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China, EU aim for investment pact by year-end, diplomats say – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Robin Emmott and Gabriel Crossley

BRUSSELS/BEIJING (Reuters) – The European Union and China aim to reach an investment accord by the end of 2020 that would grant European companies greater access to the Chinese market after six years of talks, officials and diplomats said on Friday.

Potentially a big step in repairing Sino-European ties after the coronavirus outbreak in China and Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong, the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment would put most EU companies on an equal footing in China.

It would end what the EU says is discrimination and unfair state subsidies for local firms.

“Negotiations are now in their final stages,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry, said on Friday.

An EU official also said a deal was close after a push from Germany, which holds the EU presidency until the end of the year and is the biggest European exporter to China.

Launched in 2014, negotiations were stuck for years. The EU complained that China was failing to make good on promises made to lift restrictions on European investment, despite its promises to open up the world’s second largest economy.

China already has broad access to the EU’s market of more than 450 million people. The European Commission, the EU executive, has said the investment pact is “a key tool to address this lack of balance.”

A deal would be a turnaround from the pessimism of earlier this year, when the president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said in June that he doubted a deal could be done by the end-2020 deadline agreed by both sides in 2019.

“IMPOSSIBLE THINGS”

China fears being isolated from the West as the United States steps up its trade war with Beijing and Brussels has taken steps to monitor Chinese investment in strategic European sectors more closely, a second EU official said.

The biggest sticking point in sealing the investment pact relates to sustainable development, said a senior Western diplomat in Beijing, noting labour issues.

China has yet to ratify four of the eight main International Labour Organisation conventions, including those on forced labour and the right to collective bargaining, which the EU says must be approved before any trade agreement.

    China was very ambitious in the deal, the diplomat in Beijing said. “They are asking impossible things,” the diplomat said. “They are asking for openings for Chinese investment in Europe in sectors that are not open to anyone such as energy, water treatment, public utilities.”

(Additional reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing, Editing by William Maclean)

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Rothschild Investment Adds to Grayscale Bitcoin Holdings – Yahoo Finance

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TipRanks

2 Biotech Stocks Wells Fargo Says Are Ready to Bounce

The biotech sector has started the year with a bang. The industry benchmark, iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (IBB), is up ~11% so far in January — far better than the S&P 500’s 3% return. Covering the sector for Wells Fargo, 5-star analyst Jim Birchenough is upbeat about what he sees. “Overall, we see roughly 20% to 30% additional upside for the sector by historical metrics and would argue that accelerating pace of innovation and greater pipeline de-risking should ultimately support higher returns on investment,” Birchenough noted. An environment like that will be manna from heaven for any investor interested in pharmaceutical stocks; an improved political climate will just add some icing to this cake. “While a split House and Senate supporting continued legislative inertia would have been best received, in terms of maintaining a positive status quo for biotechnology growth, we believe that value proposition for emerging biotechnology therapeutics should win-out under any administration and House/Senate mix,” Birchenough added. With this in mind, we wanted to check out some of Wells Fargo’s recent picks in the biotech space to see if the investment firm could steer us towards any game-changers. After running the tickers through TipRanks’ database, we found out that two recently scored Buy ratings from the rest of the Street, enough to earn a “Strong Buy” consensus rating. Karuna Therapeutics (KRTX) We will start with Karuna Therapeutics, a specialty pharma company whose focus is mental health. Specifically, Karuna works on the development of new drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia and dementia-related psychoses (DRP). With a potential patient base exceeding 2.7 million people, this is a large market. And the state of current treatment options is widely considered less than satisfactory. Medication side effects are severe, while therapeutic effects are less than desired. This leaves an opening for a company that can put a new, more effective, treatment on the market. Karuna is currently enrolling the pivotal Phase 3 EMERGENT-2 Study of its leading drug candidate, KarXT, for the treatment of acute psychosis in adults with schizophrenia. KarXT has showed a differentiated safety profile and efficacy in Phase 2 data. Furthermore, Phase 1b data in healthy elderly volunteers for DRP remain on track for 2Q21. This solid pipeline, with a new drug in multiple studies to treat several aspects of a serious disorder, has piqued Wells Fargo’s interest. Covering KRTX for the firm, analyst Jacob Hughes writes, “Karuna Therapeutics is our top idea in 2021. While KRTX shares have had an impressive run… we see a very attractive setup for the stock over the next couple years and several important catalysts in 2021 to drive the shares higher… We think the pipeline has been de-risked and we like the risk/reward at these levels as the value of KarXT is proved out.” To this end, Hughes rates the stock an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and his $163 price target implies an upside of ~59% for the coming year. (To watch Hughes’ track record, click here) It’s not often that the analysts all agree on a stock, so when it does happen, take note. KRTX’s Strong Buy consensus rating is based on a unanimous 6 Buys. The stock’s $138.80 average price target suggests a 35% upside from the current share price of $102.80. (See KRTX stock analysis on TipRanks) Zymeworks, Inc. (ZYME) Vancouver-based Zymeworks is a clinical stage biotech involved in researching new drugs for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune disorders, and inflammatory diseases. The company focuses on biotherapeutics, drugs precisely engineered for their target diseases. The company’s lead candidate, zanidatamab, has indications for biliary tract cancer, breast cancer, and gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma. The drug is in Phase 1/2 testing for these cancers. Zymeworks’ second clinical candidate, ZW49, like zanidatamab, is an HER2 bispecific antibody in early stage study as a solid tumor treatment. Initial data will be presented at an investor event on January 27. Based on Zymeworks’ recent study results, Wells Fargo’s Jim Birchenough writes, “[We] expect zanidatamab to differentiate from current HER2 standards by virtue of depth of response in both refractory and frontline patients and to attract a prominent partner to pursue neoadjuvant and adjuvant breast cancer studies, and for ZW49 go-forward dose to demonstrate consistent responses to support further development, with upside potential from additional dose escalation.” In line with his bullish stance, Birchenough rates ZYME an Overweight (i.e. Buy) and his price target, at $71, implies a ~47% growth ahead. (To watch Birchenough’s track record, click here) Turning now to the rest of the Street, it appears that other analysts are generally on the same page. With 4 Buys and 1 Hold assigned in the last three months, the consensus rating comes in as a Strong Buy. In addition, the $60.82 average price target implies ~26% upside from current levels. (See ZYME stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for biotech stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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EU sustainable investment rules need better corporate data: banking report – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Simon Jessop and Kate Abnett

