Inventory futures fall amid fears of latest Covid variant present in South Africa

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

US stocks fell on Friday renewed Covid fears about a new variant found in South Africa.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 800 points, or more than 2%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were down 1.4% and 0.9%, respectively. Friday is a shortened trading day due to the Thanksgiving holiday as U.S. markets close at 1:00 p.m. ET.

The downward movement came after WHO officials on Thursday before a new Covid-19 variant discovered in South Africa. The new variant contains more mutations in the spike protein, the cell-binding component of the virus, than the highly contagious Delta variant. Because of these mutations, scientists fear that vaccine resistance may be increased, although WHO said more research is needed.

the Britain has temporarily suspended flights from six African countries due to the variant. Israel banned travel to multiple countries after reporting a case to a traveler. Two cases have been identified in Hong Kong. Belgium also confirmed a case.

“When I read that there is one [case] in Belgium and one in Botswana, we’ll wake up next week and find one in this country. And I am not going to recommend anyone buy anything today until we are sure it isn’t going to happen and I can’t be sure that it doesn’t, “said CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

Bond prices rose and yields fell in the midst of a flight to safety. The return on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond decreased by 13 basis points to 1.511% (1 basis point corresponds to 0.01%). This was a sharp reversal as yields jumped above 1.68% at times earlier in the week. Bond yields move in the opposite direction to prices.

Oil prices also fell US crude oil futures declined 6.2% to $ 73.57 a barrel, while the South African rand fell 1.7% against the greenback to 16.231 a barrel.

The Asian markets were hit hard by Friday trading, with the Japanese Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong Hang Seng indexes each falling more than 2%. Bitcoin fell 8%.

Often referred to as Wall Street’s “fear measure,” the Cboe volatility index rose to 28, its highest level in two months.

Travel-related stocks were hit the hardest as Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean both lost more than 10% in pre-opening trading. United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines each fell more than 7%. Boeing lost 6%. Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide were down more than 5%.

Bank stocks fell on fears of a slowdown in economic activity and falling interest rates. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup each lost more than 4%.

Industrials associated with the global economy, led by Caterpillar, fell 3%. Dow Inc. lost 2%.

Chevron lost nearly 5% as energy stocks reacted to the surge in crude oil prices.

On the other hand, investors pushed their way into vaccine manufacturers. The Moderna share gained more than 8%. Pfizer shares were up 5%.

Some of the home games that had risen in the first few months of the pandemic were higher again. Zoom-Video added 9%. Netflix was up 2%.

“It’s important to emphasize that very little is known about this newest strain at this point, including whether it can bypass vaccines or how severe it is compared to other mutations. Therefore, it is difficult to make informed investment decisions at this point. ”Paul Hickey of the Investment Group said in a statement to clients. “Historically, chasing a rally or selling into a sharp decline (especially on a very illiquid trading day) is rarely profitable, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people this morning.”

Several investment professionals told CNBC on Friday that the sell-off could be a buying opportunity.

“Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, probably not that many traders on their desks with an early close today. Therefore, potentially lower liquidity is causing part of the withdrawal, “said Ajene Oden of BNY Mellon Investor Solutions on CNBC’s”Squawk box. ”“ But the reaction we’re seeing is an investor buying opportunity. We have to think long-term. “

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Markets closed for Thanksgiving Thursday, so stocks posted modest gains on Wednesday that dampened the week’s losses for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite. During the holiday weeks, the trading volume tends to be low.

A surge in Treasury yields earlier this week put high-growth stocks under pressure. The Nasdaq is down 1.3% for the week, while the S&P 500 is up less than 0.1% and the Dow is up about 0.6%.

The last few weeks of the year are typically a busy time for the market, with the so-called Santa Claus rally usually bringing happy holidays for Wall Street. The S&P 500 is up 25% since the start of the year.

Friday also marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season as investors look to Black Friday insights to set US consumer sentiment.

Retail executives have been speaking for the past few weeks about how to deal with supply chain issues and inflation. It also remains to be seen whether the discussion of supply chain issues caused consumers to start their Christmas shopping earlier, potentially hurting fourth-quarter sales.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a dynamic around the holiday season,” said Sarah Henry, portfolio manager at Logan Capital Management. She added that her firm was looking for companies with long-term strategic advantages rather than trying to bet on the best Christmas sales results.

