit one that would still leave bond purchases significantly beneath their current levels once the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme ends in March. Bitcoin fell -5.21% to $47,997 and is now more than -29% below its all-time highs reached a month ago. Marion Laboure from my team published a piece analysing the interaction between Bitcoin and the environment given its huge energy consumption. You can find the piece here. Ahead of today’s US CPI, there was another round of robust labour market data, with the US weekly initial jobless claims down to 184k (vs. 220k expected) in the week through December 4, marking their lowest level since 1969. The 4-week moving average was also down to a fresh post-pandemic low of 218.75k, having fallen for 9 consecutive weeks now. So with the labour market becoming increasingly tight and price pressures continuing to remain strong, it’s no surprise that markets have moved over the last year from pricing no hikes at all in 2022 to almost 3. Overnight in Asia, equities are all trading in the red with the Shanghai Composite (-0.32%), Hang Seng (-0.50%), Nikkei (-0.58%), CSI (-0.62%) and KOSPI (-0.67%) tracking the weaker US close last night after a three day rally. This comes after Chinese real-estate firms Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group were downgraded to restricted default by Fitch Ratings. Elsewhere in Japan, November's PPI reading came in at the highest level since 1980 at +9.0% year-on-year against +8.5% consensus due largely to rising energy prices. Our Japan economist expects CPI rising above 1% next year to be one of the ten key events to watch in 2022. You can read more here. Staying on Japan, the ruling party today will unveil a set of tax policy measures aimed at incentivising businesses to raise wages as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida aims to deliver on campaigning promises. Futures are pointing to a slightly more positive start in the US with S&P 500 futures (+0.10%) trading higher but with DAX futures (-0.24%) catching down to the weaker US close. Out of DC, the Senate approved a one-time procedural measure that will allow them to raise the debt ceiling with a simple majority vote, ostensibly in the coming days, and hopefully for a longer period than the last six-week suspension. Yields on potentially at-risk Treasury bills are at similar levels to neighboring maturities. In terms of the latest on the pandemic, yesterday didn’t see any news of major significance, with the indicators mainly confirming what we already knew. In particular, the EU’s ECDC continued to say that among the 402 confirmed Omicron cases in the EU/EEA, all the cases with known severity were either asymptomatic or mild, with no deaths reported. So positive news for now, although it’ll be very important to keep an eye with what happens with hospitalisations in South Africa, which are continuing to rise, and the country also reported another 22,391 cases yesterday, which is once again the highest number since the Omicron variant was first reported. Separately, the US FDA moved yesterday to expand the eligibility of the Pfizer-BioNTech booster to 16 and 17 year olds. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for November. In addition, there’s the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for December, UK GDP for October and Italian industrial production for October. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, along with the ECB’s Weidmann, Villeroy, Panetta and Elderson. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/10/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 10th, 2021

Pfizer Says 3 Doses Of Its Jab Can "Neutralize" Omicron Variant

Pfizer Says 3 Doses Of Its Jab Can "Neutralize" Omicron Variant Update (0800ET): During an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla appeared to contradict his own company's data by claiming that his company's jab will "not lose any efficacy against omicron" because the "mode of action is not on the spike...it's working on a different element of the virus." However, data out of South Africa appears to show that even patients who have been vaccinated are testing positive for omicron. And keep in mind, the lab-only results Pfizer shared today aren't nearly as reliable. "The ultimate proof is coming from real world data ... by the end of the month holistically we will have enough data to say if #omicron the solution will be just a third dose," says $PFE CEO @AlbertBourla. "Or if we need to go to a specific against omicron variant vaccine." pic.twitter.com/VUNdhePE6U — Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) December 8, 2021 "Three doses of our vaccine against #omicron basically is equivalent to two doses of our vaccine with the original strain," says $PFE CEO @AlbertBourla. "This is good news." pic.twitter.com/81aRZKPtDf — Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) December 8, 2021 "If they have two doses, it is very likely you're better protected than if they don't have any or if they only have one," says @pfizer CEO @AlbertBourla on vaccine protection to those ineligible for a booster shot. pic.twitter.com/o25guP2gZn — Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) December 8, 2021 "I expect we will not lose any efficacy against #omicron because the mode of action is not on the spike. It's working on a different element of the virus," says $PFE CEO @AlbertBourla on the company's oral monoclonal #covid treatment. pic.twitter.com/Fv5MXKL7ff — Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) December 8, 2021 "I think we will need a fourth dose. I have said that multiple times," says @pfizer CEO @AlbertBourla on Israel's roll out of a fourth Covid vaccine dose. "If there is a need for something different, better, we will be able to have it in months." pic.twitter.com/FFA28uXgs7 — Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) December 8, 2021 He's doing his job - trying to sell more vaccines. * * * Last night, data released out of South Africa showed that the Pfizer vaccine, supposedly the world's gold standard in terms of COVID jabs, was less effective against the omicron variant than earlier variants of SARS-CoV-2. And on Wednesday morning, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech pushed back by releasing data showing that three full doses of their best-selling jab were effective enough to neutralize the omicron variant in lab tests (not in actual humans). However, two vaccine doses resulted in significantly lower neutralizing antibodies but that a third dose of their vaccine increased the neutralizing antibodies by a factor of 25. Using blood obtained from patients that had their booster shot a month ago, the scientists found that it neutralized the Omicron variant about as effectively as blood after two doses fought off the original Wuhan strain. As the partners behind the world's best-selling jab scramble to produce an omicron-specific version of their jab, the data released this morning showed that a third dose increased antibodies as much as 25-fold compared with only two doses, the companies said. But that doesn't mean only having two doses won't prevent serious illness - it will. US equities welcomed the latest data from Pfizer and BioNTech in premarket trade. Pfizer's latest batch of data offered yet another opportunity for astute readers to watch the media reshape the narrative in real time. Real time narrative shaping: before, and 30 minutes later pic.twitter.com/GC8ZZ2jlZx — zerohedge (@zerohedge) December 8, 2021 The (extremely preliminary) data released by Pfizer showed that companies' early findings come a day after scientists in South Africa reported findings from early lab tests indicating the Pfizer jab generated only one-fortieth of the infection-fighting antibodies against omicron than against the original version of the virus. While omicron appears to be spreading rapidly, only preliminary data are available so far. And although researchers can't say it for certain, it appears the new variant causes more mild infections than earlier variants, even if it is more transmissible. The lab data released by Pfizer and BioNTech didn't offer any new insights on whether fewer doses actually does offer more scaled-back protection. Other scientists have come to less flattering conclusions. According to Reuters, a group of scientists at the university hospital in Frankfurt found a reduced antibody response to omicron even after three shots. Speaking on CNBC Wednesday morning, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla seemed a little flustered about omicron, but he told viewers that they would be protected if they simply got their boosters. But eventually, a fourth dose of the jab will likely be needed. The takeaway: just get another jab (or booster) and you'll be fully protected from a virus that would most likely only leave you with a runny nose. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/08/2021 - 08:57.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 8th, 2021

Novavax (NVAX) Starts Developing Omicron-Specific COVID Jab

Novavax (NVAX) begins evaluating its COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron variant. The company also starts developing an Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine. Novavax, Inc. NVAX has announced a two-pronged variant strategy to provide protection against the new COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC), Omicron (B.1.1.529).Firstly, Novavax started evaluating its protein-based COVID-19 vaccine NVX-CoV2373 against the Omicron variant. NVX-CoV2373 already demonstrated efficacy and safety against other VOCs like Alpha, Beta and Delta. NVAX plans to evaluate whether a similar cross-protection is provided by NVX-CoV2373 against the Omicron variant.Novavax also intends to test whether the antibodies from the previously-vaccinated individuals can neutralize the Omicron variant and block the Omicron-hACE2 receptor binding (a step, which is required in the viral invasion process).Secondly, Novavax started developing an Omicron-specific construct of the spike-protein antigen used in its COVID-19 vaccine. NVAX aims to begin manufacturing this Omicron-specific spike protein in a commercial facility in January 2022.Shares of Novavax have rallied 45.3% this year so far against the industry’s 18.1% decline.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchNovavax is yet to apply to the FDA for an emergency use authorization (EUA) of the vaccine. It anticipates filing the same in fourth-quarter 2021. Presently, the vaccine received the EUA in Indonesia and the Philippines.The Omicron variant is raising concerns of high transmissibility and lower protection against infections following vaccination due to the presence of multiple mutations. In fact, some of the mutations — also reported in the Beta and Delta variants — are likely to help avoid natural and vaccine-induced immunity.The potential high risks of this latest variant prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to add Omicron to its “Variant of Concern” list on Nov 26,The Omicron variant ignited fears that the currently available COVID-19 vaccines and treatments could be less effective against it. Other vaccine makers like Moderna MRNA and J&J JNJ also announced their strategies to develop updated vaccines and boosters to respond to this variant.Moderna already tested a 100-microgram booster dose compared to its authorized booster dose of 50-microgram of its COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273. The higher dose of its booster dose resulted in the highest neutralizing titers against prior SARS-CoV-2 strains.Moderna is now rapidly testing sera from the participants of high-dose booster studies to see if the dose provides neutralizing protection against Omicron. MRNA is also testing its two other existing multi-valent booster candidates against the Omicron variant. MRNA is planning to develop an Omicron-specific booster candidate.J&J is testing the effectiveness of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron variant. JNJ is testing the blood serum from participants of both completed and ongoing booster studies for neutralizing activity against the Omicron variant.J&J is also pursuing a new vaccine against Omicron, which will be pushed rapidly to clinical development, if needed.The spread of the Omicron variant will likely decelerate the economic revival as several countries already started imposing travel bans. Although the variant was first reported in South Africa, it is spreading speedily across multiple nations. Successful development of a COVID-19 vaccine targeting the Omicron variant will boost any of the above companies’ prospects further.Novavax, Inc. Price Novavax, Inc. price | Novavax, Inc. QuoteZacks Rank & Stock to ConsiderNovavax currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the overall healthcare sector is GlaxoSmithKline GSK, which presently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.GlaxoSmithKline’s earnings estimates per share for 2021 have increased from $2.94 to $3.06 in the past 30 days. The same for 2022 has increased from $3.17 to $3.26 in the past 30 days. Shares of Glaxo have risen 12.7% in the year so far.Earnings of GlaxoSmithKline beat estimates in three of the last four quarters and missed expectations in one, the average surprise being 15.3%. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK): Free Stock Analysis Report Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report Novavax, Inc. (NVAX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

Why Is Omicron Being Treated Like Ebola?