LONDON (Reuters) – European Union rules aimed at defining sustainable investments should help reduce “greenwashing” by businesses, but better quality corporate data is needed to ensure they work effectively, a banking report said on Tuesday.

The sustainable finance rules will classify investments that can be marketed as sustainable, a move aimed at steering much-needed cash into low-carbon projects to deliver the bloc’s climate goals.

From January to August 2020, 26 of the region’s biggest lenders tested the EU framework across a range of core banking processes, including retail banking, trade finance and lending to smaller companies.

As the main providers of finance to companies across the EU, the ability of the banking system to track and report on whether corporate activities are sustainable or not could prove crucial in assessing the rules’ success or otherwise.

The lenders broadly welcomed the regulations as they seek to align their businesses with the transition to a low-carbon economy, the report by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the European Banking Federation found.

However, they also raised a number of issues, many of which were data-related and could require a phasing in of reporting requirements.

While many large companies are already required to disclose certain environmental and social information by law, the bulk of smaller and mid-sized banking clients are not, hampering banks’ assessment of their alignment with the rules.

Concerns over the quality, detail and standardisation of data is also an issue when looking at banks’ lending overseas, something that would be made more complex as other regions launch their own regulations.

The banks who tested the EU rules called on regulators to seek global alignment of regulations, and for better tools to manage data from clients, such as a centralised EU database.

While under no compulsion to lend to activities that can be classed as sustainable, banks see sustainable finance as a growth area that is likely to take on more importance in coming years should policymakers tighten environmental legislation.

With more investors globally looking to become shareholders of companies with a good record on managing environmental risk, banks are also likely to look to reduce their exposure to environmentally or socially harmful activities over time.

The European Commission is expected to finish the section of the rules covering climate change in the coming months, before they take effect in 2022.

(Reporting by Simon Jessop and Kate Abnett; Editing by Pravin Char)

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EU sustainable investment rules need better corporate data: banking report – The Journal Pioneer

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By Simon Jessop and Kate Abnett

LONDON (Reuters) – European Union rules aimed at defining sustainable investments should help reduce “greenwashing” by businesses, but better quality corporate data is needed to ensure they work effectively, a banking report said on Tuesday.

The sustainable finance rules will classify investments that can be marketed as sustainable, a move aimed at steering much-needed cash into low-carbon projects to deliver the bloc’s climate goals.

From January to August 2020, 26 of the region’s biggest lenders tested the EU framework across a range of core banking processes, including retail banking, trade finance and lending to smaller companies.

As the main providers of finance to companies across the EU, the ability of the banking system to track and report on whether corporate activities are sustainable or not could prove crucial in assessing the rules’ success or otherwise.

The lenders broadly welcomed the regulations as they seek to align their businesses with the transition to a low-carbon economy, the report by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the European Banking Federation found.

However, they also raised a number of issues, many of which were data-related and could require a phasing in of reporting requirements.

While many large companies are already required to disclose certain environmental and social information by law, the bulk of smaller and mid-sized banking clients are not, hampering banks’ assessment of their alignment with the rules.

Concerns over the quality, detail and standardisation of data is also an issue when looking at banks’ lending overseas, something that would be made more complex as other regions launch their own regulations.

The banks who tested the EU rules called on regulators to seek global alignment of regulations, and for better tools to manage data from clients, such as a centralised EU database.

While under no compulsion to lend to activities that can be classed as sustainable, banks see sustainable finance as a growth area that is likely to take on more importance in coming years should policymakers tighten environmental legislation.

With more investors globally looking to become shareholders of companies with a good record on managing environmental risk, banks are also likely to look to reduce their exposure to environmentally or socially harmful activities over time.

The European Commission is expected to finish the section of the rules covering climate change in the coming months, before they take effect in 2022.

(Reporting by Simon Jessop and Kate Abnett; Editing by Pravin Char)

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