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Global National: Oct. 9, 2021 | Mixed reactions as Ontario lifts some COVID-19 capacity limits – Global News

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Why did the SEC release a report on GameStop?

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday released a report examining the frenzied trading in shares of retailer GameStop Corp, and other ‘meme’ stocks, in January, and recommended some areas for further regulatory consideration.

The report could have implications that affect where retail stock orders are executed and how that service is paid for, when brokers can restrict trading, and the amount of transparency around short sales.

Here are some key details from the GameStop saga:

WHAT HAPPENED?

Shares of GameStop surged more than 1,600% in January as retail investors colluded in online forums like Reddit‘s WallStreetBets to try to bid up the heavily shorted stock and force hedge funds to unwind their bets against it, with the hope the short squeeze would drive the price even higher.

The extreme volatility in GameStop shares, along with other popular meme stocks, prompted the clearinghouse that guarantees trades before they are completed to raise the collateral from brokers to clear the trades.

That led several brokerages, including Robinhood Markets, to temporarily restrict trading in the red-hot stocks, helping curb the rally, infuriating retail traders and rattling market confidence. Others, like Charles Schwab Corp, adjusted margin requirements and limited advanced options strategies on the affected stocks.

WHY THE SURGE IN RETAIL TRADING?

In late 2019, large retail brokers like Schwab and Fidelity followed Robinhood’s lead and eliminated trading commissions.

Then, in early 2020, with COVID-19 lockdowns keeping people at home, major entertainment and sporting events canceled, and government stimulus checks sent to many U.S. households, retail trading levels soared.

While the main narrative around the GameStop frenzy was retail investors taking on big hedge funds, institutional investors were also major players in the buying and selling.

WHO WAS HURT?

Hedge fund Melvin Capital required a $2.75 billion lifeline when it had to close out its short position in GameStop at a huge loss in January.

Anybody who bought GameStop shares at $482.95 on Jan. 28 and then sold them since would have lost money.

GameStop shares are currently at $183.28, around 1,275% higher than they were a year ago.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE?

– Congress held several hearings on the GameStop episode;

– The SEC has asked for public comments on the effects of the “gamification” of trading apps and whether the public is at risk;

– The main post-trade utility for U.S. stocks has recommended shortening the settlement cycle for stock trades to one day after the trade happens, from two days;

– Various companies and industry groups have made recommendations on improving transparency around the execution of retail orders.

(Reporting by John McCrank, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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Pfizer asks Health Canada to approve COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5 to 11 years old – CBC.ca

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Pfizer has asked Health Canada to approve the first COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 years old.

As soon as the regulator gives the green light, providers will be able to start offering the COVID-19 shot to kids, though new child-sized doses might need to be procured.

The doses are about one-third the size given to adults and teens age 12 and up.

Pfizer has delivered more than 46 million doses to Canada to date, and an analysis of the available data on administration from provincial and federal governments suggests there are more than enough Pfizer doses already in Canada to vaccinate kids between the ages of five and 11. 

But simply pulling smaller doses from vials Canada already had stockpiled across the country may not be advised, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said at a media briefing late last week.

“We also understand from Pfizer that this actual formulation has shifted,” Tam said Friday. “This is a next generation formulation, so that is something that needs to be examined by the regulator.”

Canada signed a new contract with Pfizer for pediatric doses last spring.

The vaccine was developed in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech and is now marketed under the brand name Comirnaty. It was authorized for people at least 16 years old last December, and for kids between 12 and 15 in May.

Pfizer already submitted clinical trial data for its child-sized dose to Health Canada at the beginning of the month, and made a formal request for approval to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week.

The company said the results were comparable to those recorded in the Pfizer-BioNTech study in people aged 16 to 25.

‘Thorough scientific review’ required before authorization

In a statement, Health Canada said it will prioritize the review of the submission, while maintaining high scientific standards for safety, efficacy and quality.

“Health Canada will only authorize the use of Comirnaty if the independent and thorough scientific review of all the data included in the submission showed that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the potential risks in this age group,” the statement said.

WATCH | Dr. Theresa Tam talks about children getting vaccinated against COVID:

Tam is asked to advise parents considering COVID-19 vaccines for children

24 days ago

A reporter asks Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, for her advice to parents considering vaccinating their children once the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to those younger than 12. 4:01

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has also been tested on children as young as six months old. Topline data for children under five years old is expected as soon as the end of the year.