Why Is Omicron Being Treated Like Ebola? Authored by Professor Angus Dalgleish, op-ed via The Daily Mail, As I listened to ministers react nervously in recent days to the new Omicron Covid variant, I began to experience an all-too-familiar sinking feeling. Shall I put it into words? Here we go again, I thought. Mask mandates have been reimposed in shops, schools and hairdressers, and new swingeing £200 fines will be levied on those who dare to break the rules. Meanwhile, the inevitable chorus of gloomy voices has begun to sing again: that unholy alliance of scientific ‘experts’ who have been given blanket coverage by the BBC and Left-wing media so often during this pandemic. The Government has used these voices as justification to impose fresh restrictions on our lives — as well as to threaten more in future. The Government has used an unholy alliance of scientific ‘experts’ who have been given blanket coverage by the BBC and Left-wing media as justification to impose fresh restrictions on our lives — as well as to threaten more in future. Mask mandates have been reimposed in shops, schools and hairdressers, and new swingeing £200 fines will be levied on those who dare to break the rules Panicking Right now, the key question is: are any of the new measures actually necessary? Yes, there remains much we don’t know about Omicron, but the early signs are distinctly encouraging. Many patients have reportedly recovered quickly from what have been very mild symptoms. Southern Africa, where the variant emerged, has largely avoided panicking. One German epidemiologist, Professor Karl Lauterbach, who is running to be Germany’s next health minister, has even said that a mild strain would be an ‘early Christmas gift’. Given all that, how much can the Government’s hawkish approach truly be justified? Very little, I would submit. Yes, there remains much we don’t know about Omicron, but the early signs are distinctly encouraging Many patients have reportedly recovered quickly from what have been very mild symptoms Jenny Harries: Brits shouldn't socialise with people unless necessary The real danger for most of us now comes not from Omicron or any other coronavirus variant. Instead, it comes from ministers and officials apparently flirting with taking us into yet another era of ruinous restrictions, cancelling Christmas or other cherished holidays, dashing all hope of foreign travel, wrecking the economy and otherwise immiserating our lives at the whim of the state. Yes, a new, heavily mutated coronavirus variant has been identified. But Professor Lauterbach, a highly respected clinical epidemiologist, suggested yesterday that the variant might even be good news. Why? Because its numerous mutations — twice as many as the Delta variant that swept the world this year — mean that though it may well be more infectious, it could also be less deadly. In layman’s terms, this means that more people might catch it, but not suffer serious illness. And that is a good thing — certainly compared to a very infectious, very virulent virus with the capacity to sicken or kill large numbers of people. Anyone infected with a ‘mild’ Covid virus — one unlikely to cause serious disease — will still develop antibodies to guard against future infection. And the more people with such antibodies, the closer we are to the fabled ‘herd immunity’. This, coupled with the help of our highly successful vaccination programme, could even spell the eventual end of the pandemic — though not, it must be said, the end of Covid. This is the sort of grown-up discussion ministers should be having with us. Instead, by announcing new restrictions over the weekend, flanked by his two familiar harbingers of doom, Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the Prime Minister risked terrifying large swathes of the nation all over again — just as they were beginning to catch their breath as the worst of the pandemic was lifting. Anyone infected with a ‘mild’ Covid virus — one unlikely to cause serious disease — will still develop antibodies to guard against future infection Coronavirus restrictions, it should not need pointing out, do not work in isolation. A year ago, I wrote in the Mail how I believed that lockdown was a killer in the making far worse than Covid-19. Today, I stand by that view. From spiralling hospital waiting lists and delayed cancer treatment to the horrendous impact on the mental health of the nation, I think we are seeing the tip of an iceberg of premature deaths from causes other than Covid — and that, in time, history will reveal the second and third lockdowns, at least, for the folly I believe them to be. That is before you contemplate the ramifications of our sabotaged economy: livelihoods destroyed by the enforced shutdown of businesses and High Street firms shuttered thanks to working-from-home mandates. 'Vaccines very likely to be less effective against Omicron': JCVI It is imperative that ministers do not go down that dangerous road again — unless some terrible new variant or new virus with a vastly higher death rate does emerge. Even the most fervent lover of lockdown would be hard-pressed to describe today’s scenario as an Armageddon-in-the-making, especially as the virus is behaving exactly as scientists always suspected that it would. Just as with flu, it is likely that in years to come the world will experience new waves of this coronavirus. Crucially, there is no evidence that these waves will somehow be ever-more lethal. Instead, it is likelier that this virus, like most pathogens, will become less deadly over time. Cautious This flies in the face of those who favour the ‘just-in-case’ argument: that we must be extra cautious and ready to lock down early again, lest the new variant prove more dangerous than anticipated. That argument was valid at the start of the pandemic, when we lacked treatments and vaccinations. But it does not hold any longer. Today, we are well-versed in the ways of our foe. With a few exceptions (usually the unvaccinated), most people are dying with Covid, not necessarily because of it, while others have had an imminent death merely hastened. Even the most compassionate individual must realise that public policy cannot be founded on trying to mitigate against a death that, however sad, was due sooner rather than later. A long time ago, when I was a junior doctor working in A&E, I was initially amazed by the fact that among those admitted to hospital with flu and pneumonia symptoms were the young and fit. That is often the nature with the flu virus. Just as with flu, it is likely that in years to come the world will experience new waves of this coronavirus A percentage of them would end up in intensive care, and a proportion would die — just as they do today. Each individual death was terribly sad, of course, but no one would argue they meant that we should change our health policy. What a contrast with today, when we live in a country increasingly bedevilled by what the former Supreme Court judge Jonathan Sumption has rightly labelled ‘Covid authoritarianism’. Paralysis Flailing Labour politicians, desperate for any stick with which to beat the Government, demand ever-tougher measures: work-from-home advice and yet more masks, with new lockdowns and furlough schemes waiting in the politicians’ arsenal. In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon exhorts her citizens to work from home while demanding tougher restrictions down south. We are not dealing with Ebola, which kills up to 90 per cent of those it infects, but a virus which was found in one Cambridge University study last summer — thanks to vaccinations and better treatments — to have an infection fatality rate of just 0.085 per cent Many of us are only too happy to let such Cassandra-like prophecies drift over our heads, but there are many others who have been frightened into what feels like near-permanent paralysis in the face of the news headlines and political shroud-waving. I see this phenomenon among my own friends. There is a clear divide between those who, like me, think we need to get on with our lives, and others who still appear obsessed with Covid, long after the worst of the virus appears to have retreated. Yet get on we must. We are not dealing with Ebola, which kills up to 90 per cent of those it infects, but a virus which was found in one Cambridge University study last summer — thanks to vaccinations and better treatments — to have an infection fatality rate of just 0.085 per cent. By all means let us watch this virus closely. But let us also retain the clear perspective and the common sense that should hold in a free society.  *  *  * Angus Dalgleish is an oncologist at a London teaching hospital Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Biden Shares Details Of "Winter Plan" As US Braces For COVID Surge

Biden Shares Details Of "Winter Plan" As US Braces For COVID Surge Speaking on Thursday, President Biden is sharing his 'winter plan' to (ostensibly, at least) help combat another wave of COVID infections driven by the omicron variant (or seasonality, nobody knows for certain). Watch live below: Biden said in his speech that his plan "pulls no punches" and even claimed his new measures would receive "bipartisan support", even though the US has only confirmed two cases of omicron, one in San Francisco and one in Minnesota, in a man who had just recently returned from New York City. President Biden reiterated that the omicron variant is cause for "concern not panic". Bidens' plan will revolve around 5 key points, the first of which is... 1. Expanding access to booster shots. Fewer than 300 cases of omicron have been confirmed world-wide, and yet President Biden is insisting that a booster is the only way to protect against it (a strain of the virus which, for all we know, might cause even milder infections than delta). 2. Developing new policies to keep students in school classrooms for longer, including a new policy called "test to stay" allowing students exposed to COVID to remain in classrooms. 3. Encouraging "free" at-home testing by requiring insurance companies to pay or reimburse Americans for the cost of a test. Biden will also use the defense production act to speed production of rapid- and at-home tests. The US has approved at least 8 at-home testing options, and competition is making costs decline. By next month, private insurance companies will cover at-home tests as well as rapid tests and others. Those not covered can pick up free test kits paid for by the federal government. 4. Biden wants to develop a surge plan to respond to any future outbreaks to help communities who experience "rising cases this winter". Biden says the White House has already been working with both Democratic and Republican governors to field "surge response teams" in areas where resources are growing thin. The US already has 20 teams deployed, but Biden wants to triple that to 60 before the end of the winter. 5. Finally, Biden wants to tighten travel restrictions, particularly on foreigners visiting the US. From here on out, all inbound travelers must have a negative COVID test from the last 24 hours, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. In other words, it doesn't matter if you're vaccinated: you still need regular tests to show you don't have COVID, since breakthrough infections are already unsettlingly common. Finally, Biden insisted that his plan wouldn't include shutdowns or lockdowns, and that he expects the economy to function normally throughout the winter. Most of the details of Biden's plan have been shared with the press already. They include new travel restrictions on foreigners and US citizens requiring COVID tests showing a negative result within the 24 hours before departure for foreigners flying to the US. The federal mask mandate for airports, train stations and other public transit hubs will be extended until March. Ultimately, President Biden said, defeating COVID will require "vaccinating the rest of the world". But the sad reality is even if the US succeeds in sending 200 billion doses to the rest of the world (an almost unrealistic target that would take years), it's not clear whether this would be enough to stamp out COVID - in fact, it could simply force the virus to mutate more quickly into increasingly virulent forms. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 14:05.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

