Connect with us


How close are we to a coronavirus vaccine? – National Post



Article content continued

AstraZeneca has had to pause trials twice after participants fell seriously ill and while work has resumed in the UK and elsewhere, the research remains on hold in the US.

Vials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a recombinant adenovirus vaccine named Ad5-nCoV, co-developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics Inc and a team led by Chinese military infectious disease expert, are pictured in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, March 24, 2020. Photo by China Daily via REUTERS

Which countries have bought doses so far?

Despite global appeals from the WHO for countries to pursue multilateral deals that provide for the equitable distribution of doses, the trials have sparked a multibillion-dollar flurry of vaccine dealmaking by national governments.

The US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is the biggest spender so far, having distributed more than $10bn in funding for vaccine candidates, either via direct financing or through vaccine procurement agreements.

Bar chart showing amount spent on COVID-19 vaccine candidates in billions of dollars
On a per-capita basis, the UK has built the largest and most diversified vaccine portfolio, according to data from Deutsche Bank, having pre-ordered more than five doses per citizen spread across six leading vaccine candidates. The UK is followed closely by the US, Canada and Japan.

A laboratory technician supervises capped vials during filling and packaging tests for the large-scale production and supply of University of Oxfords COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, conducted on a high-performance aseptic vial filling line on September 11, 2020 at the Italian biologics manufacturing facility of multinational corporation Catalent in Anagni, southeast of Rome, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images

In total, dealmaking by the US, UK, EU, Japan and other rich nations has meant wealthy countries representing just 13 per cent of the world’s population have bought more than half of the leading vaccine candidates’ promised doses, according to Oxfam, the charity.

Covax, the global vaccine procurement facility, designed to ensure the equitable distribution of doses, only this week secured the participation of 64 higher income countries. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, one of the founders of the facility, has invested up to $895m in nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates that will be distributed under the programme.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link


Wall Street slumps again as coronavirus counts keep climbing – Business News –



Stocks are slumping sharply in afternoon trading on Wall Street Monday and deepening last week’s losses, as a troubling climb in coronavirus counts threatens the global economy.

The S&P 500 was 2.3% lower and on track for its worst day in more than a month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 826 points, or 2.9%, at 27,508, as of 12:42 p.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was down 2%.

Stocks also weakened across much of Europe and Asia. In another sign of caution, Treasury yields were pulling back after touching their highest level since June last week.

Coronavirus counts are spiking in much of the United States and Europe, raising concerns about more damage to the still-weakened economy. The U.S. came very close to setting back-to-back record daily infection rates on Friday and Saturday. In Europe, Spain’s government declared a national state of emergency on Sunday that includes an overnight curfew, while Italy ordered restaurants and bars to close each day by 6 p.m. and shut down gyms, pools and movie theatres.

Hopes are fading, meanwhile, that Washington will be able to deliver more support for the economy anytime soon. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke several times last week on a potential deal to send cash to most Americans, restart supplemental benefits for laid-off workers and provide aid to schools, among other things.

But deep partisan difference remains on Capitol Hill, and time is running out for anything to happen before Election Day on Nov. 3. Any compromise reached between House Democrats and the White House would also likely face stiff resistance from Republicans in control of the Senate.

Worries about the diminishing prospect for more stimulus in the short term helped drive the S&P 500 to a 0.5% drop last week, its first weekly loss in the last four.

“While we are seeing nations attempt to stifle the spread of the virus through more localised and tentative restrictions, it seems highly likely that we will eventually see a swathe of nationwide lockdowns if the trajectory cannot be reversed,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG in London.

“Traders remain torn as they weigh up the potential impending benefits of a U.S. stimulus package and potential vaccine,” he added.

The U.S. economy has recovered a bit since the stay-at-home restrictions that swept the country early this year eased, and economists expect a report on Thursday to show it grew at an annual rate of 30.2% during the summer quarter after shrinking 31.4% during the second quarter.

But momentum has slowed recently after a prior round of supplemental unemployment benefits and other stimulus that Congress approved earlier this year expired.