There were also several strong economic reports on Wednesday, with personal income and consumer spending higher than expected for October and Initial jobless claims at their lowest level since 1969. Core PCE, the Fed’s preferred inflation meter, remained higher at 4.1%.

No major business news is planned for Friday.

South African rand takes hit on new Covid fears, variant

South African rand.

RapidEye | iStock | Getty Images

The South African rand fell sharply against the dollar on Friday after a new variant with many mutations was discovered in the country.

The currency fell as low as 16.2391 against the greenback during Friday’s Asian session and was last trading 1.6% weaker at 16.2215 per dollar.

The losses came as investors turned to safe-haven currencies like that Japanese YEN, which is up about 0.6% against the greenback to 114.69 per dollar. The USA Dollar indextracking the greenback versus its peers was at 96.712 – compared to levels below 96.5 seen earlier this week.

World Health Organization officials said Thursday They are monitoring a new variant with numerous mutations in the spike protein – the part of the virus that binds to body cells. The health authority is planning a special meeting for Friday to discuss what this can mean for vaccines and treatments.

According to the WHO, the variant with the designation B.1.1.529 was found in small numbers in South Africa.

“We don’t know much about it yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. “Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical director on Covid-19, said in a question-and-answer session that was broadcast live on the organization’s social media channels.

Hours after the announcement, the UK announced that it would Temporarily suspend flights from six African countries.

– CNBC’s Hannah Miao contributed to this report.

Dow, S&P 500 fears? Worrying a few correction is flawed approach to make investments

the Dow Jones industry average and S&P 500 index just suffered five consecutive days of losses and her worst weekly performance since – wait for it – June. Investors moved into the summer to ease their stocks a bit and ended the summer on a similar sell-off. Is there more in there? Is the big one – that the stock market correction bears have been waiting for – to finally fall?

Many of the main factors cited for a potential sell-off are known to investors, which means it is harder to see at this point how they would trigger a correction at that point. There is the Delta variant. There is the Rejuvenation of the Federal Reserve and a change in central bank policy amid a sudden slowdown in employment and economic growth. There’s the latest political headline – new scramble in Washington DC on a corporation tax increase and a possible share buyback tax to fund President Biden’s spending plan.

And there’s the problem that stock has left behind with every new record during this bull market (and the bull that preceded or, depending on your view, was interrupted by the pandemic): stock valuations are high.

There are also short-term pressures to consider: the “seasonal choppiness” of autumn that market strategists believe is real, and the most recent US stock market downgrades by major Wall Street bankswhich could keep the pressure on the stocks, especially with so much money coming into the market from retail investors lately. But it’s always more likely that something investors don’t see coming (like a pandemic) will cause a historic sell-off than anything investors already know.

That makes technical market indicators and the historical performance of the S&P 500 a reasonable way to gauge whether investor confidence will survive the final round of selling.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

For Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer and chief market strategist at Truist, the history of the S&P 500 suggests that the bull market is not over yet, even if profits are modest.

Since 1950, there have been 14 years in which the market rose more than 15% through August. By the end of the year, stocks had gained an average of another 4%, rising in 12 of the 14 cases.

Sales of shares are to be expected

Setbacks are to be expected. The largest pullback in 2021 was around 4%. This is not typical, according to Lerner’s review of the data. The only two years in the historical record that the S&P 500 didn’t see at least a 5% decline were in 1995 and 2017. And history goes that rapid gains must slow down. In his customer research, Lerner finds that the current bull market has increased 102% in 1.4 years, compared to the average bull market gain of 179% in 5.8 years since 1950.

But from what Lerner calls the “evidential approach” in the technical indicators and macro contexts, the message for investors – not traders looking for any short-term move – is that US stocks will still be for the next six years can rise up to 12 months.

Last week’s losing streak is, in his view, one of the strongest starts to the year in several decades, no cause for concern. Often times, when the market is moving, the automatic reaction is to end up going negative, but Lerner says investors shouldn’t be afraid of strength as long as it is supported by fundamentals. “A trend in motion is more likely to stay in motion,” he said. “The carousel of worries keeps spinning, and when one concern recedes, another emerges to take its place. There is always something to worry about … there can always be something that we don’t talk about today that can knock us aside. ”

Even if the Black Swan event doesn’t happen, that doesn’t mean there won’t be 3% to 5% corrections. “That’s the price of entry to the market,” said Lerner.

