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Nasdaq scales record peak ahead of Apple, Amazon results

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October 28, 2021

By Devik Jain and Shashank Nayar

(Reuters) – The Nasdaq hit a record high on Thursday, led by mega-cap companies Apple, Amazon.com and Tesla, while solid results from Caterpillar and Merck helped investors shrug off signs of slowing economic growth.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors advanced, with technology hitting an all-time high and consumer discretionary rising more than 1%.

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Shares of Tesla Inc rose 3.4%. Apple and e-commerce giant Amazon.com gained 2.6% and 1.9%, respectively, ahead of their earnings reports later in the day that would wrap up a largely upbeat reporting season for Wall Street’s tech titans.

Ford Motor Co jumped 8.4% after the carmaker topped third-quarter profit estimates and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Caterpillar Inc added 3.2% after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit on rising commodity prices, while a forecast raise by drugmaker Merck & Co Inc helped its shares gain 4.6%.

“We are still favorable on US equities and don’t expect any near term reasons for the bullishness to fade which is led on by strong earnings,” said James Gaul, portfolio manager at Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors.

“There are supply chain issues affecting short-term results but there is anticipation for strong demand and supply issues subsiding going ahead, and for all major sectors the long term is attractive.”

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The Commerce Department’s report showed the U.S. economy grew at a 2% annualized rate in the third quarter as COVID-19 infections flared up, while another set of data showed fewer Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week.

“Slower growth in Q3 was the result of a normalization of spending activity and the significant bottlenecks that remained … it will not dissuade the Fed from deciding on a gradual end to its bond purchases next week, given the good situation on the labor market and increasing price risks,” Bernd Weidensteiner, senior economist at Commerzbank, said in a note.

Stellar earnings reports have driven the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average to record highs this week, with analysts expecting profits for S&P 500 companies to grow 38.6% year-on-year in the third quarter.

At 11:57 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 137.92 points, or 0.39%, at 35,628.61, the S&P 500 was up 33.32 points, or 0.73%, at 4,585.00, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 165.59 points, or 1.09%, at 15,401.42.

Tech and growth stocks also got a boost from a pullback in the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield, which had hit its highest level since mid-May last week on inflation and rate-hike concerns. [US/]

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President Joe Biden said he had secured a new $1.75 trillion framework for economic and climate change spending that could pass the Senate, and expressed confidence it would win the backing of all wings of the Democratic Party.

Among the biggest losers, EBay Inc fell 7.5% after the e-commerce firm forecast downbeat holiday-quarter revenue.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.95-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.22-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 30 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 77 new highs and 76 new lows.

(Reporting by Devik Jain and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Maju Samuel and Aditya Soni)

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U.S. stock futures, oil regain some ground after Omicron battering

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November 29, 2021

By Wayne Cole

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian markets regained a little composure on Monday as investors settled in for a few weeks of uncertainty on whether the Omicron variant would really derail economic recoveries and the tightening plans of some central banks.

Oil prices also bounced $3 a barrel to recoup some of Friday’s shellacking, while the safe haven yen took a breather after its run higher.

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The new variant of concern was found as far afield as Canada and Australia as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off.

Britain called an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss developments on the virus, although a South African doctor who had treated cases said symptoms of Omicron were so far mild.

“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.”

Trading was erratic early on Monday but there were signs of stabilisation as S&P 500 futures added 0.8% and Nasdaq futures 0.9%.

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Both indices suffered their sharpest fall in months on Friday with travel and airline stocks hit particularly hard.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.1% but was off early lows. Likewise, Japan’s Nikkei pared early losses to be down 0.9%.

Bonds gave back some of their gains, with Treasury futures down 11 ticks. 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.

Two-year Treasury yields edged up to 0.55%, after falling 14 basis points on Friday in the biggest drop since March last year. Fed fund futures had pushed the first rate rise out by a month or so.

The shift in expectations undermined the U.S. dollar, to the benefit of the safe haven Japanese yen and Swiss franc.

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Early Monday the dollar had steadied somewhat at 113.81 yen, after sliding 1.7% on Friday. The dollar index held at 96.190, after Friday’s 0.7% drop.

The euro paused at $1.1294, following its rally from $1.1203 late last week.

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.

The economic diary is also busy this week with China’s manufacturing PMIs on Tuesday to offer another update on the health of the Asian giant. The U.S. ISM survey of factories is out on Wednesday, ahead of payrolls on Friday.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speak before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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In commodity markets, 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.

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(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Richard Pullin & Shri Navaratnam)

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Nissan Motor to spend $17.6 billion to accelerate electrification

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November 29, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co said on Monday it will spend 2 trillion yen ($17.59 billion) over the next five years to accelerate vehicle electrification as it bets tighter carbon emission restrictions will spur demand for electric cars and hybrids.

Japan’s No. 3 car maker will introduce 23 electrified vehicles by 2030, including 15 electric vehicles (EV), and plans to introduce all solid-state batteries by March 2029, it said in a statement.

Nissan’s deeper push into battery-powered cars comes as consumer demand for such vehicles grows in key auto markets such as China and the United States and as its competitors release new electric vehicles.

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Although still only a small portion of vehicles on the road, global electric car registrations in 2020 grew 41% even as the overall car market contracted by almost a sixth, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Nissan, like other Japanese car makers, however, has yet to commit to completely abandoning fossil-fuel vehicles.

At the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow this month, major car makers, including General Motors and Ford Motor Co, signed on to a declaration that committed them to phase out fossil fuel vehicles by 2040.

($1 = 113.7000 yen)

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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Shares of Macau casino operator Suncity suspended -HKEX

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November 29, 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Shares of Suncity Group Holdings Ltd were suspended on Monday after its chief executive was believed to be among 11 people arrested by Macau authorities on Sunday over alleged links to cross-border gambling and money laundering.

The South China Morning Post reported that Macau police said on Sunday a 47-year-old businessman surnamed Chau was among those arrested. Alvin Chau is head of Suncity.

Suncity could not be reached for comment. Shares of the company last closed at HK$0.255.

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(Reporting By Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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