In European stock markets, Germany’s DAX lost 3.7%, and France’s CAC 40 fell 1.9%. The FTSE 100 in London slipped 1.2%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 dipped 0.1%, South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.7% and stocks in Shanghai lost 0.8%.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Husky Halts West White Rose Construction for 2021 – VOCM



Husky says it is continuing to work with the provincial government to discuss how new federal funding can support the long-term success of the White Rose project and the offshore, but admits, the possibility of abandoning the project remains on the table. This comes after word that Cenovus intends to buy out the company.

Husky cancelled construction on West White Rose for the 2021 season following a review in September.

Husky says it will continue to operate as a separate, independent company if the merger with Cenovus closes. Once that process is complete, additional work will be undertaken to review all assets and determine its go-forward business case according to Husky officials in Calgary.

Husky tells VOCM News West White Rose continues to be key to extending the life of the White Rose oilfield in the offshore, however, all options are on the table and “accelerating abandonment remains a possibility.”

Earlier Story

Shares of Cenovus Energy are down following the merger in the oil industry while Husky’s shares are up. Husky and Cenovus, both based in Calgary, are joining forces in these troubling economic times.

The White Rose expansion project, with most of its onshore component in Argentia, was mothballed after the federal and provincial governments declined an offer to invest.

Larry Short, a portfolio manager with Short Financial in St. John’s, wasn’t surprised by the merger as it’s reflective of what’s happening in North America. There was no mention of Husky’s east coast operations in the news release announcing the merger, but Short doesn’t see that as anything significant.

Short says Husky is in a healthier position today than it was on Friday before the merger.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Cenovus shares plummet on news of its $3.8-billion deal to buy oilsands rival – CTV News



The all-shares deal by Cenovus Energy Inc. to buy Husky Energy Inc. for about $3.8 billion will likely spark more mega-mergers among Canadian oil and gas majors, according to a veteran oilsands analyst.

“This is likely just the start of big deals in Canadian energy land and thus it begs the question of who is next?” said analyst Phil Skolnick of Eight Capital in a report on Monday.

“As seen in the U.S. with the accelerated M&A activity, when there’s one meaningful transaction, there’s likely more to come.”

Several industry observers point to Calgary-based oilsands producer MEG Energy Inc. as the leading potential target, noting Husky’s failed $3.3-billion hostile takeover attempt of its smaller rival two years ago.

In his report, Skolnick presents scenarios where Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ) or Imperial Oil Ltd. buy MEG, while also outlining the numbers involved if Canadian Natural combines with Imperial or Suncor Energy Inc., and if Suncor was to merge with Imperial.

“Some (scenarios) have been asked about before and I was just bringing up some new ones — like a CNQ and Suncor merger is not something I’ve heard out there, but nor was Cenovus-Husky,” he said in an interview.

“I’m not going to give zero chance to anything anymore.”

Analysts generally applauded the surprise Cenovus-Husky hookup announced Sunday for its operational advantages but criticized the plus-20-per-cent premium in the price for Husky.

“The deal does makes strategic sense,” said Manav Gupta of Credit Suisse in a note to investors.

“Like U.S. E&P (exploration and production companies), Canadian energy companies also need to come together, cut costs and become leaner to better adapt to lower energy demand in post pandemic world.”

He said Cenovus’s reputation as an efficient operator in its steam-driven oilsands projects will help Husky overcome its struggles with operational issues, including higher operating and administrative costs.

The companies have identified $1.2 billion in annual potential cost savings which will include workforce reductions.

But Gupta added the premium is “excessive” and joined other observers in predicting Cenovus shares would trade lower, as they did, falling by as much as 15 per cent or 73 cents to $4.15 in Monday morning trading in Toronto.

Husky, meanwhile, gained as much as 44 cents or 13.9 per cent to $3.61.

Husky shareholders are to receive 0.7845 of a Cenovus share plus 0.0651 of a Cenovus share purchase warrant in exchange for each Husky common share if the deal is concluded.

Cenovus shareholders would own about 61 per cent of the combined company and Husky shareholders about 39 per cent.

The transaction must be approved by at least two-thirds of Husky’s shareholders but Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing controls 70 per cent of Husky’s shares and has agreed to vote them in favour of the deal.

The announcement Sunday came just as Calgary’s oilsands companies are about to start rolling out third-quarter financial results, with Suncor Energy Inc. set to report Wednesday and both Cenovus and Husky scheduled to report on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading