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Daily Market Report | January 3, 2021

US FINANCIAL MARKET

U.S. Stocks Open Higher on First Trading Day of 2022 – Wall Street Journal, 1/3/2022

  • U.S. stocks opened 2022 with tepid gains as investors monitored cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and other factors that could weigh on stocks this year.
  • The S&P 500 gained 0.4% in early Monday trading. The index ended 2021 up 27%, notching 70 record highs along the way.
  • The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.7% early Monday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3%.
  • Investors see a rockier path ahead for stocks this year.
  • The initial rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and the easing of restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, along with easy-money policies from central banks, helped support markets last year.
  • The unwind of the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program and likely interest-rate increases could weigh on markets in 2022.
  • Stocks have benefited from low rates, which have fueled riskier investments.
  • While some investors expect that inflation, which reached a 39-year high in November, has peaked, others are worried that Omicron could prolong supply-chain disruptions, adding further pressure to prices.
  • Despite the uncertainty, investors have history on their side.
  • The S&P 500 has gained more than 10% annually for the last three years, a long stretch of gains that has happened only four other times, said Frank Cappelleri, executive director at brokerage firm Instinet.
  • The index rose again in three of the four previous occurrences.
  • The S&P 500’s tech sector was up 0.2%.
  • Shares of Tesla jumped 9.4% after Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle maker said annual vehicle deliveries surged 87% in 2021, growing at their fastest pace in years.
  • In commodities, U.S. crude oil shook off early selling, most recently down only 0.1% at $75.15. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 0.2%.
  • In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 1.603% from 1.496% Friday. Yields rise when prices fall.
  • Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.6%. Markets in China, Japan and Australia were closed for a holiday. South Korea’s Kospi closed up 0.4%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5%.

Adams Urges Return to Class in NYC; U.S. Surges: Virus Update – Bloomberg, 1/3/2022

  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams urged parents to “put your children in school” when the U.S.’s largest school system reopens on Monday, despite a third of Covid-19 tests coming back positive across the city and no requirement to test before attending classes.
  • The city’s seven-day positivity rate surpassed 32% on Dec. 30 and reached nearly 45% in some areas of the Bronx, including Fordham, according to city data. Seven-day average hospitalizations more than tripled since mid-December to 447 on Dec. 30.
  • Israel will start offering a fourth vaccine dose to people older than 60 as the omicron strain has caused a surge in new cases in the country.
  • The fourth dose will also be made available to medical staff for whom at least 4 months have passed since their last jab, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a press conference on Sunday. Last week, Israel approved the extra shot for people who are immunocompromised, as well as residents of nursing homes, and patients at geriatric hospitals.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is considering adding a negative test to recommendations on a shortened isolation period for people with asymptomatic infections, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said on ABC’s “This Week.”
  • There are 9,353 coronavirus patients hospitalized in South Africa, of which 7.8% are in intensive-care units, according to data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. That’s a slight decrease from the 9,378 patients a day earlier. Of the 733 people in ICU, 310 are on ventilators, the data show.
  • Hundreds of Dutch protesters gathered in Amsterdam to demonstrate against coronavirus measures, even as the city banned the event, citing public health risks. “The organization is not prepared to cooperate in a safe and orderly course and has announced that it wants to seek confrontation and break the rules,” the municipality said on its website on Thursday.
  • Covid-related absences among hospital staff in the U.K. jumped nearly two thirds in the post-Christmas period, the Times reported, citing NHS data.
  • Regionally, the situation is even worse, with parts of one London hospital closed because half of the nursing staff were off sick, the paper reported. Health service staff have also faced difficulty accessing Covid-19 tests.
  • Germany recorded 12,515 new cases, less than half the 26,392 of the day before, according to the country’s public health authority RKI.
  • Reported new deaths associated with the virus rose by 46, bringing the total to 112,155.

Tesla Reports 87% Growth in Annual Vehicle Deliveries – Wall Street Journal, 1/3/2022

  • Tesla annual vehicle deliveries surged 87% in 2021, growing at their fastest pace in years, as the company leveraged its Silicon Valley roots to overcome computer-chip shortages that have plagued the global auto industry.
  • Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle maker said Sunday that it delivered more than 936,000 vehicles globally in 2021, up from nearly half a million the previous year. The company has been aiming to increase annual deliveries by an average of 50%.
  • Tesla delivered roughly 308,600 vehicles in the final three months of 2021, up from 180,667 a year earlier and 241,391 in the third quarter of 2021.
  • The company reported delivering a combined 911,208 Model 3s and Model Ys last year.