Health Canada said it expects to receive more data for review from Pfizer for younger age groups, as well as other manufacturers for various age ranges in the coming months.

Once the vaccine is approved for kids, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) will weigh in on whether the benefits of the shot outweigh potential risks for young children. The Public Health Agency of Canada has noted rare incidents of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, after receiving an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

As of Oct. 1, Health Canada has documented 859 cases associated with the vaccines, which mainly seem to affect people under 40 years old. That’s out of millions of doses given. 

The risk of myocarditis appears to be low, according to Tim Sly, a Ryerson University epidemiologist with expertise in risk management.

“Of course, no one considers any complication in a child to be acceptable, and a tremendous amount of caution is being taken to look for and identify all problems,” said Sly in a recent email exchange with The Canadian Press.

A COVID-19 infection produces a very high risk of cardiovascular problems, he noted.

Aside from protecting kids against more serious symptoms of COVID-19, the vaccine would also reduce the risk of a child passing the virus on to a vulnerable family member and make for a better school environment with less stress about transmission.

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The global energy crisis has 4 possible paths through 2022: BofA – Markets Insider

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Oil pumps at sunset, industrial oil pumps equipment.
  • The worldwide energy crisis unfolding has thrown markets into unprecedented turmoil.
  • In Europe, natural gas prices are at record highs. And in China, thermal coal futures are also at all-time highs.
  • Francisco Blanch of Bank of America provided Insider with four possible paths through early 2022.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

The worldwide energy crisis unfolding amid a surge in demand and an ongoing supply crunch has thrown the oil and gas markets into unprecedented turmoil.

Oil prices are up more than 60% this year, with West Texas Intermediate crude hitting a fresh seven-year high on Friday.

Elsewhere, the situation is even more extreme. In Europe, natural gas prices are at record highs, with wholesale prices on spot markets tripling this year. In China, thermal coal futures are also at all-time highs and have tripled this year as well.

As energy prices continue to rocket, Francisco Blanch, Bank of America Global Commodities and Derivatives Research Head, provided Insider with four possible paths he sees through early 2022. Each one holds the promise of prices cooling off, but some scenarios are more painful than others.

1. A spike in energy prices will lead to an economic crash

Francisco likened the energy crunch today to the run-up in oil prices between 2007 to 2008.

At the start of 2007, Brent crude was at just $50 a barrel, then nearly doubled to $95.98 a barrel towards the end of the year. And by July 2008, prices soared to an all-time high of nearly $150 a barrel. But prices crashed spectacularly as the Great Recession took hold.

If a similar spike in oil happens again, Francisco said major industrial firms may just sharply decrease production activities or shut down altogether, which will ultimately lead to a recession.

In fact, surging energy prices have already forced some businesses, especially in Europe and Asia, to halt manufacturing.

2. More production, substitution

An increase in the prices of any good will prompt any producer to either ramp up their production or to find more affordable alternatives, Francisco said.

So far, US shale companies have indicated they plan to invest more money next year in domestic production. But they don’t appear ready to unleash a flood of oil as investment remains constrained in favor of bigger shareholder returns.

Meanwhile, as natural gas and coal prices soar, some companies are shifting to using oil. That may add around 500,000 barrels a day to global demand, according to the International Energy Agency.

3. A warm winter that will temporarily cure the problem

Global energy prices are rising ahead of winter, when demand spikes for natural gas and coal to heat homes. Buyers across the globe are competing over a limited supply while energy prices remain high. The US Energy Information Administration on October 13 warned Americans to brace themselves for a heftier heating bill.

But what if we suddenly experience a warmer-than-expected winter? Demand will naturally slide, and the problem, according to Francisco said, would have momentarily cured itself “by chance.”

4. A hike in interest rates that will slow down aggregate demand

Then there’s the possibility that the central bank will slow down aggregate demand, Francisco said. This means allowing for somewhat higher interest rates and reduced quantitative easing, which will cool overall growth and energy consumption.

Federal Reserve officials have already signaled they will taper bond purchases later this year and start hiking rates next year, as the economy continues to rebound and inflation stays elevated.

“Remember, you can print US dollars, you can print euros, and you can print Philippine pesos. But you can’t print commodities,” he said.

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