That doesn’t mean investors should never take tactical steps, but he does say that it is better for the majority of investors to focus on the next big step in the longer term than the next step the traders take.

A slowdown in economic growth is not growth

The economy may lag behind the rosiest of expectations for the Roaring 20s, but Lerner’s focus is the fact that slower expansion is still not a recession, and stocks rise 85% of the time during times of economic expansion. Stocks are highly valued, but he noted the S&P 500’s price-to-earnings ratio hasn’t hit new highs this year, despite the overall market.

“Valuations are still high, so we don’t expect strong price-earnings expansion and then earnings growth so stocks can’t grow at the same pace.” However, he added that analysts underestimated earnings power overall after the pandemic crashed.

This is what happens after recessions, it happened after 2009, he said: estimates are trimmed too far and corporate profits come back faster than expected as companies cut costs and focus on efficiency. If the economy is still fragile now, it is amid a strong rebound from lows and GDP that are driving more sales and more of those sales flowing into the bottom line. “And that’s why we have record corporate profits,” said Lerner.

One of the factors that should worry investors is the slowdown in growth. After being positive for over a year, Economic surprise index turned negative. “And deeply negative,” said Lerner. This is an indication that after a year where investors and economists underestimated strength and the numbers beat estimates, now with Covid concerns and an economic slowdown, the data was surprisingly on the downside.

But that’s not a red alert. “It just means, from our point of view, that things have caught up with expectations. But that’s a slowdown. We’re seeing a climax, but it will stabilize,” said Lerner.

Exceeding peak growth does not mean weak growth, and relative opportunities in the market remain a bigger focus than the cheapest asset. “There is no such thing as the ‘cheapest facility’ today,” he said.

The technology-oriented S&P 500 has internal problems

He sees relative opportunities within the S&P 500. The S&P 500 overall wasn’t as strong as its highly weighted tech stocks in the final leg up to the recent highs. The S&P 500 Equal Weight Index is up less than 3% since last May as mega-cap tech stocks took the lead. That was a reversal from early 2021 when inflation trading caused the cyclicals to outperform the mega-caps. And it means that stock prices have undergone major corrections as the stock market set new records.

The money hasn’t left the market that much, but has flowed back into the huge balance sheet, cash flow cows in technology that can continue to perform even in a slower economy. This is a sign that investors have become a bit more defensive even within the S&P 500. But it also means that returns in the S&P 500 can expand if the current carousel of worries doesn’t lead to a sustained negative turn in stock sentiment, known as Lerner.

“Internal rotation is healthy,” he said. “We’d rely a little on a balance between the two. It is not so clear that investors should be exclusively cyclical or growth oriented. … Expectations have been severely set back, so a little good news can go a long way. “

The earnings growth rate is likely to peak soon, and Lerner says the next year will have much more difficult earnings calculations than after a pandemic-induced economic downturn. But peak earnings growth is not the same as peak earnings. “The trajectory is higher,” he said. And instead of trying to name spike profits, he continues to focus on whether or not the earnings estimate revisions may turn negative and sees no symptom or pattern in this market.

“If we have earnings growth that is peaking and at a peak in Fed accommodation and we cannot achieve a better fiscal environment, it all indicates that the trend is higher, but with moderation, and that turns into volatility and some bigger wins and opportunities. “Below the surface instead of the headline index.”

That might be a gut check for investors driving the market as a whole higher, and this is evidence of the sales that took place last week, but Lerner advises every investor to remember what famous Fidelity Magellan Fund manager Peter Lynch was saying once said: “Investors who tried to anticipate corrections have lost far more money than they have lost in the corrections themselves.”

Economists eye surging cash provide as inflation fears mount

By Karen Brettell

(Reuters) – Some economists are warning that the rising money supply could exacerbate a surge in US inflation, which has been accelerating as fast as it has been for more than a decade.

According to the Center for Financial Stability’s (including Treasuries) Divisia M4 index, money supply – which measures the circulation of currencies and cash – rose 12% year over year in April.

The measure has run between 22% and 31% every month since April 2020, fueled by unprecedented economic stimulus from the US Federal Reserve and the US government. This contrasts with an annual growth of around 3-7%, which was common from 2015 to the beginning of 2020.

“This money supply growth is just so much faster than anything we’ve seen before,” said Desmond Lachman, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s a reflection of a huge backlog in the economy … it’s hard for me to understand how not to get inflation.”