South Africa Sees Cases Double As White House Extends Federal Mask Mandate

South Africa Sees Cases Double As White House Extends Federal Mask Mandate Update (1800ET): Now that the first case of the omicron variant has been confirmed in the US (even though Dr. Anthony Fauci insists that all of the case's close contacts have been identified and tested, and that there's no sign of additional cases - at least not right now), the Biden Administration has decided to extend a federal mask mandate through mid-March. The mandate requires travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and buses, and at airports and train stations. President Biden is expected to share his plans for imposing tighter travel restrictions on foreigners on Thursday. The CDC is reportedly already collecting names to give to local authorities so that their viral status can presumably be tracked. * * * As European countries from Germany, to Austria to the Netherlands tighten lockdown measures amid a surge in COVID cases (while deaths remain slightly elevated but more subdued), the continent's unelected bureaucrat in chief, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, asked during a speech on Wednesday that EU members consider adopting a vaccine mandate. All members should "think about" imposing mandates of their own in a coordinated fashion that's in keeping with the Continent's new approach. Source: Reuters Speaking during a news conference, the European Commission chief suggested that member states need mandates to help prevent the spread of cases and a further spike in infections due to the emergence of new variants, such as the omicron strain. "I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now, how we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union," von der Leyen stated, adding that fighting the pandemic requires a "common approach" across the bloc. Meanwhile, a former president of EU member Ireland published an editorial in Politico Europe Wednesday slamming the WTO's refusal to approve sharing of intellectual property that would allow emerging countries to produce their own vaccines. Epidemiologists warned us time and again that allowing the virus to spread around the world is a recipe for new mutations to develop and that they will indiscriminately harm us all. This waiver, which has now dominated WTO talks for over a year, is a necessary global solution to end the pandemic. Yet one powerful voice at the WTO has continued to undermine this effort — and that must change. Isn't it interesting how world leaders talk about vaccine mandates, while simultaneously ensuring that emerging countries will need to purchase their jabs from American pharmaceutical giants? But let's put a pin in that. South Africa has seen the number of new COVID cases doubled between Wednesday and Tuesday, according to official data released by the same people who issued the first warnings about the omicron variant. What's more, a top South African health official said the omicron variant would likely still be susceptible to the T-cell response caused by both natural and vaccine-induced causes. But that hasn't stopped the country from seeing a surge in infections and reinfections, which has been particularly notable among the older population, officials said. Back in Europe, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed new nationwide restrictions on people who haven't been vaccinated. Coincidentally, the WHO said earlier that indications are that most omicron cases will be mild, not severe. Of course, that's true of delta and all the other strains as well. The organization later said that the world is still "in the midst" of the pandemic. But the point is - as even some of South Africa's top virology experts discussed earlier this week and over the weekend - that even if omicron does break through natural and vaccine-induced protections, infections will likely be mild in nearly all of these patients, and the body's T-cell response will leave most people protected. Confirmed cases of the omicron variant remained fewer than 300 (closer to 250 still by midday) while omicron cases were confirmed for the first time in South Korea (which has already imposed travel restrictions on southern African states), Saudi Arabia and Norway. More cases were found in new locations in the UK, Switzerland, Nigeria, Brazil and elsewhere. No cases have been confirmed in the US, but several have been identified in Canada. Source: Bloomberg Here are some other important stories regarding COVID and the omicron variant: Poland reported 29K new COVID cases, the highest in almost eight months, and 570 fatalities, on Wednesday. More alarming: the Health Ministry said 25% of the deaths were among vaccinated patients, mostly elderly people with comorbidities. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on the nation to get boosters ahead of Christmas. The country has imposed new restrictions on travelers but hasn't confirmed a single case of omicron. WHO members voted to start drafting an international agreement to help avoid future pandemics as more cases amid the spread of the omicron variant. The WHO’s members approved a proposal Wednesday that set a deadline of 2024 to try to implement such a measure. They didn’t resolve the biggest disagreement, however: whether the accord should be a legally binding treaty. OECD chief economist Laurence Boone says it would cost $50 billion to vaccinate the world, a sum that pales in comparison to the $10 trillion G-20 countries have spent mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Too bad the US-controlled WTO won't share the recipe with the emerging world. The EU is preparing to recommend that member states review their travel rules daily. They should pursue a "coordinated approach" and be prepared to impose new controls if necessary. Finally, Israel’s coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said the country should look at mandatory vaccination now that the omicron variant has emerged. "Mandatory vaccination needs to be considered, whether through legislation or otherwise, especially given the fact that not only is the pandemic here, but I fear it will get worse," Zarka said on 103FM radio. He said he changed his mind following the appearance of omicron, which has been identified in several Israelis. The US is preparing to impose new travel restrictions while the CDC plans to tighten COVID screening and testing at airports around the country by requiring international travelers to have a negative COVID test result from the past 24 hours. WHO adds that vaccine makers shouldn't rush to rework their vaccines because they're not sure whether new vaccines are necessary. Austrian lawmakers extended a nationwide lockdown for a second 10-day period to suppress the latest wave of coronavirus infections before the Christmas holiday period. Nigeria, meanwhile, has detected a case of omicron from October, the latest piece of evidence to suggest that the variant has likely already spread around the world. The Netherlands says it has found a case of omicron from two weeks ago. Before this, the earliest known sample of the variant was collected on Nov. 9 in South Africa. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 18:25.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

Merkel, EU Chief Call For Vaccine Mandates As South Africa Sees Cases Double In A Day

Merkel, EU Chief Call For Vaccine Mandates As South Africa Sees Cases Double In A Day As European countries from Germany, to Austria to the Netherlands tighten lockdown measures amid a surge in COVID cases (while deaths remain slightly elevated but more subdued), the continent's unelected bureaucrat in chief, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, asked during a speech on Wednesday that EU members consider adopting a vaccine mandate. All members should "think about" imposing mandates of their own in a coordinated fashion that's in keeping with the Continent's new approach. Source: Reuters Speaking during a news conference, the European Commission chief suggested that member states need mandates to help prevent the spread of cases and a further spike in infections due to the emergence of new variants, such as the omicron strain. "I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now, how we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union," von der Leyen stated, adding that fighting the pandemic requires a "common approach" across the bloc. Meanwhile, a former president of EU member Ireland published an editorial in Politico Europe Wednesday slamming the WTO's refusal to approve sharing of intellectual property that would allow emerging countries to produce their own vaccines. Epidemiologists warned us time and again that allowing the virus to spread around the world is a recipe for new mutations to develop and that they will indiscriminately harm us all. This waiver, which has now dominated WTO talks for over a year, is a necessary global solution to end the pandemic. Yet one powerful voice at the WTO has continued to undermine this effort — and that must change. Isn't it interesting how world leaders talk about vaccine mandates, while simultaneously ensuring that emerging countries will need to purchase their jabs from American pharmaceutical giants? But let's put a pin in that. South Africa has seen the number of new COVID cases doubled between Wednesday and Tuesday, according to official data released by the same people who issued the first warnings about the omicron variant. What's more, a top South African health official said the omicron variant would likely still be susceptible to the T-cell response caused by both natural and vaccine-induced causes. But that hasn't stopped the country from seeing a surge in infections and reinfections, which has been particularly notable among the older population, officials said. Back in Europe, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed new nationwide restrictions on people who haven't been vaccinated. Coincidentally, the WHO said earlier that indications are that most omicron cases will be mild, not severe. Of course, that's true of delta and all the other strains as well. The organization later said that the world is still "in the midst" of the pandemic. But the point is - as even some of South Africa's top virology experts discussed earlier this week and over the weekend - that even if omicron does break through natural and vaccine-induced protections, infections will likely be mild in nearly all of these patients, and the body's T-cell response will leave most people protected. Confirmed cases of the omicron variant remained fewer than 300 (closer to 250 still by midday) while omicron cases were confirmed for the first time in South Korea (which has already imposed travel restrictions on southern African states), Saudi Arabia and Norway. More cases were found in new locations in the UK, Switzerland, Nigeria, Brazil and elsewhere. No cases have been confirmed in the US, but several have been identified in Canada. Source: Bloomberg Here are some other important stories regarding COVID and the omicron variant: Poland reported 29K new COVID cases, the highest in almost eight months, and 570 fatalities, on Wednesday. More alarming: the Health Ministry said 25% of the deaths were among vaccinated patients, mostly elderly people with comorbidities. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on the nation to get boosters ahead of Christmas. The country has imposed new restrictions on travelers but hasn't confirmed a single case of omicron. WHO members voted to start drafting an international agreement to help avoid future pandemics as more cases amid the spread of the omicron variant. The WHO’s members approved a proposal Wednesday that set a deadline of 2024 to try to implement such a measure. They didn’t resolve the biggest disagreement, however: whether the accord should be a legally binding treaty. OECD chief economist Laurence Boone says it would cost $50 billion to vaccinate the world, a sum that pales in comparison to the $10 trillion G-20 countries have spent mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Too bad the US-controlled WTO won't share the recipe with the emerging world. The EU is preparing to recommend that member states review their travel rules daily. They should pursue a "coordinated approach" and be prepared to impose new controls if necessary. Finally, Israel’s coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said the country should look at mandatory vaccination now that the omicron variant has emerged. "Mandatory vaccination needs to be considered, whether through legislation or otherwise, especially given the fact that not only is the pandemic here, but I fear it will get worse," Zarka said on 103FM radio. He said he changed his mind following the appearance of omicron, which has been identified in several Israelis. The US is preparing to impose new travel restrictions while the CDC plans to tighten COVID screening and testing at airports around the country by requiring international travelers to have a negative COVID test result from the past 24 hours. WHO adds that vaccine makers shouldn't rush to rework their vaccines because they're not sure whether new vaccines are necessary. Austrian lawmakers extended a nationwide lockdown for a second 10-day period to suppress the latest wave of coronavirus infections before the Christmas holiday period. Nigeria, meanwhile, has detected a case of omicron from October, the latest piece of evidence to suggest that the variant has likely already spread around the world. The Netherlands says it has found a case of omicron from two weeks ago. Before this, the earliest known sample of the variant was collected on Nov. 9 in South Africa. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 12:50.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

