1. Europe Stocks Rise With Futures; Dollar Declines

European stocks tracked U.S. equity futures higher on Wednesday, buoyed by earnings and hopes for more stimulus. The dollar extended its retreat. Nasdaq futures rallied and tech shares led gains in the Stoxx 600 Index following strong earnings from Netflix and chipmaker ASML Holding NV. S&P 500 contracts edged higher a day after Janet Yellen unveiled a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief proposal to lawmakers. In Asia, Chinese firms trading in Hong Kong saw the bulk of gains, and the Hang Seng Index approached the 30,000 level.

The S&P 500 Index jumped 0.7% as of early morning time in New York.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.1%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 1.2%.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index increased 1.3%.

2. Biden Sweeps Executive Orders to Reverse Trump Legacy

President-elect Joe Biden plans to begin immediately unwinding President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration, climate and other issues on Wednesday with at least 15 executive actions, including moves to reverse U.S. withdrawals from the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization and stop construction of a border wall. Biden will also sign orders revoking a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, imposing a mask mandate on federal property to combat the coronavirus pandemic and ending Trump’s travel ban against some predominantly Muslim and African countries.

3. Jack Ma Emerges for First Time Since Ant, Alibaba Crackdown

Jack Ma resurfaced for the first time since China’s government began clamping down on his business empire nearly three months ago, appearing in a live-streamed video that sent Alibaba’s stock soaring but left plenty of unanswered questions about the billionaire’s fate. Ma spoke briefly on Wednesday during an annual event he hosts to recognize rural teachers. In one video of the event circulated online, China’s most famous entrepreneur can be seen touring a primary school in his hometown of Hangzhou. Ma, who had stayed out of public view since regulators suspended the IPO of his fintech company Ant Group, told the teachers he’ll spend more time on philanthropy. He didn’t mention his run-ins with Beijing.

4. Disney Cuts Iger’s Pay 56% to $21 Million, Axes Bonuses

Walt Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger saw his pay decline 56% to $21 million last year. Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek, who was promoted to Iger’s former role at the end of February, earned $14.2 million, one of the lowest compensation levels for a Disney CEO in more than a decade. Bonuses were eliminated for the company’s most highly compensated executives. Disney was hit in myriad ways by the Covid-19 crisis, but also saw some businesses thrive. The world’s largest entertainment company closed theme parks and docked cruise ships around the world. Like other Hollywood studios, it postponed releases of films in theatres, while the loss of live sports on television earlier in the year crimped the company’s advertising business.

5. China ETF Overtakes BlackRock as Investors Avert Sanctions

A Chinese exchange-traded fund has surpassed BlackRock’’s ETF to become the largest tracking onshore stocks. China Asset Management (Hong Kong) Ltd.’s CSI 300 Index ETF grew to $2.7 billion in assets as of Tuesday, surpassing BlackRock’s iShares fund tracking the FTSE A50 China Index. Investors are shifting to the Chinese-owned CSI 300 index fund partly to avoid U.S. sanctions, which forced New York-based BlackRock to unload shares in popular telecom stocks such as China Mobile Ltd. Buyers have also been attracted to the index’s broader holdings, compared with the finance-heavy FTSE A50.

6. Ethereum May Surge Sevenfold to $10,500

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, could climb more than sevenfold to $10,500 after reaching a record this week, according to Fundstrat Global Advisors LLC. Strategist David Grider’s prediction is based in part on the popularity of the related Ethereum blockchain for so-called decentralized finance applications. Ethereum has also made progress toward a network upgrade that would allow it to process a similar number of transactions as Mastercard and Visa. Decentralized finance, or DeFi, allows people to do things like lend or borrow funds without the need for traditional intermediaries such as banks. Many DeFi applications are run on the Ethereum blockchain.

7. U.K., Belgium Among Nations Seeking Cheaper Indian Vaccines

India says it can increase its production of Covid-19 vaccines to 500 million per month for export, as it fields interest from the U.K., Belgium, and countries across the Middle East and Africa seeking access to cheaper inoculations. The South Asian nation can boost its production on expectations that vaccine demand will rise by the end of this week. South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are among African nations in talks for supplies. New Delhi on Wednesday began shipping out vaccines to six neighbouring countries — Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives and Seychelles — and is waiting for regulatory clearances from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius to send out the shots, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

8. Yellen Opens Debate on Giant Spending Saying ‘World Has Changed’

Janet Yellen invoked an enduring era of low-interest rates in delivering the Biden administration’s opening argument to lawmakers for its $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief proposal. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary told the Senate Finance Committee in testimony Tuesday that the slew of spending — from aid to small businesses and the unemployed to funding for state governments — was needed to fight the pandemic while playing down concerns about the debt it creates.

9. Trump Pardons Bannon, Lil Wayne, Broidy, But Not Himself

Donald Trump granted clemency to dozens of people on Wednesday, including his former strategist Steve Bannon, the rapper Lil Wayne and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, in one of his final official acts as president. A list of pardons and commutations the White House released early Wednesday, Trump’s last day in office, doesn’t include the president himself. Trump had discussed preemptively pardoning himself and associates, but some advisers had cautioned the president against what would have been an unprecedented action. Trump didn’t grant clemency to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange or former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

10. Aldar Shares Jump as AbuDhabi Signs Off on $12 Billion in Deals

Aldar Properties climbed the most in almost three months after Abu Dhabi signed off on deals worth $12.3 billion. The company will take on the management of 30 billion dirhams ($8.2 billion) in developments and provide oversight for projects worth 10 billion dirhams in education, health-care and infrastructure. Aldar will also manage 5 billion dirhams of projects that were awarded by the government in 2019. The shares rose as much as 15% shortly after trading started, and trimmed their gains to 8% as of 11 a.m. local time.

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