Money supply https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/yxmpjadyyvr/Divisia%20Index.JPG

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday the Fed would adjust its policy if inflation expectations get too high, and the central bank is postponing its first forecast rate hike from 2024 to 2023.

So far, money supply growth has not been a major driver of inflationary pressures, in large part because banks hold cash as deposits.

The Fed has also downplayed the link between money supply and inflation, and Powell said in February that monetary measures had not been a major determinant of inflation “for a long time”.

In fact, the central bank’s bond purchases after the financial crisis did not trigger the expected inflation, as it took the economy years to recover and the money supply at that point was falling.

This time around, however, banks are struggling with record deposits after the US government increased government spending while the Federal Reserve purchases unprecedented amounts of bonds.

The story goes on

There is concern that businesses, investors and consumers are drawing up their deposits and spending, while banks increase lending as the economy reopens. Some economists fear that such a confluence of factors could lead to demand growing faster than economic output and prices rising.

Money supply growth was a factor in the high inflation in the 1970s, when the government ran budget deficits and the Fed introduced loose monetary policy to stimulate employment.

Bank reserves rose to a record $ 3.89 trillion in April and are projected to surpass $ 5 trillion this year as banks sell bonds to the central bank.

Meanwhile, commercial and industrial lending by commercial banks fell from a record $ 3.04 trillion in March 2020 to $ 2.55 trillion in May, although it continues to rise above the February 2.36 trillion level 2020 lie.

The Fed may be reluctant to hike rates as the Treasury Department struggles with record debt levels even if inflation rises, said William A. Barnett, director of the Center for Financial Stability.

However, if rates on primary market lending rise without interest rates on reserves rising accordingly, it could lead to an “explosion in lending,” Barnett said. “The risk to the economy is future inflation.”

Barnett believes that much of the Fed’s bond purchases will be permanent, effectively monetizing the debt, as it did during World War II, when most of the Fed’s bond purchases were irreversible.

The Fed has announced that it will eventually expire its bond purchases when the economy recovers, after which it will have to decide whether to decrease the overall size of its asset holdings when the bonds in its holdings mature.

When it “normalized” its policy from 2014 onwards, the Fed first reinvested maturing securities to keep its overall balance sheet constant, but then allowed the balance sheet to shrink.

This time around, the Fed is far from developing a plan to actually reduce its holdings.

However, some fear that if inflation is already rising, it may be too late to act.

Last week’s data showed that consumer prices rose 5% in May, the largest annual increase in 13 years.

“The rise in inflation could be a bit higher than the Fed has gambled away once inflation expectations are embedded in the system,” said Kim Rupert, managing director of Action Economics.

(Reporting by Karen Brettell; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Brazil fears third Covid wave as Bolsonaro faces parliamentary inquiry

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is undergoing a congressional investigation into the mismanagement of the pandemic.

Andressa Anholete | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Health experts fear the Brazilian Covid-19 disaster could get worse in the coming months, while a parliamentary investigation into the government’s response to the pandemic is likely to increase political pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro.

South America’s largest country, previously known for its leadership skills in health crises, has grown into an international pariah amid the coronavirus pandemic. Brazil has had the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in the world outside of the United States, is, and is, behind in terms of vaccinations still without an effective and coordinated public health response to the outbreak.

An official investigation, approved by the Brazilian Supreme Court, opened late last month to look into the government’s handling of the pandemic, which killed more than 428,000 people. The investigation could pave the way for Bolsonaro’s impeachment, though analysts say political opponents of the right-wing leader may prefer to contest the president in the October 2022 election.

Bolsonaro allegedly said he was “not worried“About the investigation. A Brazilian government spokesman did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly spoken out against public health measures, which have become a political battleground in Brazil, and continues to oppose any lockdown measures to contain the spread of the virus.

“The current unrestrained epidemic will not be overcome without a dramatic change in direction,” said Dr. Antonio Flores, Infectious Disease Specialist and Covid Medical Advisor at the Medecins Sans Frontieres aid group in Brazil.

He said that if life goes on normally, “with such a high daily incidence, all you can expect is a new wave of cases, an additional thousands of deaths and more pressure on the already stretched health system.”

A gravedigger walks among the graves of COVID-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil, on April 29, 2021.

MICHAEL DANTAS | AFP | Getty Images

His comments echo warnings from other health experts that Brazil could soon see a third wave of Covid infections in the coming weeks. It is feared that the country’s weak vaccination efforts will not be enough to prevent a new surge in the winter months of June through September with indoor gatherings and activities particularly risky.

Flores told CNBC that all available public health measures should be stepped up “as soon as possible” and that the country’s vaccination campaign needs to be accelerated. He added the need to put in place an effective testing and traceability system, as well as coherent guidelines on public health restrictions.

“A crucial element in next year’s elections”

By May 12, around 15% of Brazil’s 211 million residents had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine Statistics compiled of our world in data. Chile has now vaccinated almost 46% of its population with at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. This reflects one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

Brazil’s lower vaccination rate means millions of people across the country and beyond its borders are at risk from more than 90 variants of the coronavirus currently circulating in the country. in addition to any new mutations that may appear.

Brazil’s Covid vaccination campaign is in stark contrast to its response to the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009, when 92 million people were vaccinated against the virus in just three months. The main difference this time around, analysts say, is Bolsonaro’s refusal to take a science-led approach to addressing the health crisis.

This is a very dangerous government, but since it was democratically elected, very little can be done at the moment to push back.

Ilona Szabo

President of the Igarape Institute

The Pan American Health Organization announced on Wednesday that nearly 40% of all global Covid-related deaths reported in the past week have occurred in the Americas. Almost 80% of the intensive care units in the region are currently staffed with patients. PAHO director Carissa Etienne warned it was clear that the broadcast “far from being controlled“Although the US and Brazil are reporting declines in some cases, Reuters reported.

Brazil recorded more than 76,000 cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, after peaking at over 100,000 daily infections in April. In terms of infection numbers, it remains the third worst Covid-affected country in the world after the United States and the United States India respectively.

“I think while the situation in India has gotten significantly worse lately, the numbers in Brazil have risen to a very, very high level. The country has actually been in a collapse for months,” said Oliver Stuenkel, Associate Professor of International relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo, said CNBC by phone.

A man will be vaccinated against Covid-19 by a health worker in a remote area of ​​Moju, Para state, Brazil on April 16, 2021.

JOAO PAULO GUIMARAES | AFP | Getty Images

“What is really so fascinating is that (former US President Donald) Trump and to some extent (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi are paying a political price. Bolsonaro has been able to and has not retained fairly high political support by a combination of factors done. ” however, had to pay for it because its strategy of avoiding responsibility has so far been remarkably successful, “he added.

Analysts said the government’s investigation into treatment for the pandemic will typically take around three months, but the process can take much longer.

Stuenkel said he expected the investigation to take about six months since “the real goal is to hammer home the news on the evening news that Bolsonaro was to blame”.

“Essentially, I think the investigation will be vital because if the investigation cannot change public opinion at this point, after 400,000 people have died and basically the health system has finally collapsed, basically nothing can .. . For me the crucial element is next year’s election, “he added.

What happens next?

Earlier this week, former Brazilian Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who was fired over a year ago after resisting Bolsonaro’s push to use the malaria drug chloroquine as a covid treatment, testified ahead of a parliamentary inquiry.

Mandetta said Bolsonaro was to be something entirely conscious that the treatment had no scientific basis. Former US President Donald Trump had also pushed for the use of the related drug hydroxychloroquine amid the pandemic, despite a lack of scientific evidence.

“Unfortunately, this is a very dangerous government, but since it was democratically elected, very little can be done right now to push back,” said Ilona Szabo, president of the Igarape Institute, a think tank based in Rio de Janeiro.

Szabo said that while she did not believe the investigation would have “immediate” political implications, “it is important that what happens today has ramifications for the future.”

“It is proven that they are responsible and that most of the deaths were preventable,” said Szabo.

UK lockdown eases on ‘Completely satisfied Monday’; Germany and France hospital fears

Medical workers will monitor Covid-19 patients on Tuesday March 16, 2021 in an additional intensive care unit (ICU) set up to deal with the pandemic at the Ambroise Pare Clinic in Paris, France.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Covid crisis in Europe seems to diverge further this week as the public health situation deteriorates in France and Germany. However, the UK is taking another step to ease the lockdown on Monday.

Germany has already extended its lockdown to April 18, but Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged German states to do more against infections and suggested that the federal government give regions (which were largely free to make their own decisions) a certain amount Measures could withdraw control) to better contain the crisis. This is happening even though Merkel is turning around to introduce a strict Easter ban.

