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Dow up more than 640 points on hopes for clear US election winner – Al Jazeera English

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The major United States stock indexes all rallied on hopes that a contested US presidential election will be avoided and a clear winner will be decided.

Wall Street’s main stock indexes rallied on Tuesday as investors clung to optimism that a clear winner will emerge from an exceptionally divisive United States presidential election.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session up more than 554 points or just over 2 percent at 27,480.03. It had been up more than 700 points earlier in the session.

The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings accounts – closed up 1.78 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index finished the session up 1.85 percent.

Tuesday’s strong finishes extended Monday’s gains.

Though storefronts from New York to Los Angeles have been boarded up in case violence erupts once the polls are closed, Wall Street is looking at a glass-half-full election outcome scenario in which a clear winner is determined and a contested result is avoided.

Economists at Goldman Sachs led by Jan Hatzius wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday that “there is a good chance the presidential election outcome will be clear on election night” because Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads polls narrowly in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina – all of which are likely to report results quickly.

“Winning any of these would make it difficult for President [Donald] Trump to reach 270 electoral votes,” said Goldman.

Still, there may not be a conclusive winner on Tuesday night or even Wednesday morning if there is a protracted ballot count or the results are challenged.

Biden is ahead in national opinion polls, but the race in key battleground states is still tight enough for Trump – who is relying on a big turnout from his supporters on Tuesday – to ride to victory.

Almost 100 million Americans cast their ballots early.

“I think we will have victory,” Trump told Fox News on Tuesday. “I look at it as being a very solid chance at winning here.”

A person walks past the boarded-up Saks Fifth Ave store in anticipation of tomorrow’s elections in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, the United States [File: Carlo Allegri]

In what is sure to be a big week for Wall Street, all eyes will be on the election results before attention turns to the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, and the monthly jobs report due on Friday.

Among stocks making headlines on Tuesday:

Shares of Alibaba Group Holding, which owns about a third of Ant Group, ended the session down 8.1 percent after China shocked markets by suspending the fintech giant’s blockbuster listing on the Shanghai stock exchange.

Shares of PayPal Holdings also lost 4.23 percent after the company lowered its forecast for fourth-quarter profits.

And shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd gained 0.85 percent after the company said it is suspending cruises through the end of the year.

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30 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death reported in Manitoba on Sunday – CBC.ca

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There are 30 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba and one more person has died from the illness, the province’s online coronavirus dashboard says.

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate is now 3.2 per cent, the dashboard says, down slightly from 3.3 on Saturday.

The province is no longer issuing COVID-19 news releases on weekends, which means updates on Saturdays and Sundays come from Manitoba’s online dashboards.

Those data portals offer less information than what’s typically included in a news release. For example, they do not provide any information on the age or health region of people who died from the illness.

Those and other details are expected to be revealed in the province’s next news release on Monday.

There are still 103 Manitobans hospitalized after getting COVID-19 and the number of people in intensive care rose by one to 26, the dashboard says.

Manitoba has now reported 1,172 deaths linked to COVID-19. The province’s seven-day new case average sank to just under 44.

On Saturday, the province did 1,465 more tests for the illness, the dashboard says, bringing the total number of swabs completed since the beginning of the pandemic to 865,786.

As of Sunday, Manitoba has fully vaccinated 66 per cent of its eligible population against COVID-19 while 78.6 per cent have at least one dose, the province’s online vaccine dashboard says.

That brings the province slightly closer to its final reopening plan goal of having 80 per cent with at least one dose and at least 75 per cent with both by Sept 6.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 57,446 people in Manitoba have tested positive for COVID-19. The dashboard says 55,719 of them are considered recovered, while 555 are still deemed active cases.

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Ontario reports 172 new COVID-19 cases and 2 more deaths; 7-day average remains unchanged – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario reported fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Sunday, as the seven-day rolling average remains unchanged from yesterday.

Provincial health officials logged 172 new infections today, up from 170 on Saturday but down from 177 a week ago.

The province reported 192 cases on Friday, 185 on Thursday and 135 on Wednesday.

The seven-day rolling average now stands at 159, unchanged from Saturday but up slightly from a week ago when it was 153.

The province’s virus-related death toll is 9,313.

Another 144 people recovered from the virus yesterday, resulting in 1,450 active cases across the province.

Ontario labs processed 13,902 tests in the past 24 hours, down from 19,131 the previous day.

The drop in testing contributed to a slight day-over-day rise in the positivity rate to 1.1. per cent, compared to 0.8 per cent on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Health.

Another 152 lab-confirmed cases of variants of concern were identified in Ontario in the past 24 hours.

In the Greater Toronto Area, 48 cases of COVID-19 were logged in Toronto, 23 in Peel Region, nine in York Region, 11 in Durham and seven in Halton.

There are currently 127 people in intensive care units across the province due to the virus and 81 of those patients are breathing with the help of a ventilator.

To date, there have been more 549,300 lab-confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 538,565 recoveries since January 2020.

Over 8.5 million people are fully vaccinated against the virus after receiving two doses of approved vaccines.

More than 18.9 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Ontario since mid-December, with 103,812 shots into arms yesterday alone.

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.

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EU regulator endorses use of Moderna's COVID-19 shot for children – Al Jazeera English

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European Medicines Agency gives all clear for vaccine to be used in children aged between 12 and 17.

The European Union’s medicines regulator has recommended authorising Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged between 12 and 17, marking the first time the shot has been approved for people under 18.

In a decision on Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said research in more than 3,700 children of 12 to 17 years of age showed that the shot produced a comparable antibody response to that seen in 18- to 25-year-olds.

Use of the vaccine, Spikevax, will be the same in adolescents as in people over 18, the EMA said.

Formal approval by the European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – is needed to start rolling out the vaccine for teenagers. The body typically follows EMA recommendations.

Until now, the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech has been the only option for use in children as young as 12 in North America and the EU.

Vaccinating children has been considered important for reaching herd immunity and in light of the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Most children with COVID-19 develop only mild symptoms or none. Yet children remain at risk of becoming seriously ill and can spread the virus.

‘Benefits outweigh the risks’

Moderna said in May that its vaccine was found to be safe and effective in teenagers. Hundreds of millions of doses of the shot have already have been administered to adults.

The EMA said common side effects in teenagers after vaccination with Spikevax were similar to those seen in older people.

But due to a smaller study size, the trial could not detect new uncommon side effects or estimate the risk of known ones such as myocarditis and pericarditis.

“The overall safety profile of Spikevax determined in adults was confirmed in the adolescent study; the CHMP (Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use) therefore considered that the benefits of Spikevax in children aged 12 to 17 outweigh the risks,” the EMA said.

Heart inflammation such as myocarditis and pericarditis has been listed by the EMA as a possible but rare side effect from use of mRNA vaccines such as Moderna’s and Pfizer’s in adults.

Spikevax is already being used in the EU for people over 18, and in the United States and Canada.

Moderna has also sought authorisation in the US and Canada for its use in adolescents.

But with global vaccine supplies still tight, much of the world still is struggling to immunise adults, let alone children.

Agencies including the World Health Organization have urged rich countries to donate their doses to the developing world – where fewer than 2 percent of people have been vaccinated – rather than moving on to inoculate their less vulnerable populations.

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