1. Europe Defensive Stocks Rise; Tech Stocks Selloff Pauses
Defensive shares including health-care stocks advanced in Europe alongside U.S. futures, helping prolong a global rally in equities. Crude oil jumped for the third day. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 1% to its highest level since late February as defensives including grocery stores and real estate also rose. Equity gauges rose across much of Asia despite the tech selloff in China that deepened after Beijing’s crackdown on Internet and fintech firms. In the U.S. the tech picture was more positive, with Nasdaq 100 futures rebounding as much as 1.4%.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.8% as of early morning New York time.
Nasdaq 100 Index futures gained 1.2%.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 1%.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.6%.
2. Record U.S. Hospitalizations; Russia Vaccine Data – COVID Update
A resurgence of cases and deaths continued in Europe, with Germany reporting its highest daily fatalities since mid-April. A state premier warned that German Christmas markets and religious services may be in jeopardy with the current rate of infection. The coronavirus is also returning in U.S. cities. Hospitalizations in the country reached a record, and cases topped 1 million in the first 10 days of November alone. The developer of Russia’s flagship vaccine said it shows a 92% efficacy rate in preventing infections, as the country pushes for a top slot in the virus fight after Pfizer reported a similar breakthrough.
3. OPEC Cuts Demand Estimate for Its Crude Again Amid New Lockdowns
OPEC once again cut estimates for the amount of crude it will need to provide in the coming year as the return of measures to contain the global pandemic hits fuel use. The virus’s effects will “linger” next year even with the announcement of a vaccine breakthrough, the group said. The group reduced forecasts — from estimates in its previous report — for the volume of crude it needs to pump this quarter by 960,000 barrels a day to 26.51 million a day. This follows significant downgrades in the past two months.
4. Deep-Freeze Hurdle Makes Pfizer’s Vaccine One for the Rich
When Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine rolls off production lines, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. will be waiting to distribute it through a complex and costly system of deep-freeze airport warehouses, refrigerated vehicles and inoculation points across China. After they reach vaccination centres, the shots must be thawed from -70 degrees celsius and injected within five days, if not they go bad. Then the herculean journey from warehouse freezer to rolled-up sleeve must be undertaken all over again — to deliver the second booster shot a month later. The roadmap sketched out by the company, which has licensed the vaccine for Greater China, offers a glimpse into the enormous and daunting logistical challenges faced by those looking to deliver Pfizer’s experimental vaccine after it showed “extraordinary” early results from final-stage trials, making it practical only for rich and developed countries.
5. Asia’s Richest Man Takes on Amazon in India’s Booming Online Market
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani obliterated rivals in India’s telecommunications sector by selling the cheapest data plans and free voice calls. Four years later, he’s deploying a very similar tactic — cutthroat pricing — to gain an edge in the country’s increasingly competitive e-commerce space. As India this week hits the peak of its biggest shopping season, the festival of Diwali, the tycoon’s retail websites — including JioMart — are elbowing their way into a space long dominated by Amazon.com and Walmart’s local unit Flipkart. Ratcheting up competition, Ambani’s portals are offering blockbuster discounts of as much as 50% on popular sugary confections and other holiday staples like spice mixes for India’s rice delicacy, biryani. Meanwhile, his Reliance Digital website is selling some flagship Samsung smartphones at prices cheaper than rivals, with as much as 40% discounts.
6. Saudi Aramco Proposes Selling Gas to China to Build on Oil Ties
Saudi Aramco wants to sell natural gas to China to help its biggest customer for oil make the transition to cleaner fuels, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said. The Saudis, who have fought to remain among China’s largest crude suppliers, are also looking at options to develop and supply energy sources such as hydrogen and new kinds of chemicals to broaden their relationship with China.
7. Alibaba Leads Chinese Internet Selloff Nearing $290 Billion
Chinese technology giants from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd shed almost $290 billion of market value over two days of frantic selling, as investors scrambled to assess the fallout from China’s broadest attempt to control its most powerful private-sector firms. Technology shares tumbled for a second day after China issued regulations designed to curb the growing influence of internet-sector leaders including JD.com Inc., Meituan and Xiaomi Corp. The Hang Seng Tech Index slumped more than 6% on Wednesday in Hong Kong, taking its two-day loss to 11%. China on Tuesday unveiled regulations to root out monopolistic practices in the internet industry, pivoting away from a mostly hands-off approach while dealing a blow to businesses at the heart of the world’s No. 2 economy.
8. Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble to begin on November 22
A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore will begin on November 22, the two cities announced on Wednesday, as they moved to re-establish overseas travel links and lift the hurdle of quarantine for visiting foreigners. Hong Kong’s Commerce Secretary and Singapore’s Transport Minister said the scheme would begin with one flight a day into each city, with a quota of 200 travellers per flight. This would be increased to two flights a day into each city from December 7. If the COVID-19 situation deteriorated in either city the travel bubble would be suspended, they said. Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said he believed the travel bubble was the first of its kind in the world and enabled both cities to open up borders in a controlled manner while maintaining safety. Travellers from both cities must travel on designated flights and must undertake COVID-19 tests within 72 hours before their departure, while people arriving in Hong Kong must take a second test at the airport. They must also have no history of travel to any places other than Singapore or Hong Kong in the 14 days prior to departure.
9. China’s Singles’ Day bags record shopping revenues
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said orders made during its Singles’ Day mega-shopping festival had exceeded $56bn (INR 4.2 lakh cr) by Wednesday morning, as consumers sought to cash in on a deluge of discounts. This year’s shopping extravaganza comes a week after Alibaba lost almost 6% of its market value following China’s suspension of the IPO listing of Ant Group, the financial technology firm which Alibaba owns a third of. It also takes place as China experiences an economic rebound after getting the spread of the novel coronavirus under control within its borders, following the virus’ emergence in the central city of Wuhan late last year.
10. Norwegian Air furloughs staff, pleads for help to survive in 2021
Already heavily in debt, Norwegian Air sees its problems exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Norwegian Air’s cash crisis could force the debt-laden budget airline to halt operations early next year, the company warned as it issued another plea for rescue funding after reporting quarterly results on Tuesday. The rapid expansion of the pioneer in low-fare transatlantic flights has left it with heavy debts and problems that have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now serving domestic routes only, with just 6 of its 140 aircraft flying. Its latest plea comes after Norway’s government on Monday rejected calls for more state support for the airline, the shares of which have lost 99% of their value since January, saying it would be too risky. Following that rejection, the company said that it would furlough 1,600 more staff, leaving only 600 people still working out of its total 10,000 workers before the pandemic.