“We have to break this third wave,” Merkel told ARD on Sunday. “We have a legal obligation to curb the spread, and right now that’s not happening.”

She added that additional restrictions, such as curfews, may be needed to prevent the virus from growing “exponentially”. Deutsche Welle reported. Germany reported 9,872 new cases on Monday, Data from the Robert Koch Institute showedThis brings the total number of infections to over 2.7 million. To date, nearly 76,000 people have died from the virus.

On Saturday intensive care doctors in the country requested a two-week hard ban To avoid overloading the health system, similar calls were made on Sunday in France, where cases continue to rise to worrying levels.

The French government has already partially closed more than a dozen regions, including Paris, but cases are increasing and hospitals are struggling.

Intensive care doctors in Paris warned on Sunday Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper These high-flying infections could soon overwhelm the capital’s hospitals, forcing them to decide which patients to treat.

France reported 37,014 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. Health Department data showedThis increases the total number of infections to over 4.5 million. To date, over 94,000 people have died from the virus in the country.

Deutsche Bank strategists discovered this on Monday “”Investors are increasingly concerned about the rising number of cases in multiple regions, which in turn increases the prospect of further restrictions and restrictions on economic activity. “

“Nice Monday”

As mainland Europe struggles with a spike in cases, the UK is further easing lockdown measures from today after lifting its roadmap on June 21 to lift all restrictions on social contact.

Dubbed “Happy Monday” in the UK media, Brits can now gather outdoors in groups of up to six and team sports can begin again. The “stay at home” rule has also ended, but the government advises caution, saying that people should continue to work from home whenever possible.

Travel abroad is still prohibited unless there is a substantial reason and a fine of £ 5,000 (US $ 6,887) has been imposed on anyone attempting to vacation abroad. The government plans to announce later this week – ahead of schedule – how international travel is expected to resume.

Swimmers jump into the water at Hillingdon Lido in west London as England’s third Covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease, allowing outdoor sports facilities to open on March 29, 2021.

ADRIAN DENNIS | AFP | Getty Images

Non-essential shops, hairdressers, beauty salons, and outdoor drinking and eating in pubs and restaurants will all be allowed on April 12, providing much-needed relief for the British after a year of lockdowns and coronavirus losses. The country has reported over 4.3 million coronavirus cases and over 126,000 deaths.

A bright spot in the country’s pandemic experience was the introduction of vaccinations, which began in earnest in December. It was the first country to introduce coronavirus vaccines en masse. To date, 57% of the country’s adults had received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccineThat means 30 million adults have now had their first shot.

Britain’s bold vaccination program has been praised for its speed and agility, but has been criticized on the continent where the introduction of gunfire has been slower.

Drug maker AstraZeneca was in the line of fire for delaying vaccine supplies to the block. However, so far the EU has stopped preventing vaccine exports to the UK and both sides have pledged to work together to resolve a dispute over vaccine supplies.

Conquer cellphone name fears and get monetary savings

Sean McAuliffe’s business, International Key Supply, suffered financially when the pandemic began. So he set about reducing operating costs for the New York-based distribution company. He canceled some services, and for more important ones, contacted the providers to request deferred or reduced bills.

First he sent an email just to get unhelpful replies.

Then he called – and every company he’d emailed agreed to suspend or cut their bill temporarily. McAuliffe estimates these talks saved his company thousands of dollars, which helped prevent layoffs.

This technique can also work on an individual level. When you’re ready to chat on the phone, you can save money and often time.

HOW A CALL CAN HELP

Is the idea of ​​speaking to a real stranger on the phone about as engaging as waiting at the DMV or drawing blood? Join the club. In 2019, the gadget trade-in website BankMyCell launched an online website survey Of more than 1,200 millennials in the US When asked if they sometimes feel they have to have the courage to make a phone call, 81% of those surveyed said yes.

However, if you can push yourself to pick up the phone, calling customer service is often the best way to request a favor that will save you money. You can request that an invoice be lowered or postponed. an increased credit limit; a lowered interest rate; there is no fee; A service or booking is canceled with no penalty or pretty much anything else.

All it costs to ask is the time and potential inconvenience of the phone call. And the worst that can happen is that the stranger on the other line says no. (But read on, and you’ll likely get them to negotiate.)

Phone calls are also a great way to troubleshoot errors such as unjustified late payment charges or duplicate charges on an invoice. Ira Rheingold, Executive Director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, recommends regularly reviewing your invoices for errors.