Stock Market News for Dec 1, 2021

Benchmarks closed sharply lower on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell proposed US lawmakers consider asset purchases quicker than planned given the present economic scenario. Benchmarks closed sharply lower on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell proposed US lawmakers consider asset purchases quicker than planned given the present economic scenario. Investors also kept a close watch on news associated with the new Covid variant and assessed its impact and risks.How Did the Benchmarks Perform?The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped 652.22 points, or 1.9%, to close at 34,483.72 led into the red with a nearly 4% loss in shares of salesforce.com, inc. CRM. Salesforce carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.The S&P 500 fell 88.27 points, or 1.9%, to close at 4,567 on Tuesday, with all its 11 major sectors closing in the negative. The communication services sector led the decline with 3% loss, while all the other sectors registered at least 1% loss. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 15,537.69, after declining 245.14 points, or 1.6%.On Tuesday, the fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 18.4%, to close at 27.19. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.82-to-1 ratio, while a 2.40-to-1 ratio favored decliners on the Nasdaq. A total of 16.13 billion shares were traded yesterdayregistering the highest volume in a trading session since June, higher than the last 20-session average of 11.12 billion.Powell Signals Monthly Asset Purchases to Speed UpOn Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell along with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen proposed to the Senate Banking Committee that it would be appropriate to consider speeding up the tapering process given the current economic scenario. Powell insists that the decision has been made after reviewing the latest jobs and inflation data ahead of the central bank’s mid-December policy meeting.Powell’s comments suggest that Fed is shifting focus on fighting inflation and its impacts, rather than focusing just on the virus rampage and economic recovery.On the other hand, just a day after President Joe Biden said in the press conference that the omicron variant is concerning, but there is no reason to panic, assuring citizens the fight against it wouldn’t involve “shutdowns or lockdowns,” Moderna, Inc.’s MRNA CEO Stephane Bancel told to the Financial Times that he expects existing vaccines to be less effective against omicron variant, adding to his CNBC’s statement on Monday  it could take months to develop and ship an omicron-specific vaccine. Shares of the vaccine maker dropped 4.4% yesterday.Consumer Confidence Dwindles in NovemberThe government reported yesterday that the index of consumer confidence fell to 109.5 in November, the lowest level in nine months, from upwardly revised 111.6 in October. The consensus estimate was 110 and highlights a dip in optimism as consumers are worried about high inflation, along with the Delta variant dampening sentiments. Consumers are already worried about the biggest surge in inflation in 30 years, which is impacting spending patterns with those planning to purchase homes, autos, and major appliances declining. However, 58% of consumers said jobs are “plentiful,” and are hopeful about the labor market.Economic DataOn Tuesday, the ISM-Chicago and MNI reported that the Chicago Business Barometer, or the Chicago PMI, fell to 61.8 in November, it is the lowest reading since February, from 68.4 in the prior month. Though a reading over 50 signals expansion, investors await the country’s ISM data for November scheduled for release on Dec 1.In a separate report, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index showed that the 10-City Composite annual increased 17.8% year over year, down from 18.6% in the previous month, while the 20-City Composite posted a 19.1% year-over-year gain in September, but lower than 19.6% in the prior month.Monthly RoundupFor the month, only the Nasdaq ended in the green, edging up 0.3%, while the DOW and the S&P 500 closed 3.7% and 0.8% lower. The Russell 2000 also lost nearly 4.3% in November. The new omicron variant of COVID threw benchmarks off track from a record rally in the month. Virus panic, the anticipation of Fed’s interest rate rise, inflation pressures kept investors’ sentiments clouded. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report salesforce.com, inc. (CRM): Free Stock Analysis Report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 1st, 2021

Watch Live: Biden Promises US Will Develop Boosters Targeting Omicron Variant

Watch Live: Biden Promises US Will Develop Boosters Targeting Omicron Variant Update (1210ET): Asked by a reporter if the latest US travel restrictions on southern African countries might be premature, President Biden completely dodged the question, choosing instead to babble on about the US's program for sharing (ie selling) jabs to other countries, including South Africa, which Biden said is actually having trouble finding willing arms for all the jabs (even though the country's vaccination rate is 20%). At times, Biden turned to Dr. Fauci, who was present with him in the White House. He also denied he was calling on local officials to reinstate mask mandates, but said instead that he "encourages everyone" to wear masks in crowded indoor rooms. * * * President Biden is delivering remarks Monday on the omcron variant and the hysteria surrounding what researchers have warned could cause it to outmuscle delta. Watch live below: Biden commented on the variant over the weekend, and on Monday he joined Dr. Fauci by urging Americans not to panic, but insisted that those who haven't been vaccinated should make sure they get the jab, while those who have already been jabbed should make sure they get their boosters. Meanwhile, all the big vaccine makers are promising to produce a new jab set to protect specifically against this new variant, while urging all people to get their vaccines/boosters/another booster in the meaning. Biden's message is the same as Dr. Fauci's from earlier: Don't wait - get your shots now! And don't forget to wear your mask! Americans who have gotten all their shots, but are still afraid, need not worry, Biden said: because the White House would guarantee that its partners at Pfizer and elsewhere will develop new shots to target this variant, which hasn't infected that many people, especially when one considers the intensity of the global reaction. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 12:03.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 29th, 2021

