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Asian shares rise on vaccine bets but analysts urge caution – Reuters

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LONDON (Reuters) – Global shares were on course on Thursday to end their longest winning streak in over a year, one that has lifted them more than 10%, as the post-U.S. election and coronavirus vaccine bull run paused.

People wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), look at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov/Files

Europe’s main markets opened down 0.7% and Wall Street futures fell. For the first time in November, MSCI’s 49-country world index was in the red. Asia had finished flat.

Big Tech had rebounded on Wednesday as investors switched back to winners like Amazon and Netflix. In Europe, investors returned to safe-haven government bonds.

“What we don’t really agree with is that you need to rotate out of tech into value stocks,” said Willem Sels, chief market strategist at HSBC Private Bank, referring to stocks that do well in normal circumstances when economies are open.

“We don’t think either that a recovery (helped by a vaccine) would lead to a sustained sell-off in U.S. Treasuries. The Fed has signalled it is on hold,” he added.

In the currency market, the euro was near $1.18, in the middle of the $1.16-$1.20 range it’s been in since late July. Sterling was down 0.5% amid more Brexit uncertainty and as data showed the UK economy losing speed again.

Turkey’s lira took a breather after President Tayyip Erdogan’s promise to overhaul unconventional monetary policy and the replacement of his son-in-law as finance minister caused it to rise 10%.

The New Zealand dollar soared for a second session to a 19-month high as investors unwound bets on the introduction of negative interest rates.

The kiwi got an added boost after Reserve Bank of New Zealand Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby said the economy required less stimulus than it did in August.

“The weakness in broad USD (dollar) and reflationary momentum in equities, which we saw on the back of the U.S. election and improvements in the vaccine situation, seem to be fading across FX and equities,” said Christin Tuxen, Head of FX Research at Danske Bank.

HOLD GOLD

Global oil benchmark Brent snapped three consecutive days of gains to dip to $43.46 a barrel, although it remained near a two-month high.

Traders were tempering expectations of an early release of a COVID-19 vaccine. The International Energy Agency also raised doubts on Thursday about a quick recovery in demand, amid surging infections in Europe and the United States.

Most of Europe’s main economies are already grappling with a wave of infections and new social restrictions. New York also ordered bars and restaurants to start closing early on Wednesday after U.S. cases hit records.

Until the timing of the availability of a vaccine becomes clearer, oil prices “downside could turn out to be limited, but serious upside potential is unlikely to develop in the immediate future,” said Tamas Varga, analyst at PVM Oil.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also revised its demand forecast on Wednesday, saying global oil demand will recover more slowly in 2021 than previously expected because of rising coronavirus cases.

Safe-haven gold edged up. Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,872 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were 0.3% higher.

“We still have some gold,” HSBC’s Sels said. “With Europe still in lockdown and some political risks remaining, you can’t put all your chips on one colour.”

Reporting by Marc Jones, editing by Larry King

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Shares take a breather after stellar month, China data upbeat – reuters.com

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – World shares paused to assess a record-busting month on Monday as the prospect of a vaccine-driven economic recovery next year and yet more free money from central banks eclipsed immediate concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective face masks are reflected on a stock quotation board outside a brokerage, in Tokyo, Japan November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Helping sentiment was a survey showing factory activity in China handily beat forecasts in November, and the country’s central bank surprised with a helping of cheap loans. That left blue chips up 1.3% on the day and 7.4% for the month.

The rush to risk has also benefited oil and industrial commodities while undermining the safe-haven dollar and gold.

“November looks set to be an awesome month for equity investors with Europe leading the charge at a country/regional level,” said NAB analyst Rodrigo Catril.

Many European bourses are boasting their best month ever with France up 21% and Italy almost 26%. The MSCI measure of world stocks is up 13% for November so far, while the S&P 500 has climbed 11% to all-time peaks.

Early Monday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4%, to be up almost 11% for the month in its best performance since late 2011.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.4%, but was still 15.4% higher on the month for the largest rise since 1994.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.4%, and EUROSTOXX 50 futures 0.6%.

“Markets are overbought and at risk of a short term pause,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.

“However, we are now in a seasonally strong time of year and investors are yet to fully discount the potential for a very strong recovery next year in growth and profits as stimulus combines with vaccines.”

Cyclical recovery shares including resources, industrials and financials were likely to be relative outperformers, he added.

The surge in stocks has put some competitive pressure on safe-haven bonds but much of that has been cushioned by expectations of more asset buying by central banks.

Sweden’s Riksbank surprised last week by expanding its bond purchase program and the European Central Bank is likely to follow in December.

DOLLAR IN DECLINE

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies to Congress on Tuesday amid speculation of further policy action at its next meeting in mid-December.

As a result U.S. 10-year yields are ending the month almost exactly where they started at 0.84%, a solid performance given the exuberance in equities.