“Don’t expect the company you are dealing with to be always accurate,” he says. “If things don’t look right, they are probably not right and you should look into them.”

The story goes on

Even if you’re not exactly trying to save money, jumping on the phone can help you understand a nuanced money topic faster (and possibly more accurately) than scrolling down an online search hole.

Call your insurance agent if you don’t understand how your policy works, or if something is covered, for example. Call your credit card issuer to find out why you have been declined for a new card. Or, call your health care provider’s billing office to determine head-scratcher fees. (Just in case you don’t know what “INJ MED IVPUSH EAADD SEQ SUBST” means at first glance.)

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE CALL

Before you pick up the phone, be clear about the outcome you want to achieve, says Stephanie Richman, certified financial planner and regional director for Northern California / East Bay at EP Wealth Advisors. Knowing this goal and communicating it clearly can help you have an efficient and effective conversation.

Also, consider the motivations and interests of the company you’re calling, she says. This will help you anticipate their questions, answer them, and ultimately encourage the other person to help you. In practice, this could mean asking to postpone that month’s water bill and explain how you can make payments by your next due date.

Before you call, collect relevant documents, e.g. B. a copy of the invoice you asked for or your insurance card. And pull up your story with this company. Let the customer service representative know if you’ve been a loyal customer for a long time or if you’ve had years without any belated encumbrances. The company will likely be motivated to keep a customer like you close by.

Finally, “be ready to be patient,” says Rheingold. This call can take a while and, yes, get boring or frustrating. Take some distraction-free time when you are feeling fine, not when you are irritable or hungry.

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE CALL

OK, you can articulate exactly what you want and be armed with information (and maybe snacks). Time to choose. Be kind to whoever picks you up if you make your request clear. When McAuliffe the business owner made his calls, he said he was just being honest with the service providers about what he needed.

“It was more about working together than trying to arm them heavily,” he says.

If the person on the other end rejects your request or sticks to a script, Rheingold recommends speaking to their manager. That person is likely in a better position to help.

“There’s nothing wrong with working your way up the food chain,” he says.

Think of your manners as you climb the said chain. “You can ask for a manager in a nice way,” says Richman. “Assertiveness doesn’t mean being aggressive.”

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Laura McMullen is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lmcmullen@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lauraemcmullen.

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Germany suspends AstraZeneca vaccine amid blood clot fears

LONDON – Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands have joined growing list of countries who have suspended the use of Coronavirus Vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University for blood clot problems.

The Dutch government said on Sunday that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would not be used until March 29, while Ireland said earlier in the day it had temporarily suspended the shot as a precautionary measure.

On Monday, the federal government also announced that it would stop using it. The vaccine authority, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, requested further investigations. The Italian Medicines Agency made a similar announcement on Monday afternoon, and French President Emmanuel Macron also said that use of the vaccine would be suspended pending a ruling by the EU regulator. Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said Monday the country would stop using the shot for at least two weeks, Reuters reported, and Portugal later suspended the vaccine as well.

The World Health Organization tried to downplay the ongoing safety concerns and stated last week that there was no link between the shot and an increased risk of developing blood clots. The United Nations Health Department has urged nations to continue using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Even so, some European countries have already stopped the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. It added to the region’s worries sick vaccination campaign at a time when the German health department warned that a third wave of coronavirus infections has already started.

Thailand has also stopped the planned use of the vaccine.

The move to discontinue use by Dutch and Irish officials came shortly after the Norwegian Medicines Agency said Three health workers were reported to have been treated for bleeding, blood clots and low platelet counts in the hospital after receiving the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. Norway has suspended its vaccination program against Oxford-AstraZeneca.

Geir Bukholm, director of the Infection Control and Environmental Health Department at the Norwegian Public Health Institute, said the Norwegian Medicines Agency will “follow up on these suspected side effects and take the necessary action in this serious situation”.

The picture taken on November 27, 2020 shows “Nikki” Anniken Hars treating a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit of Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet in Oslo, Norway.

JIL YNGLAND | AFP | Getty Images

The European Medicines Agency, the European Medicines Agency, said there was no evidence that Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine caused blood clots and believed that the vaccine’s benefits “continue to outweigh the risks”.

The EMA admitted that some European countries had stopped using the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, but said vaccinations may continue to be given while a clot investigation is ongoing.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin told CNBC on Monday that he anticipated a temporary hiatus and that the country wanted to catch up with its vaccination program quickly.