BTFDers Unleashed: Futures, Yields, Oil Jump As Omicron Panic Eases

BTFDers Unleashed: Futures, Yields, Oil Jump As Omicron Panic Eases As expected over the weekend, and as we first noted shortly after electronic markets reopened for trading on Sunday, S&P futures have maintained their overnight gains and have rebounded 0.7% while Nasdaq contracts jumped as much as 1.3% after risk sentiment stabilized following Friday’s carnage and as investors settled in for a few weeks of uncertainty on whether the Omicron variant would derail economic recoveries and the tightening plans of some central banks. Japan led declines in the Asian equity session (which was catching down to Friday's US losses) after the government shut borders to visitors. The region’s reopening stocks such as restaurants, department stores, train operators and travel shares also suffered some losses.  Oil prices bounced $3 a barrel to recoup some of Friday's rout, while the safe haven yen, Swiss franc and 10Y Treasury took a breather after its run higher. Moderna shares jumped as much as 12% in pre-market trading after Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said he suspects the new omicron coronavirus variant may elude current vaccines, and if so, a reformulated shot could be available early in the new year. Which he would obviously say as his company makes money from making vaccines, even if they are not very efficient. Here are some of the other notable premarket movers today: BioNTech (BNTX US) advanced 5% after it said it’s starting with the first steps of developing a new adapted vaccine, according to statement sent by text. Merck & Co. (MRK US) declined 1.6% after it was downgraded to neutral from buy at Citi, which also opens a negative catalyst watch, with “high probability” the drugmaker will abandon development of its HIV treatment. A selection of small biotechs rise again in U.S. premarket trading amid discussion of the companies in StockTwits and after these names outperformed during Friday’s market rout. Palatin Tech (PTN US) +37%, Biofrontera (BFRI US) +22%, 180 Life Sciences (ATNF US) +19%. Bonds gave back some of their gains, with Treasury futures were down 11 ticks. Like other safe havens, the market had rallied sharply as investors priced in the risk of a slower start to rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, and less tightening by some other central banks. Needless to say, Omicron is all anyone can talk about: on one hand, authorities have already orchestrated a lot of global panic: Britain called an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss developments on the virus, even though the South African doctor who discovered the strain and treated cases said symptoms of Omicron were so far mild. The new variant of concern was found as far afield as Canada and Australia as more countries such as Japan imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off. Summarizing the fearmongering dynamic observed, overnight South African health experts - including those who discovered the Omicron variant, said it appears to cause mild symptoms, while the Chinese lapdog organization, WHO, said the variant’s risk is “extremely high”. Investors are trying to work out if the omicron flareup will a relatively brief scare that markets rebound from, or a bigger blow to the global economic recovery. Much remains unanswered about the new strain: South African scientists suggested it’s presenting with mild symptoms so far, though it appears to be more transmissible, but the World Health Organization warned it could fuel future surges of Covid-19 with severe consequences. "There is a lot we don't know about Omicron, but markets have been forced to reassess the global growth outlook until we know more," said Rodrigo Catril, a market strategist at NAB. "Pfizer expects to know within two weeks if Omicron is resistant to its current vaccine, others suggest it may take several weeks. Until then markets are likely to remain jittery." "Despite the irresistible pull of buying-the-dip on tenuous early information on omicron, we are just one negative omicron headline away from going back to where we started,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “Expect plenty of headline-driven whipsaw price action this week.” The emergence of the omicron strain is also complicating monetary policy. Traders have already pushed back the expected timing of a first 25-basis-point rate hike by the Federal Reserve to July from June. Fed Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic played down economic risks from a new variant, saying he’s open to a quicker paring of asset purchases to curb inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speak before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We know that central banks can quickly switch to dovish if they need to,” Mahjabeen Zaman, Citigroup senior investment specialist, said on Bloomberg Television. “The liquidity playbook that we have in play right now will continue to support the market.” European stocks rallied their worst drop in more than a year on Friday, with travel and energy stocks leading the advance. The Stoxx 600 rose 0.9% while FTSE 100 futures gain more than 1%, aided by a report that Reliance may bid for BT Group which jumped as much as 9.5% following a report that India’s Reliance Industries may offer to buy U.K. phone company, though it pared the gain after Reliance denied it’s considering a bid. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde put a brave face on the latest virus scare, saying the euro zone was better equipped to face the economic impact of a new wave of COVID-19 infections or the Omicron variant Japanese shares lead Asian indexes lower after Premier Kishida announces entry ban of all new foreign visitors. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down 0.9% at the lowest level since October 2020, led by Galaxy Entertainment and Meituan. The index followed regional peers lower amid worries about the new Covid variant Omicron. Amid the big movers, Galaxy Entertainment was down 5.4% after police arrested Macau’s junket king, while Meituan falls 7.1% after reporting earnings. In FX, currency markets are stabilizing as the week kicks off yet investors are betting on the possibility of further volatility. The South African rand climbed against the greenback though most emerging-market peers declined along with developing-nation stocks. Turkey’s lira slumped more than 2% after a report at the weekend that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a probe into foreign currency trades. The Swiss franc, euro and yen retreat while loonie and Aussie top G-10 leaderboard after WTI crude futures rally more than 4%. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index hovered after Friday’s drop, and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers; commodity currencies led gains. The euro slipped back below $1.13 and Bunds sold off, yet outperformed Treasuries. The pound was steady against the dollar and rallied against the euro. Australian sovereign bonds pared an opening jump as Treasuries trimmed Friday’s spike amid continuing uncertainty over the fallout from the omicron variant. The Aussie rallied with oil and iron ore. The yen erased an earlier decline as a government announcement on planned border closures starting Tuesday spurred a drop in local equities. The rand strengthens as South African health experts call omicron variant “mild.” In rates, Treasuries were cheaper by 4bp-7bp across the curve in belly-led losses, reversing a portion of Friday’s sharp safe-haven rally as potential economic impact of omicron coronavirus strain continues to be assessed. The Treasury curve bear- steepened and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped as much as 7 basis points to 1.54%; that unwound some of Friday’s 16 basis-point plunge -- the steepest since March 2020.  Focal points include month-end on Tuesday, November jobs report Friday, and Fed Chair Powell is scheduled to speak Monday afternoon. Treasuries broadly steady since yields gapped higher when Asia session began, leaving 10-year around 1.54%, cheaper by almost 7bp on the day; front-end outperformance steepens 2s10s by ~3bp. Long-end may draw support from potential for month-end buying; Bloomberg Treasury index rebalancing was projected to extend duration by 0.11yr as of Nov. 22 In commodities, oil prices bounced after suffering their largest one-day drop since April 2020 on Friday. "The move all but guarantees the OPEC+ alliance will suspend its scheduled increase for January at its meeting on 2 December," wrote analyst at ANZ in a note. "Such headwinds are the reason it's been only gradually raising output in recent months, despite demand rebounding strongly." Brent rebounded 3.9% to $75.57 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose 4.5% to $71.24. Gold has so far found little in the way of safe haven demand, leaving it stuck at $1,791 an ounce . SGX iron ore rises almost 8% to recoup Friday’s losses. Bitcoin rallied after falling below $54,000 on Friday. Looking at today's calendar, we get October pending home sales, and November Dallas Fed manufacturing activity. We also get a bunch of Fed speakers including Williams, Powell making remarks at the New York Fed innovation event, Fed’s Hassan moderating a panel and Fed’s Bowman discussing central bank and indigenous economies. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 4,625.00 MXAP down 0.9% to 191.79 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 625.06 Nikkei down 1.6% to 28,283.92 Topix down 1.8% to 1,948.48 Hang Seng Index down 0.9% to 23,852.24 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,562.70 Sensex up 0.4% to 57,307.46 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.5% to 7,239.82 Kospi down 0.9% to 2,909.32 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.7% to 467.47 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1283 Brent Futures up 3.8% to $75.49/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,797.11 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.13% to 96.22 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The omicron variant of Covid-19, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in locations from Australia to the U.K. and Canada, showing the difficulties of curtailing new strains While health experts in South Africa, where omicron was first detected, said it appeared to cause only mild symptoms, the Geneva-based WHO assessed the variant’s risk as “extremely high” and called on member states to test widely. Understanding the new strain will take several days or weeks, the agency said All travelers arriving in the U.K. starting at 4 a.m. on Nov. 30 must take a PCR coronavirus test on or before the second day of their stay and isolate until they receive a negative result. Face coverings will again be mandatory in shops and other indoor settings and on public transport. Booster shots may also be approved for more age groups within days, according to Health Secretary Sajid Javid The economic effects of the successive waves of the Covid pandemic have been less and less damaging, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau says Italian bonds advance for a third day, as investors shrug off new coronavirus developments over the weekend and stock futures advance, while bunds are little changed ahead of German inflation numbers and a raft of ECB speakers including President Christine Lagarde A European Commission sentiment index fell to 117.5 in November from 118.6 the previous month, data released Monday showed Spanish inflation accelerated to the fastest in nearly three decades in November on rising food prices, underscoring the lingering consequences of supply-chain bottlenecks across Europe. Consumer prices jumped 5.6% Energy prices in Europe surged on Monday after weather forecasts showed colder temperatures for the next two weeks that will lift demand for heating ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel took to the airwaves to reassure her fellow Germans that inflation will slow again, hours before data set to show the fastest pace of price increases since the early 1990s Russia’s ambassador to Washington said more than 50 diplomats and their family members will have to leave the U.S. by mid-2022, in the latest sign of tensions between the former Cold War enemies China sent the biggest sortie of warplanes toward Taiwan in more than seven weeks after a U.S. lawmaker defied a Chinese demand that she abandon a trip to the island A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded cautiously and US equity futures rebounded from Friday’s hefty selling (S&P 500 -2.3%) as all focus remained on the Omicron variant after several countries announced restrictions and their first cases of the new variant, although markets took solace from reports that all cases so far from South Africa have been mild. Furthermore, NIH Director Collins was optimistic that current vaccines are likely to protect against the Omicron variant but also noted it was too early to know the answers, while Goldman Sachs doesn’t think the new variant is a sufficient reason to adjust its portfolio citing comments from South Africa’s NICD that the mutation is unlikely to be more malicious and existing vaccines will most likely remain effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. ASX 200 (-0.5%) is subdued after Australia registered its first cases of the Omicron variant which involved two people that arrived in Sydney from southern Africa and with the government reviewing its border reopening plans. Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) whipsawed whereby it initially slumped at the open due to the virus fears and currency-related headwinds but then recouped its losses and briefly returned flat as the mood gradually improved, before succumbing to a bout of late selling, and with mixed Retail Sales data adding to the indecision. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch) weakened with Meituan the worst performer in Hong Kong after posting a quarterly loss and with casino names pressured by a crackdown in which police detained Suncity Group CEO and others after admitting to accusations including illegal cross border gambling. However, the losses in the mainland were cushioned after firm Industrial Profits data over the weekend and with local press noting expectations for China to adopt a more proactive macro policy next year. Finally, 10yr JGBs shrugged off the pullback seen in T-note and Bund futures, with price action kept afloat amid the cautious mood in stocks and the BoJ’s presence in the market for over JPY 900bln of JGBs mostly concentrated in 3yr-10yr maturities. Top Asian News Hong Kong Stocks Slide to 13-Month Low on Fresh Virus Woes Li Auto Loss Narrows as EV Maker Rides Out Supply-Chain Snarls Singapore Adds to Its Gold Pile for the First Time in Decades China Growth Stocks Look Like Havens as Markets Confront Omicron Bourses in Europe are experiencing a mild broad-based rebound (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.0%; Stoxx 600 +0.9%) following Friday's hefty COVID-induced losses. Desks over the weekend have been framing Friday's losses as somewhat overstretched in holiday-thinned liquidity, given how little is known about the Omicron variant itself. The strain will likely remain the market theme as scientists and policymakers factor in this new variant, whilst data from this point forth – including Friday's US labour market report - will likely be passed off as somewhat stale, and headline risk will likely be abundant. Thus far, symptoms from Omicron are seemingly milder than some of its predecessors, although governments and central banks will likely continue to express caution in this period of uncertainty. Back to price action, the momentum of the rebound has lost steam; US equity futures have also been drifting lower since the European cash open – with the RTY (+0.9%) was the laggard in early European trade vs the ES (+0.8%), NQ (+1.0%) and YM (+0.7%). European cash bourses have also been waning off best levels but remain in positive territory. Sectors are mostly in the green, but the breadth of the market has narrowed since the cash open. Travel & Leisure retains the top spot in what seems to be more a reversal of Friday's exaggerated underperformance as opposed to a fundamentally driven rebound – with more nations announcing travel restrictions to stem the spread of the variant. Oil & Gas has also trimmed some of Friday's losses as oil prices see a modest rebound relative to Friday's slump. On the other end of the spectrum, Healthcare sees mild losses as COVID-related names take a mild breather, although Moderna (+9.1% pre-market) gains ahead of the US open after its Chief Medical Officer suggested a new vaccine for the variant could be ready early next year. Meanwhile, Autos & Parts reside as the current laggard amid several bearish updates, including a Y/Y drop in German car exports - due to the chip shortage and supply bottlenecks – factors which the Daimler Truck CEO suggested will lead to billions of Euros in losses. Furthermore, auto supbt.aplier provider Faurecia (-5.9%) trades at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after slashing guidance – again a function of the chip shortage. In terms of Monday M&A, BT (+4.7%) shares opened higher by almost 10% following source reports in Indian press suggesting Reliance Industries is gearing up for a takeover approach of BT – reports that were subsequently rebuffed. Top European News U.K. Mortgage Approvals Fall to 67,199 in Oct. Vs. Est. 70,000 Johnson Matthey Rises on Report of Battery Talks With Tata Gazprom Reports Record Third-Quarter Profit Amid Gas Surge Omicron’s Spread Fuels Search for Answers as WHO Sounds Warning In FX, the Buck has bounced from Friday’s pullback lows on a mixture of short covering, consolidation and a somewhat more hopeful prognosis of SA’s new coronavirus strand compared to very early perceptions prompted by reports that the latest mutation would be even worse than the Delta variant. In DXY terms, a base above 96.000 is forming within a 93.366-144 band amidst a rebound in US Treasury yields and re-steepening along the curve following comments from Fed’s Bostic indicating a willingness to back faster QE tapering. Ahead, pending home sales and Dallas Fed business manufacturing along with more Fed rhetoric from Williams and chair Powell on the eve of month end. AUD/CAD/NZD - No surprise to see the high beta and risk sensitive currencies take advantage of the somewhat calmer conditions plus a recovery in crude and other commodities that were decimated by the prospect of depressed demand due to the aforementioned Omicron outbreak. The Aussie is back over 0.7150 vs its US counterpart, the Loonie has pared back losses from sub-1.2750 with assistance from WTI’s recovery to top Usd 72/brl vs a Usd 67.40 trough on November 26 and the Kiwi is hovering above 0.6800 even though RBNZ chief economist Ha has warned that a pause in OCR tightening could occur if the fresh COVID-19 wave proves to be a ‘game-changer’. JPY/EUR - The major laggards as sentiment stabilses, with the Yen midway between 112.99-113.88 parameters and hardly helped by mixed Japanese retail sales data, while the Euro has retreated below 1.1300 where 1.7 bn option expiry interest resides and a key Fib level just under the round number irrespective of strong German state inflation reports and encouraging pan Eurozone sentiment indicators, as more nations batten down the hatches to stem the spread of SA’s virus that has shown up in parts of the bloc. GBP/CHF - Both narrowly divergent vs the Dollar, as Cable retains 1.3300+ status against the backdrop of retreating Gilt and Short Sterling futures even though UK consumer credit, mortgage lending and approvals are rather conflicting, while the Franc pivots 0.9250 and meanders from 1.0426 to 1.0453 against the Euro after the latest weekly update on Swiss bank sight deposits showing no sign of official intervention. However, Usd/Chf may veer towards 1.1 bn option expiries at the 0.9275 strike if risk appetite continues to improve ahead of KoF on Tuesday and monthly reserves data. SCANDI/EM - Although Brent has bounced to the benefit of the Nok, Sek outperformance has ensued in wake of an upgrade to final Swedish Q3 GDP, while the Cnh and Cny are deriving support via a rise in Chinese industrial profits on a y/y basis and the Zar is breathing a sigh of relief on the aforementioned ‘better’ virus updates/assessments from SA on balance. Conversely, the Try is back under pressure post-a deterioration in Turkish economic sentiment vs smaller trade deficit as investors look forward to CPI at the end of the week. Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan provides no reprieve for the Lira as he once again defending his unorthodox view that higher interest rates lead to higher inflation. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures consolidate following an overnight rebound – with WTI Jan back on a USD 71/bbl handle and Brent Feb just under USD 75/bbl – albeit still some way off from Friday's best levels which saw the former's high above USD 78/bbl and the latter's best north of USD 81/bbl. The week is packed with risks to the oil complex, including the resumption of Iranian nuclear talks (slated at 13:00GMT/08:00EST today) and the OPEC+ monthly confab. In terms of the former, little is expected in terms of progress unless the US agrees to adhere to Tehran's demand – which at this point seems unlikely. Tehran continues to seek the removal of US sanctions alongside assurances that the US will not withdraw from the deal. "The assertion that the US must 'change its approach if it wants progress' sets a challenging tone", Citi's analysts said, and the bank also expects parties to demand full access to Iranian nuclear facilities for verification of compliance. Further, the IAEA Chief met with Iranian officials last week; although concrete progress was sparse, the overall tone of the meeting was one of progress. "We remain of the opinion that additional Iranian supplies are unlikely to reach the market before the second half of 2022 at the earliest," Citi said. Meanwhile, reports suggested the US and allies have been debating a "Plan B" if talks were to collapse. NBC News – citing European diplomats, former US officials and experts – suggested that options included: 1) a skinny nuclear deal, 2) ramp up sanctions, 3) Launching operations to sabotage Iranian nuclear advances, 4) Military strikes, 5) persuading China to halt Iranian oil imports, albeit Iran and China recently signed a 25yr deal. Over to OPEC+, a rescheduling (in light of the Omicron variant) sees the OPEC and JTC meeting now on the 1st December, followed by the JMMC and OPEC+ on the 2nd. Sources on Friday suggested that members are leaning towards a pause in the planned monthly output, although Russian Deputy PM Novak hit the wires today and suggested there is no need for urgent measures in the oil market. Markets will likely be tested, and expectations massaged with several sources heading into the meeting later this week. Elsewhere, spot gold trades sideways just under the USD 1,800/oz and above a cluster of DMAs, including the 50 (1,790.60/oz), 200 (1,791.30/oz) and 100 (1,792.80/oz) awaiting the next catalyst. Over to base metals, LME copper recoups some of Friday's lost ground, with traders also citing the underlying demand emanating from the EV revolution. US Event Calendar 10am: Oct. Pending Home Sales YoY, prior -7.2% 10am: Oct. Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. 0.8%, prior -2.3% 10:30am: Nov. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 17.0, prior 14.6 Central Bank speakers: 3pm: Fed’s Williams gives opening remarks at NY Innovation Center 3:05pm: Powell Makes Opening Remarks at New York Fed Innovation Event 3:15pm: Fed’s Hassan moderates panel introducing NY Innovation Center 5:05pm: Fed’s Bowman Discusses Central bank and Indigenous Economies DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Last night Henry in my team put out a Q&A looking at what we know about Omicron (link here) as many risk assets put in their worst performance of the year on Friday after it exploded into view. The main reason for the widespread concern is the incredibly high number of mutations, with 32 on the spike protein specifically, which is the part of the virus that allows it to enter human cells. That’s much more than we’ve seen for previous variants, and raises the prospect it could be a more transmissible version of the virus, although scientists are still assessing this. South Africa is clearly where it has been discovered (not necessarily originated from) and where it has been spreading most. The fact that’s it’s become the dominant strain there in just two weeks hints at its higher level of contagiousness. However the read through to elsewhere is tough as the country has only fully vaccinated 24% of its population, relative to at least 68% in most of the larger developed countries bar the US which languishes at 58%. It could still prove less deadly (as virus variants over time mostly are) but if it is more contagious that could offset this and it could still cause similar healthcare issues, especially if vaccines are less protective. On the other hand the South African doctor who first alerted authorities to the unusual symptoms that have now been found to have been caused by Omicron, was on numerous media platforms over the weekend suggesting that the patients she has seen with it were exhausted but generally had mild symptoms. However she also said her patients were from a healthy cohort so we can’t relax too much on this. However as South African cases rise we will get a lot of clues from hospitalisation data even if only 6% of the country is over 65s. My personal view is that we’ll get a lot of information quite quickly around how bad this variant is. The reports over the weekend that numerous cases of Omicron have already been discovered around the world, suggests it’s probably more widespread than people think already. So we will likely soon learn whether these patients present with more severe illness and we’ll also learn of their vaccination status before any official study is out. The only caveat would be that until elderly patients have been exposed in enough scale we won’t be able to rule out the more negative scenarios. Before all that the level of restrictions have been significantly ramped up over the weekend in many countries. Henry discusses this in his note but one very significant one is that ALL travellers coming into (or back to) the UK will have to self isolate until they get a negative PCR test. This sort of thing will dramatically reduce travel, especially short business trips. Overnight Japan have effectively banned ALL foreign visitors. I appreciate its dangerous to be positive on covid at the moment but you only have to look at the UK for signs that boosters are doing a great job. Cases in the elderly population continue to collapse as the roll out progresses well and overall deaths have dropped nearly 20% over the last week to 121 (7-day average) - a tenth of where they were at the peak even though cases have recently been 80-90% of their peak levels. If Europe are just lagging the UK on boosters rather than anything more structural, most countries should be able to control the current wave all things being equal. However Omicron could make things less equal but it would be a huge surprise if vaccines made no impact. Stocks in Asia are trading cautiously but remember that the US and Europe sold off more aggressively after Asia closed on Friday. So the lack of major damage is insightful. The Nikkei (-0.02%), Shanghai Composite (-0.14%), CSI (-0.22%), KOSPI (-0.47%) and Hang Seng (-0.68%) are only slightly lower. Treasury yields, oil, and equity futures are all rising in Asia. US treasury yields are up 4-6bps across the curve, Oil is c.+4.5% higher, while the ZAR is +1.31%. Equity futures are trading higher with the S&P 500 (+0.71%) and DAX (+0.84%) futures in the green. In terms of looking ahead, we may be heading into December this week but there’s still an incredibly eventful period ahead on the market calendar even outside of Omicron. We have payrolls on Friday which could still have a big impact on what the Fed do at their important December 15 FOMC and especially on whether they accelerate the taper. Wednesday (Manufacturing) and Friday (Services) see the latest global PMIs which will as ever be closely watched even if people will suggest that the latest virus surge and now Omicron variant may make it backward looking. Elsewhere in the Euro Area, we’ll get the flash CPI estimate for November tomorrow (France and Italy on the same day with Germany today), and we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell as he testifies (with Mrs Yellen) before congressional committees tomorrow and Wednesday. There’s lots of other Fed speakers this week (ahead of their blackout from this coming weekend) and last week there was a definite shift towards a faster taper bias, even amongst the doves on the committee with Daly being the most important potential convert. Fed speakers this week might though have to balance the emergence of the new variant with the obvious point that without it the Fed is a fair bit behind the curve. Importantly but lurking in the background, Friday is also the US funding deadline before another government shutdown. History would suggest a tense last minute deal but it’s tough to predict. Recapping last week now and the emergence of the new variant reshaped the whole week even if ahead of this, continued case growth across Europe prompted renewed lockdown measures and travel bans across the continent. Risk sentiment clearly plummeted on Friday. The S&P 500 fell -2.27%, the biggest drop since October 2020, while the Stoxx 600 fell -3.67%, the biggest one-day decline since the original Covid-induced risk off in March 2020. The S&P 500 was -2.20% lower last week, while the Stoxx 600 was down -4.53% on the week. 10yr treasury, bund, and gilt yields declined -16.1bps, -8.7bps, and -14.5bps, undoing the inflation and policy response-driven selloff from earlier in the week. The drop in 10yr treasury and gilt yields were the biggest one-day declines since the original Covid-driven rally in March 2020, while the drop in bund yields was the largest since April 2020. 10yr treasury, bund, and gilt yields ended the week -7.3bps lower, +0.7bps higher, and -5.4bps lower, respectively. Measures of inflation compensation declined due to the anticipated hit to global demand, with 10yr breakevens in the US and Germany -6.8bps and -8.8bps lower Friday, along with Brent and WTI futures declining -11.55% and -13.06%, respectively. Investors pushed back the anticipated timing of rate hikes. As it stands, the first full Fed hike is just about priced for July, and 2 hikes are priced for 2022. This follows a hawkish tone from even the most dovish FOMC members and the November FOMC minutes last week. The prevailing sentiment was the FOMC was preparing to accelerate their asset purchase taper at the December meeting to enable inflation-fighting rate hikes earlier in 2022. Understanding the impact of the new variant will be crucial for interpreting the Fed’s reaction function, though. The impact may not be so obvious; while a new variant would certainly hurt global demand and portend more policy accommodation, it will also likely prompt more virus-avoiding behaviour in the labour market, preventing workers from returning to pre-Covid levels. Whether the Fed decides to accommodate these sidelined workers for longer, or to re-think what constitutes full employment in a Covid world should inform your view on whether they accelerate tapering in December. It feels like a lifetime ago but last week also saw President Biden nominate Chair Powell to head the Fed for another term, and for Governor Brainard to serve as Vice Chair. The announcement led to a selloff in rates as the more dovish Brainard did not land the head job. In Germany, the center-left SPD, Greens, and liberal FDP agreed to a full coalition deal. The traffic-light coalition agreed to restore the debt break in 2023, after being suspended during the pandemic, and to raise the minimum wage to €12 per hour. The SPD’s Olaf Scholz will assume the Chancellorship. The US, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and UK announced releases of strategic petroleum reserves. Oil prices were higher following the announcement, in part because releases were smaller than anticipated but, as mentioned, prices dropped precipitously on Friday on the global demand impact of the new Covid variant. The ECB released the minutes of the October Governing Council meeting, where officials stressed the need to maintain optionality in their policy setting. They acknowledged growing upside risks to inflation but stressed the importance of not overreacting in setting policy as they see how inflation scenarios might unfold. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 08:01.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 29th, 2021

