* Asian stock markets : tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
* Asia ex-Japan off record high after Wall St pullback
* Tokyo raises pandemic alert level, Nikkei slips
* Economic restrictions in U.S. suggest more Fed action
SYDNEY, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Asian shares drifted off all-time highs on Thursday as widening COVID-19 restrictions in the United states weighed on Wall Street, while bonds were underpinned by speculation the Federal Reserve would have to respond with yet more easing.
Japan also reported record news cases as Tokyo raised its pandemic alert to the highest level, shoving the Nikkei down 0.8% and away from a 29-year closing top.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.6%, off their historic high. Chinese blue chips added 0.4% as President Xi Jinping vowed to cut tariffs and expand imports of high-quality goods and services.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 steadied after Wall Street took a late dip on Wednesday. The Dow ended down 1.16%, while the S&P 500 lost 1.16% and the Nasdaq 0.82%.
Pfizer Inc shares had gained after the drugmaker said its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective and it would apply for emergency U.S. authorization within days.
Pfizer’s announcement came on the heels of a similar report from Moderna Inc.
Yet, the U.S. death toll still neared a world record of a quarter million as government officials in dozens of states weighed or implemented shutdown measures.
New York closed its schools on Wednesday, while Minnesota ordered bars and restaurants to cease in-door dining.
“The vaccines news are a positive medium-term impulse for the global economic outlook and investors are trying to weigh that against the prospect of an imminent stalling of the European and U.S. recovery amid the prospect of extensions of current lockdown measures,” said Rodrigo Catril, a senior FX strategist at NAB.
FORCING THE FED
The drag from new U.S. restrictions was only amplified by the total lack of progress on a fiscal stimulus bill, fuelling speculation the Federal Reserve would have to expand its asset-buying campaign at a December policy meeting.
Two top Fed officials on Wednesday held out the option of doing more.
The chance of further easing has helped nudge 10-year Treasury yields down to 0.85% and away from an eight-month top of 0.975% touched last week.
It has also weighed on the dollar, which slipped for five sessions in a row before steadying a little on Thursday. Against a basket of currencies it was last at 92.477, still close to recent lows of 92.129.
The dollar has likewise been in a slow decline against the Japanese yen to reach 103.72 and was approaching the recent eight-month trough at 103.16.
The euro has had pandemic problems of its own as lockdowns spread across the continent, keeping it capped at $1.1844 and short of the recent peak of $1.1919.
Sterling dipped to $1.3230 as Brexit talks dragged on. The Times reported Europe’s leaders would demand the European Commission publish no-deal plans as the deadline neared.
Bitcoin, sometimes regarded as a safe haven or at least a hedge against inflation, rose to more than $18,000 for the first time in nearly three years. It last stood at $17,808.
All the talk of policy easing put a floor under gold prices, leaving the metal steady at $1,868 an ounce.
Oil prices eased as virus restrictions hit fuel demand across Europe and the U.S.
U.S. crude fell 35 cents to $41.47 a barrel, while Brent crude futures lost 23 cents to $44.11.
Additional reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Sam Holmes
Voluntary recall issued for Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning – Global News
A voluntary recall has been issued for Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning over a possible Salmonella contamination.
McCormick & Company, Inc. says the recall covers 153g bottles with a best before date of September 6, 2022.
The bottles were shipped to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
No illnesses have been reported, and McCormick says the potential risk was brought to their attention by the FDA during routine testing.
Salmonella poisoning can result in a wide range of symptoms, from short-term fever, headache and nausea to more serious issues including severe arthritis and, in rare cases, even death.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
Pfizer sells $7.8 billion in Covid shots in the second quarter, raises 2021 guidance on vaccine sales – CNBC
Pfizer said Wednesday it sold $7.8 billion in Covid-19 shots in the second quarter and raised its 2021 sales forecast for the vaccine to $33.5 billion from $26 billion, as the delta variant spreads and scientists debate whether people will need booster shots.
The company’s second-quarter financial results also beat Wall Street expectations on earnings and revenue. Here’s how Pfizer did compared with what Wall Street expected, according to average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:
- Adjusted earnings per share: $1.07 per share vs. 97 cents per share expected
- Revenue: $18.98 billion vs. $18.74 billion forecast
Pfizer expects an adjusted pretax profit in the high 20% range of revenue for the vaccine.
The company now expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.95 to $4.05 per share. That’s up from its prior range of $3.55 to $3.65 per share. It expects revenue in the range of $78 billion to $80 billion, up from its previous estimate of $70.5 billion to $72.5 billion.
Shares of Pfizer dipped 0.4% in premarket trading.
“The second quarter was remarkable in a number of ways,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. “Most visibly, the speed and efficiency of our efforts with BioNTech to help vaccinate the world against COVID-19 have been unprecedented, with now more than a billion doses of BNT162b2 having been delivered globally.”
Pfizer’s other business units also saw strong sales growth. Revenue from its oncology unit rose by 19% year over year to $3.1 billion. The company’s hospital unit generated $2.2 billion in revenue, up 21% from the prior year. Its internal medicine unit grew by 5% from a year ago to $2.4 billion.
Pfizer said earlier this month it was seeing signs of waning immunity induced by its Covid vaccine with German drugmaker BioNTech, and planned to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a booster dose. It also said it is developing a booster shot to target the delta variant.
In slides posted Wednesday alongside its earnings report, Pfizer said it could potentially file for an emergency use authorization for a booster dose with the FDA as early as August. It expects to begin clinical studies testing its delta variant vaccine in the same month.
It expects full approval for its two-dose vaccine by January 2022.
Pearson airport won’t sort arriving passengers based on COVID-19 vaccination status – CityNews Toronto
Canada’s largest airport is no longer splitting arriving international passengers into different customs lines based on their vaccination status.
Toronto’s Pearson International Airport announced last week it may be sorting travellers arriving from the U.S. or other international locations into vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated queues.
But a spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says the practice has been discontinued as of Monday.
Beverly MacDonald says in a statement that the airport has determined separating vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated travellers into different customs lines “results in minimal operational efficiencies.”
She says entry requirements related to vaccination status will now be enforced once a passenger reaches a customs officer.
Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents are now able to forgo a 14-day quarantine when arriving in Canada from abroad.
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Voluntary recall issued for Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning – Global News
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