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5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday – CNBC

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1. Stocks to open lower after S&P 500 and Nasdaq records

Trader Michael Urkonis works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 28, 2020.

Bryan R Smith | Reuters

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a lower open Thursday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke a three-session losing streak with a 115-point advance but still remains nearly 1% away from a new high as investors continue to gauge the impact of the coronavirus on global economic growth. Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley has agreed to buy E-Trade for $13 billion, the latest in a consolidation wave for the retail brokerage industry. Before-the-bell, the Labor Department issued its weekly report on first-time filings for unemployment benefits. Claims last week came in as expected at 210,000.

2. Coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise in China

Members of a local neighborhood committee wear protective masks as they check the temperature of a resident entering at a barricade placed to control people entering and exiting a local hutong as part of government efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus on February 19, 2020 in Beijing, China.

Kevin Frayer | Getty Images

China’s National Health Commission reported an additional 114 coronavirus deaths, and 394 new confirmed cases. That brings the total deaths in China to 2,118 and confirmed cases to 74,576 cases. In Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, officials asked companies not to resume work before March 11. South Korea confirmed its first coronavirus death and 22 new confirmed cases. Japan’s health ministry confirmed the deaths of two elderly passengers, both in their 80s, who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined at Yokohama, near Tokyo.

3. Bloomberg left battered after his first 2020 debate

Just three days before Saturday’s crucial Nevada caucuses, Democratic candidates took to the stage in Las Vegas in a contentious debate, firing off rounds of attacks on newcomer Mike Bloomberg, the wealthy former New York City mayor. The harshest attacks came from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who said Bloomberg was a “billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.'” Later in the debate, Warren called on Bloomberg to release female employees from nondisclosure agreements. Bloomberg said, “None of them accused me of doing anything other than — maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.”

4. White House defends Trump economy, bashes Obama record

Donald Trump and Barack Obama

Reuters

The White House issued a vigorous defense of the Trump administration’s economic agenda Thursday — claiming credit for changing the trajectory of the nation’s record expansion, while taking aim at the Obama administration’s record. In its annual report to Congress, the White House highlighted GDP growth that has outpaced expectations and a jobless rate that has hit historic lows. In the report, the White House repeatedly compares the economy’s performance under current President Donald Trump to that of former President Barack Obama.

5. L Brands’ Victoria’s Secret to go private, CEO to step down

People walk past a Victoria’s Secret store in Barcelona.

John Milner | LightRocket | Getty Images

L Brands shares were down 13% in the premarket. The retailer could announce a deal as soon as Thursday to sell control of its Victoria’s Secret brand to private equity firm Sycamore Partners for just over $1 billion. That’s according The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The reports also said L Brands Chairman and CEO Leslie Wexner, under scrutiny for ties to disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein, is expected to step down. The billionaire Wexner started what would become the L Brands global retail powerhouse in 1963 with one store, The Limited, in Columbus, Ohio.

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Google real estate executive says 5% more workers coming in to office each week

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Alphabet Inc’s Google has seen an increasing number of employees coming in to its offices each week, particularly younger workers, the company’s real estate chief said during an interview at the Reuters Next conference on Friday.

On Thursday, Google indefinitely pushed back the mandated return date for employees due to concerns about the Omicron variant. The company had previously said its 150,000 global employees could be required to come in to the office as soon as Jan. 10.

Nevertheless, David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president for real estate and workplace services, said many Googlers are returning of their own volition. About 40% of its U.S. employees on average came in to the office daily in recent weeks, up from 20-25% three months ago, he said. Globally, 5% more employees are returning to offices week after week, he added.

“People are actually showing voluntarily that they want to be back in the office,” Radcliffe said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

Younger employees and those who joined Google more recently have been coming in at higher rates, seeking opportunities to learn from colleagues, Radcliffe added.

Google expects workers in the office at least three days a week once it mandates a new return date.

Based on feedback from those already back, it is redesigning floor plans to increase private, quiet spaces for distraction-free individual work and adding conferencing and other collaboration areas in open spaces both indoors and outdoors.

Real estate and human resources experts have considered Google a trailblazer for the past 20 years in sustainable office design and variety of workplace perks, including free meals, massages and gyms.

To extend those sustainability and wellness benefits to remote work, Google has encouraged employees to buy carbon offsets and non-toxic furniture for their home offices. It also has provided free cooking classes and discounts to fitness studios near workers’ homes.

“It was amazing how many employees had really never cooked themselves,” Radcliffe said.

 

(Reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif., and Julia Love in San Francisco; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Matthew Lewis)

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S&P/TSX composite down nearly 200 points, U.S. stock markets also lower – Business News – Castanet.net

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Canada’s main stock index was down nearly 200 points in late-morning trading, led lower by losses in the technology, base metal and industrial sectors, while U.S. stock markets also fell.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 176.86 points at 20,585.17.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 160.83 points at 34,478.96. The S&P 500 index was down 48.14 points at 4,528.96, while the Nasdaq composite was down 341.27 points at 15,040.05.

The Canadian dollar traded for 78.05 cents US compared with 78.03 cents US on Thursday.

The January crude oil contract was up US$1.54 at US$68.04 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up eight cents at US$4.14 per mmBTU.

The February gold contract was up US$14.90 at US$1,777.60 an ounce and the March copper contract was down two cents at US$4.28 a pound.

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Canada secures orders of Merck, Pfizer COVID-19 antiviral pills – Globalnews.ca

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The federal government has signed purchase agreements with two pharmaceutical companies for their oral COVID-19 treatments.

Filomena Tassi, Canada’s minister of public services and procurement, told reporters on Friday the government has signed agreements with Pfizer and Merck to buy up to 1.5 million courses of their antiviral treatment, PF-07321332 and Molnupiravir.

Both treatments are under Health Canada review, Tassi added.

“We also know that access to effective, easy-to-use treatments is critical to reducing the severity of COVID infections and will help save lives,” she said.

“As soon as these drugs are authorized for use, the government will work on getting them to provinces and territories as quickly as possible so that health-care providers can help Canadians who need them most.”

Read more:

Canadians 18+ should be offered COVID-19 booster 6 months after 2nd shot, NACI says

As part of its initial order, the government has reached an agreement with Pfizer for one million courses of its treatment, pending Health Canada approval.

The government’s deal with Merck is for up to 500,000 courses of its treatment, with an option to add 500,000 more pending approval, Tassi added.


Click to play video: 'Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19'



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Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19


Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19 – Nov 5, 2021

On Wednesday, Pfizer started a rolling submission with Health Canada for its pill, which it said is designed to block a key enzyme needed for the COVID-19 virus to multiply.

Pfizer also said its treatment can cut the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease by 89 per cent.

Read more:

COVID-19 antiviral pill approved in U.K. still being reviewed by Health Canada

Meanwhile, Merck’s pill is still under review by Health Canada as the company continues its rolling submission.

Last week, Merck shared data suggesting its drug was significantly less effective than previously thought, reducing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk individuals by around 30 per cent.

The treatment has received approval in the United Kingdom.

— with files from The Canadian Press and Reuters

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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