Confused about whether to get a booster? Health experts share what they"re telling friends and family

Some experts suggest that adults with mild asthma and people in their 40s and 50s consider a booster shot after five or six months. Nurse Alix Zacharski, left, receives a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot from Douglas Houghton, right, at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on October 5, 2021. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky The CDC recommends COVID-19 booster shots for some groups after six months. But some health experts say there's probably a longer list of people who could benefit from boosters. Four experts shared what they tell their own friends and family about whether to get boosters, and when. It's the question on many Americans' minds: Should I get a booster shot? And if so, when's the best time?Research has shown that COVID-19 vaccines are less effective after about six months against the Delta variant - which represents nearly all cases in the US. That means vulnerable groups may need added protection, though for most people, COVID-19 vaccines are still highly protective against hospitalization and death for at least six months.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends booster shots for people ages 65 and up, adults who live or work in settings with high levels of exposure to the virus, and adults with underlying medical conditions.But health experts say there's probably a longer list of people who'd benefit from a booster.Insider asked four experts what advice they're giving to their own friends and family about whether to get boosted, and when. Most said that young, healthy people in their 20s and 30s likely don't need boosters even at the six-month mark. But some experts suggested that adults with mild asthma or people in their 40s and 50s might consider a booster after six months, even though they're not on the CDC list.Here's what experts are telling their loved ones.Experts disagree about the age cutoff A Thai healthcare worker receives a booster dose of Pfizer's vaccine in Bangkok on August 9, 2021. Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images David O'Connor, a pathology professor at the University of Wisconsin, said there's little downside to adults of all ages getting a booster."I don't feel bad at all telling those people who are vaccine-willing and vaccine enthusiastic to go out and get boosted if they're able," he said."We have a choice as we look into the winter," O'Connor added. "Down one path, we have being reluctant and living with waning immunity, living with cases and the problems that brings with it. Down the other path, we have something that looks more like Israel, where a large fraction of the population is highly protected from being infected in any way with Delta. I don't know why you would choose the first path when the second path is right in front of us."Other experts aren't so keen on recommending boosters for younger people, though."In some people, they can develop an inflammatory response that leads to side effects such as myocarditis," or inflammation of the heart muscle, Dr. Simon Li, who helps run the Pfizer COVID-19 pediatric vaccine clinical trial at Rutgers University, told Insider. Li said he's not recommending booster shots to his siblings, who are in their 40s and have no preexisting conditions. Gary McLean, a professor of molecular immunology at London Metropolitan University, said people in their 40s and 50s "could explore the possibility of getting a booster." But people in their 20s and 30s probably don't need one, he added.People who are overweight or have mild asthma should get boosters, experts said Nurse Mari Paz takes an asthma inhaler at the Sant Andreu de la Barca Primary Health Care Center in Spain on June 2, 2020. David Ramos/Getty Images Bernadette Boden-Albala, director of the public-health program at the University of California, Irvine, said she's giving out the same recommendations as the CDC. She underscored the need for pregnant people to consider boosters, since the risk of dying from COVID-19 is nearly twice as high for pregnant women as for nonpregnant women."The rates of death among women who ended up with COVID who were pregnant are just really scary," Boden-Albala said. "My daughter was pregnant pre-vaccine and it's a scary, scary thing."Experts also agreed that anyone with mild asthma should consider a booster. The CDC only recommends boosters for people with moderate or severe asthma right now. But O'Connor, who has mild asthma, said he'd already scheduled his booster shot.Some experts weren't keen on boosters for workers in retail or corporate offices A woman wearing mask holds up a pink sweater while shopping. Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images People at high risk of getting COVID-19 on the job include first responders, postal workers, public transit workers, and anyone who works in schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, grocery stores, or homeless shelters, according to the CDC. But experts said that list isn't comprehensive."If you're going to be exposed to the virus, then you're potentially in a high-risk environment," O'Connor said. "There's enough latitude right now that you can self-select yourself into one of those groups, if you are so inclined."Other experts noted, though, that retail workers and people returning to corporate offices may not need boosters right away. McLean said those people probably have fewer, shorter interactions with others than doctors or teachers.Plus, he added, "they can take other precautions, such as allowing fewer people in the environments, wearing face protection, practicing distancing as best they can."There's little benefit to waiting longer than 6 months for a booster An empty vaccine waiting area at a Walgreens in Miami Beach, Florida. Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images McLean, who got the AstraZeneca vaccine, said he got antibody tested around six months after his second shot and found that his levels were "really low." That's consistent with research on the Pfizer vaccine: A study found that coronavirus antibodies waned significantly after six months among nearly 5,000 healthcare workers. (Antibodies aren't the only form of immunity, though: Vaccines also spur the body to produce T-cells, which help prevent disease.)Another study found that Pfizer's shot was just 47% protective against infection after five months, though the vaccine was still 93% effective against hospitalization for up to six months."Five, six months after double-jab, immunity tends to wane, and it's a good time for a booster," McLean said, adding, "That could be extended to eight without hopefully too many dramatic effects, but I think tightening it up is better."O'Connor said it may be good to get a booster before winter, when more people will travel and congregate indoors. "The idea that you should wait and have lesser protection - I don't understand the argument," he said.One expert recommended Pfizer or Moderna boosters over J&J A man receives a booster shot at the VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois, September 24, 2021. Scott Olson/Getty Images The CDC advises anyone who got Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine at least two months ago to get boosted. The agency's latest guidelines say that people can choose any vaccine for their booster.O'Connor said he's telling friends and family who received one dose of J&J to get a dose of Pfizer or Moderna - though "a J&J booster is better than none at all," he said.Those who got mRNA vaccines can mix and match too, he said, though it probably doesn't matter."If you had Moderna and you get Pfizer, it's fine. If you had Pfizer and you get Pfizer, it's fine. If you had Pfizer and you get Moderna, fine," O'Connor said. "The sooner that we stop brand-shopping the vaccines, the better."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 28th, 2021

Democrats are set to unveil a new billionaire"s tax and some of the wealthiest Americans are glad. Here are some of the ultrawealthy who want higher taxes.