“No causal effect or anything like that has been identified yet, but as a precautionary measure, in line with the precautionary principle and with great caution, our clinical advice has been to halt the program while the EMA reviews,” he said. “This is an undesirable pause, but I still think it’s important that we heed the advice we received.”

How did AstraZeneca react?

“A careful review of all available safety data on more than 17 million people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union (EU) and the UK found no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis ( DVT) or thrombocytopenia in a specific age group, sex, specific batch or in a specific country “AstraZeneca said in a statement Sunday.

The most common side effects of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which does not contain the virus and cannot cause Covid, are usually mild or moderate and improve within a few days after vaccination.

A health worker holds a box of the AstraZeneneca vaccine at the Bamrasnaradura Institute for Infectious Diseases in Nonthaburi Province on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Chaiwat subprasome | SOPA pictures | LightRocket via Getty Images

The pharmaceutical company said that 15 events involving deep vein thrombosis and 22 events involving pulmonary embolism were reported among those vaccinated in the EU and the United Kingdom.

“This is much less than expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size, and it is similar to other approved COVID-19 vaccines,” said AstraZeneca.

What do the experts say?

“Covid definitely causes bleeding disorders and each of the vaccines prevents Covid disease, including more severe cases,” said Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“Therefore, it is highly likely that the vaccine’s benefits will significantly outweigh the risk of clotting disorders, and the vaccine will prevent other consequences of Covid, including deaths from other causes.”

Evans said it was “perfectly reasonable” to conduct studies on vaccines and coagulation disorders, but added, “It seems a step too far to take precautionary measures that would prevent people from receiving vaccines that prevent disease.”

Many high-income countries – such as the UK, France, Australia and Canada – have decided to continue rolling out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

“When there is clear evidence of serious or life-threatening side effects that have important consequences,” Adam Finn, professor of pediatrics at Bristol University, said in a statement.

“So far, however, this has not been the case, and it is highly undesirable to disrupt a complex and urgent program every time people, after receiving a vaccine, develop illnesses that are random and not causal. In situations like this, it is not easy to Making the right call, but a steady hand on the tiller is probably what is needed most, “said Finn.

World traders proceed to pour cash into fairness funds, shrugging off inflation fears

(Reuters) – Global investors continued to put money into equity funds in hopes of a global economic recovery and vaccine optimism, and to allay concerns about inflation levels.

FILE PHOTO: An almost empty trading floor can be seen on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, USA on May 22, 2020. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

Equity fund inflows doubled from last week to $ 20.4 billion in the week ended March 10, data from Refinitiv Lipper showed.

However, investors sold global bond funds $ 2.7 billion net as US Treasury yields hit a 1-year high this week.

Chart: Fund flows into global reverse convertibles and money markets –

Meanwhile, investors have also put $ 28.7 billion worth of money into safer money market funds, the data showed.

In equity funds, technology funds saw an outflow for the first time in a year due to rising bond yields. Higher returns lower the present value of future cash flows from growth stocks.

On the flip side, the financial sector saw an inflow of $ 3.14 billion, the largest in eight weeks when investors poured money into cyclical stocks amid growing optimism about a global economic recovery.

Chart: Global bond outflows for the week ending March 10 –

Other sectors that rise and fall along with business cycles, such as industrial, energy and mining companies, also saw inflows this week.

Among the commodity funds, precious metals funds posted net sales of $ 1.74 billion for the fifth consecutive year. This signals that investors are looking to safer assets like gold and are willing to take higher risks.

Graphic: Global Fund Flows into Equity Sectors –

An analysis of 23,755 emerging market funds found that equity funds generated $ 2.3 billion in inflows. Annuity funds recorded net sales of $ 3.4 billion, the largest outflow for the latter in about a year.

Chart: Fund flows into EM stocks and bonds –

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Adaptation by Larry King

Dealer information insurance policies stoke fears of ‘exchange-style’ charges and audits

At a time when global exchanges are taking over the over-the-counter (OTC) securities and derivatives markets traditionally reserved for brokerage firms, industry watchers say (and not always in a good way) that, conversely, brokers are becoming increasingly similar to exchange operators – not necessarily in terms of exchange operators to the markets or instruments they trade, but in relation to their approach to licensing the market data generated from their brokerage.

Some of it isn’t a bad thing: Lots

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