The U.S. dollar has not been as lucky.

“The idea that a potential Treasury Secretary (Janet) Yellen and Fed chair Powell could work more closely to shape and coordinate super easy monetary policy and massive fiscal stimulus that could drive a rapid post pandemic recovery saw the dollar under pressure,” said Robert Rennie, head of financial market strategy at Westpac.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index was pinned at 91.771 having shed 2.4% for the month to lows last seen in mid-2018.

The euro has caught a tailwind from the relative outperformance of European stocks and climbed 2.7% for the month so far to reach $1.1967. A break of the September peak at $1.2011 would open the way to a 2018 top at $1.2555.

The dollar has even declined against the Japanese yen, a safe-haven of its own, losing 0.7% in November to reach 103.89 yen, though it remains well above key support at 103.16.

Sterling stood at $1.3334, having climbed steadily this month to its highest since September, as investors wagered a Brexit deal would be brokered even as the deadline for talks loomed ever larger.

One major casualty of the rush to risk has been gold, which was near a five-month trough at $1,771 an ounce having shed 5.6% so far in November.

Oil, in contrast, has benefited from the prospect of a demand revival should the vaccines allow travel and transport to resume next year. [O/R]

Some profit-taking set in early Monday ahead of an OPEC+ meeting to decide whether the producers’ group will extend large output cuts. Brent crude futures fell 52 cents to $47.66, while U.S. crude eased 60 cents to $44.93 a barrel.

Editing by Lincoln Feast & Simon Cameron-Moore

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Alberta reports 1,608 new cases of COVID-19, second highest number during pandemic – CBC.ca

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Alberta reported 1,608 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths on Sunday.

The total number of active cases in Alberta grew to 15,692, according to the province. There are 435 people in the hospital and 95 in intensive care. 

According to the province there is a “brief delay in a death being reported to Alberta Health or in a death being confirmed post-mortem as having COVID-19 as a contributing cause”.

The nine deaths brings the provincial total to 533. Five of which are linked to the outbreak at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre in Edmonton. They include a man and woman, both in their 80s who died on Nov. 25. They had underlying conditions along with COVID-19. A man in his 70s who died on Nov. 26 who also had underlying conditions. Another man and woman in their 90s who died on Nov. 27 also had one or more additional conditions.

The remaining deaths include a man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Westlock Continuing Care Centre in North Zone. The province did not confirm if he had underlying conditions. Another man in his 90s in south zone who died on Nov. 28 also with underlying conditions. 

Another man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Laurel Heights Retirement Residence in Edmonton Zone who died on Nov. 28, and a man in his 80s who died on Nov. 29 due to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in Calgary Zone. The province could not confirm underlying conditions for either. 

A regional breakdown of cases as of Saturday shows the impact of COVID-19 in different parts of the province:

  • Calgary zone: 5,756 active cases

  • South zone: 642 active cases

  • Edmonton zone: 7,230 active cases

  • North zone: 857 active cases

  • Central zone: 1,101 active cases

  • Unknown: 106 active cases

The majority of people in the hospital and ICU are from the Edmonton zone. There are 222 people hospitalized in Edmonton and 50 in intensive care. In comparison, Calgary has 138 people in hospital and 33 in intensive care. The remaining zones’ hospitalizations are in double digits.

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ICU admissions near 100 in Alberta, 1,608 new COVID-19 cases – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

The current outbreak at Clifton Manor, in southeast Calgary, has had 41 positive cases, 39 of which are active, with one recovery and one death. This is the second outbreak at Clifton Manor. The first resulted in seven deaths and 38 recoveries.

The Clifton Manor long-term care home in Calgary’s southeast, as seen on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Hundreds of anti-maskers rally in Calgary

Saturday’s anti-mask protest of approximately 1,000 people in front of city hall was led by a group called Walk for Freedom, which said on social media it was rallying to “protect our Charter rights.”

On Friday, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi called anti-mask rallies “illegal” due to provincial limits on outdoor gatherings.

New provincial rules introduced Tuesday restrict outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 people and many municipalities, including Calgary, have bylaws making the use of face coverings mandatory in many settings, though they aren’t required outdoors.

“Of course, police will always use their discretion in cases like this. They don’t want the enforcement to cause more danger for people,” Nenshi said. “Whether you agree or disagree, it is your right to assemble peacefully, however right now the law says you can only assemble in a group of 10.”

The same day, Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said the province expected enforcement of COVID-19 public-health orders to ramp up, granting 700 additional peace officers across the province the powers to issue fines starting at $1,000 for egregious violations.

“As minister of justice, my expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable,” Madu said.

Shawn Rupchan with the Calgary Police Service said there wasn’t enforcement at the rally itself but there could be something on followup.

— With files from Jason Herring

sbabych@postmedia.com
Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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