The group includes Mark Cuban, George Soros, Ray Dalio, Abigail Disney, members of the Pritzker and Gund families, and a Facebook cofounder. 'Shark Tank' star Mark Cuban Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images To pay for Biden's social spending agenda, Democrats are considering a new tax targeting billionaires. Billionaires including Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff, Ray Dalio, and George Soros have publicly called for higher taxes on the wealthy. A wealth tax would make ultrawealthy Americans pay the government a small percentage of their net worth each year. In 2020, Bill Gates' New Year's resolution was to get the federal government to raise taxes on the ultrawealthy - including himself. Now, that wish might come true, as Democrats eye higher taxes on America's billionaires."We've updated our tax system before to keep up with changing times, and we need to do it again, starting with raising taxes on people like me," Gates wrote on his blog at the time.That's exactly what Democrats are planning to propose this week. A plan authored by Sen. Ron Wyden would target the unrealized gains - value that assets like stock accrue - of billionaires every year. It's not quite an outright wealth tax, but it comes close. And it would pay for the social safety net bill Democrats hope to vote on this week that includes expansions to healthcare and childcare for Americans.While Elon Musk ripped the plan on Twitter, other billionaires from Warren Buffett to George Soros have proposed a wealth tax as a way to combat America's growing wealth gap and fund healthcare and education initiatives. In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, a group of 18 ultrawealthy Americans, including Abigail Disney and members of the Pritzker and Gund families, published an open letter asking presidential candidates to support a moderate wealth tax.Politicians, too, rolled out proposals on this front: A wealth tax like the one proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren would make ultrawealthy Americans pay the federal government a small percentage of their net worth each year. Bernie Sanders unveiled a wealth-tax plan that is even more aggressive than Warren's.Inequality exacerbated by the pandemic has more strenuously renewed calls for a wealth tax, as America's billionaires added $2.1 trillion to their fortunes as millions dealt with with pandemic-induced unemployment and poverty. Mounting inequality isn't a new issue: In 2018, income inequality in the US reached its highest level in more than half a century. The ultrawealthy actually paid a smaller portion of their income in taxes than average Americans in 2018, an analysis of tax data by the University of California at Berkeley's Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman found.While the idea of using a wealth tax to solve America's inequality problem has gained traction in recent years, proposals have been hampered by questions over the effectiveness and the constitutionality of such a tax, Business Insider previously reported.Keep reading to learn more about some of the most high-profile billionaires and multimillionaires who have publicly supported raising taxes on the 1%, listed in chronological order. The founder of Jimmy John's says it's "bullshit" that wealthy people are taking out loans to live on that are free of taxes. Irene Jiang / Business Insider Jimmy John Liautaud told The Daily Beast that he knows a lot of people have "accumulated massive, massive wealth" — and then borrow money. As ProPublica reported, taking out loans against large fortunes is one method that the ultra-wealthy employ to reduce how much they owe in taxes, since loans aren't taxed."That's tax free. And I think it's bullshit," Liautaud told the Daily Beast.When it comes to gains for assets, he said: "Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, every year this shit's compounding. I paid more tax than Warren Buffett. And I'm worth 2 billion fucking dollars." Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban proposed taxing the wealthy to offset cutting payroll taxes in a November 2017 tweet. Getty/Michael Kovac —Mark Cuban (@mcuban) November 24, 2017Now best known for his appearances on ABC's "Shark Tank," Cuban built a $4.5 billion fortune through a lifetime of business deals, including the $5.7 billion sale of Broadcast.com, and his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks, Business Insider reported. Bill Gates has said he's paid over $10 billion in taxes over his lifetime - but he doesn't think that's enough. Bill Gates speaks ahead of former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017 in New York City. Yana Paskova/Getty Images "I need to pay higher taxes," Gates said in a 2018 interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "I've paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes."In a December 30, 2019, post on his blog, Gates Notes, Gates proposed raising the estate tax and removing the cap on the amount of income subject to Medicare taxes. He also suggested closing the carried interest loophole that allows fund managers to pay lower capital gains rates on their incomes and making state and local taxes fairer, Market Insider's Theron Mohamed previously reported."That's why I'm for a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage in taxes," Gates wrote. "And I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me." On CNBC's Squawk Box, Warren Buffett said raising billionaires' taxes is the best way to help "a guy who is a wonderful citizen" but "just doesn't have market skills." Bill Pugliano/Getty "The wealthy are definitely undertaxed relative to the general population," Buffett said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" in February 2019. Buffett has suggested that Congress expand income tax credits for low-income Americans, raising taxes on high earners in the process, CNBC reported. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he "should be paying higher taxes" at a CNN town hall in February, but called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposed 70% marginal tax rate for millionaires "punitive." Howard Schultz. Owen Hoffmann / Contributor / Getty Images Schultz built a $3.8 billion fortune running the coffee chain, Business Insider previously reported. While Schultz left Starbucks in 2018, he still held onto more than 37.7 million shares — or roughly 3% — of the company's stock. When asked if the wealthy should pay more in taxes on "60 Minutes," billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio replied: "Of course." Hollis Johnson/Business Insider In the "60 Minutes" segment, Dalio said he thinks the American dream is lost and referred to the wealth gap as a "national emergency." Dalio, 70, founded his hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, in his apartment in 1975, Business Insider reported. It now has $150 billion in assets under management. Dalio has a net worth of $20 billion, Forbes estimates. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of The Walt Disney Company cofounder Roy Disney, has made a name for herself as one of the biggest advocates for closing America's wealth gap. Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images The granddaughter of The Walt Disney Co. cofounder Roy Disney has made a name for herself as one of the company's most outspoken critics. The 59-year-old heiress has criticized the salary of Disney CEO Bob Iger and defended Meryl Streep after she called Walt Disney a "bigot," according to CNN Business.Disney has a net worth of $120 million, she said in July 2019. "The internet says I have half a billion dollars and I might have something close to that if I'd been investing aggressively," Disney told the Financial Times.She testified in support of Elizabeth Warren's proposed wealth tax in April 2021, and called out the methods the ultra-wealthy use to evade taxes in a June essay for the Atlantic.Disney was one of 18 ultrawealthy Americas to sign an open letter in June asking presidential candidates to support a moderate wealth tax. The letter isn't the first time that Disney has spoken out about tax reform. Disney criticized the 2017 Republican tax bill in a NowThis video, saying the bill unfairly benefited the wealthy. Heiress Agnes Gund and her daughter Catherine Gund also signed the wealth tax letter. Catherine Gund, left, with her mother, Agnes Gund, and Stanley Whitney Getty Images / Sean Zanni / Contributor In 2015, Forbes estimated that the Gund family had a net worth of $3.4 billion and ranked them among the 100 wealthiest families in America.Agnes Gund, 83, used the fortune she inherited from her father, the president of an Ohio-based bank, to become a philanthropist in arts and social justice, according to The New York Times. Agnes Gund received the National Medal of the Arts in 1997 from President Bill Clinton for her work, which included serving as the president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.Catherine Gund, 56, is an Emmy-winning film director and producer. Gund founded nonprofit production studio Aubin Pictures in 1996, according to her previous biography on the studio's website. The Gunds weren't the only family who signed the letter together. So did Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes and his husband, political activist Sean Eldridge. Chris Hughes Facebook Page Hughes is a cofounder of Facebook. He left the social network in 2007 to become the online organizer for Barack Obama's first presidential campaign. Despite calling for Facebook to be broken up in May 2019, Hughes had a stake in the company worth $850 million, Newsweek reports. In 2016, Forbes put Hughes' net worth at $430 million.In April 2021, Hughes told CNBC that Americans are "throwing out the idea that markets were ever free" and that it's time for a new capitalism.Eldridge is a political activist and former congressional candidate in New York, according to Vanity Fair. Eldridge was born in Canada. Ian and Liesel Pritzker Simmons signed the letter together. Ian Simmons, Co-Founder and Principal of Blue Haven Initiative, poses at his office in Cambridge, Mass., Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. A handful of billionaires and multimillionaires are making a renewed push for the government to raise their taxes and siphon away some of their holdings. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer "This is really a conservative position about increasing the stability of the economy in the long term and having an efficient source of taxation," Simmons told the Associated Press.Simmons, 44, serves as the cofounder and principal of impact investing firm Blue Haven Initiative alongside his wife and fellow signatory, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, according to the firm's website. Simmons is the heir to a family fortune that stems from the construction of locks on the Erie Canal, according to Forbes.Pritzker Simmons, an heir to the Pritzker family fortune, has a net worth of $600 million, according to a 2013 Forbes article. Simmons, now 35, is also a cofounder and principal of Blue Haven Initiative.As a child, she starred in several big-name Hollywood productions, including "A Little Princess" and "Air Force One," alongside Harrison Ford. In 2002, Forbes reports, she sued her father and the Pritzker family and came away from it with a $500 million payout. Simmons called retired Massachusetts real-estate developer Robert Bowditch and convinced him to sign the letter, too. Shutterstock "Charitable giving by itself simply cannot provide enough money to support public goods and services, such as public education, roads and bridges, clean air," Bowditch told the Associated Press in October 2019. "It has to be done by taxes."Bowditch has previously advocated for raising taxes on the wealthy: In 2010, he signed an open letter to President Obama asking him to allow tax cuts for millionaires to expire, according to a CBS affiliate in Boston. Billionaire financier George Soros signed the letter with his son, Alexander Soros. Manny Carabel/WireImage According to his personal website, Alexander Soros, 35, serves as deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations, a nonprofit founded by his father. George Soros told The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin he supports a wealth tax even though it creates "a moral problem" for him. Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images "I am in favor of taxing the rich," George Soros, 89, told The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin in October 2019, "including a wealth tax. A financier makes people suspicious ... and it does create a moral problem for me. As I became so successful, it basically put a self-imposed constraint on me that actually interfered with making money."The philanthropist made his fortune running Quantum Fund, which was once the largest hedge fund in the world. Soros has a net worth of $8.3 billion, Business Insider reported. Investor Nick Hanauer believes a wealth tax would be good for America's economy. Courtesy of Nick Hanauer "A wealth tax would not just be fair — it would be pro-growth," Hanauer wrote in an essay advocating for a wealth tax published on Business Insider. "And don't let the trickle-downers tell you otherwise."Hanauer, 62, was an early investor in Amazon, according to his personal website. Business Insider previously reported that Hanauer is a longtime critic of America's income inequality.Business Insider's Rich Feloni reported that Hanauer has said he's not a billionaire, but that, as both he and his wife have signed The Giving Pledge, their combined net worth at least approaches the $1 billion threshold. Heiress and attorney Molly Munger told the Associated Press that seeing empty Newport Beach mansions from her family's boat on Memorial Day made her consider a wealth tax. Lacy O'Toole/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images "It's just too much to watch that happen at the top and see what is happening at the bottom," Munger told the Associated Press in October 2019. "Isn't it a waste when beautiful homes on the beach are empty for most of the summer?"Munger, 71, is the oldest daughter of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger. Munger is a Harvard Law graduate who works as a civil rights attorney in Pasadena, California, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2012, she advocated for a tax hike in California to boost funding for the state's public schools. Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in June 2019 advocating for a wealth tax, saying American capitalism "isn't working." AP Broad doesn't believe that his philanthropic work and other policies including a $15 minimum wage, expanding access to health care, and reforming public education are doing enough to help low-income Americans, he wrote in The New York Times."It's time to start talking seriously about a wealth tax," Broad wrote in The Times. "I simply believe it's time for those of us with great wealth to commit to reducing income inequality, starting with the demand to be taxed at a higher rate than everyone else."Broad built a $6.9 billion fortune after cofounding home builder Kaufman & Broad, according to Forbes. Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff proposed a wealth tax in an October New York Times essay. Kimberley White/Getty Images "Local efforts — like the tax I supported last year on San Francisco's largest companies to address our city's urgent homelessness crisis — will help," Benioff wrote in The New York Times in October 2019. "Nationally, increasing taxes on high-income individuals like myself would help generate the trillions of dollars that we desperately need to improve education and health care and fight climate change."Benioff built a $6.5 billion fortune after founding software developer Salesforce. Benioff currently serves as the company's CEO. Michael Bloomberg has made raising taxes on the wealthy a key part of his 2020 presidential campaign. FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg addresses a news conference after launching his presidential bid in Norfolk, Virginia Reuters Bloomberg has included promises to support "taxing wealthy people like me" in ads since launching his campaign in November, Bloomberg News reported at the time.As Politico reported, Bloomberg ultimately proposed a 5% surtax for people earning over $5 million annually — as well as an increase to the capital gains rate and corporate tax rate. But Bloomberg said during his campaign that he believes that Warren and Sanders' wealth tax "just doesn't work," he said at campaign stop in Phoenix in November. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021