AT&T, Verizon CEOs reject U.S. request for 5G deployment delay – Reuters, 1/3/2022

  • The chief executives of AT&T and Verizon Communications rejected a request to delay the planned Jan. 5 introduction of new 5G wireless service over aviation safety concerns but offered to temporarily adopt new safeguards.
  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson had asked AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg late Friday for a commercial deployment delay of no more than two weeks.
  • The aviation industry and FAA have raised concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters that could disrupt flights.
  • The exclusion zone AT&T and Verizon propose is currently in use in France, the carriers said, “with slight adaption” reflecting “modest technical differences in how C-band is being deployed.”

Omicron Takes a Toll on Businesses, From Airports to Bars and Supermarkets – Wall Street Journal, 1/3/2022

  • The rapid spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant is weighing on U.S. businesses, keeping more workers home sick or quarantined and leading some companies to cut services and reduce hours.
  • Airlines over the weekend canceled thousands of flights, capping a week in which carriers scrubbed more than 1,000 flights each day, according to data compiled by FlightAware.
  • In addition to snowstorms that snarled airports in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, airlines including Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines Holdings said rising Covid-19 infections among crew members hampered their abilities to staff flights at the same time holiday travel was rebounding from 2020 levels.
  • Supermarket operators said they anticipate the Omicron variant’s spread will drive increased absences among cashiers, stockers and other employees in the days ahead, deepening staffing problems the grocery sector has faced for months.
  • Increasing infections have led some retailers to temporarily close stores, such as Apple, which limited access to New York City-area locations, including its iconic Fifth Avenue flagship.
  • The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, a labor union, has pushed back on the new CDC recommendations, warning that it could mean infectious workers crewing flights or boarding planes as passengers.
  • The union has called for the prior 10-day isolation period to be maintained, along with additional testing and masking practices.

US ECONOMY & POLITICS

Democrats Seek Filibuster Changes to Pass Elections Bills – Wall Street Journal, 1/3/2022

  • The Senate returns for a new session on Monday with Democrats focused on trying to change the chamber’s rules to muscle through elections legislation over Republican opposition, as lawmakers also hope to revive President Biden’s stalled economic and climate agenda.
  • Many Democrats say they need to alter Senate filibuster procedures, which require 60 votes to advance most legislation, to pass bills designed to make it easier for people nationwide to vote.
  • As Build Back Better stalled, Democrats turned their attention to voting rights and the filibuster. Mr. Biden has signaled he could back modifications to the filibuster if needed to pass voting-rights legislation.
  • Creating a new precedent to change the filibuster rule would require a majority vote in the Senate, and Mr. Manchin as well as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) have said they oppose eliminating the rule. As such, lawmakers are discussing various modifications to the filibuster, short of eliminating it outright.

Homebuilding lifts U.S. construction spending in November – Reuters, 1/3/2022

  • U.S. construction spending increased in November amid strong gains in single-family homebuilding, but outlays on public projects were weak.
  • The Commerce Department said on Monday that construction spending rose 0.4% after a similar advance in October.
  • Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending climbing 0.6%. Construction spending increased 9.3% on a year-on-year basis in November.
  • Spending on private construction projects rose 0.6% in November. Outlays on residential construction surged 0.9%.
  • Single-family homebuilding spending shot up 1.2%, but outlays on multi-family housing projects dipped 0.3%.
  • Investment in private non-residential structures like gas and oil well drilling edged up 0.1% in November. Spending on structures declined for a second straight quarter in the July-September period, led by commercial and healthcare structures.
  • Spending on public construction projects fell 0.2% in November. Outlays on state and local government construction projects dropped 0.2%, while federal government spending decreased 0.4%.

EUROPE & WORLD

Chinese authorities pledge to resolve food shortages in locked-down Xi’an – Financial Times, 1/3/2022

  • Chinese officials have pledged to alleviate food shortages in Xi’an for residents locked in their homes as the country battles its worst Covid-19 outbreak since the coronavirus pandemic started in Wuhan two years ago.
  • Residents of the central Chinese city of 13m complained on social media that their food stores were running low and of the difficulty buying supplies as shops have been shuttered and movement sharply curtailed.
  • In many parts of the city, residents are allowed to leave their homes only for mandatory Covid-19 testing and have to rely on patchy delivery services to restock.
  • A video of the city’s pandemic prevention workers beating a resident for leaving his apartment to buy food went viral on social media last week. The clip showed a half dozen steamed buns spilling from the man’s bag as workers shoved him.
  • Officials have blamed the Delta variant for the Xi’an outbreak and are determined to keep Omicron out of the country before the Winter Olympics begin in Beijing on February 4 under strict “bubble” protocols.

India Hits Apple with Antitrust Investigation Over App-Store Practices – Wall Street Journal, 1/3/2022

  • India’s antitrust watchdog ordered an investigation into how Apple runs its App Store, becoming the most recent country to take aim at the U.S. technology giant.
  • The order from the Competition Commission of India said Friday that its initial view is that the Cupertino, Calif., company has violated some of the country’s antitrust laws. The body is “prima facie convinced that a case is made out for directing an investigation” into Apple, the order said.
  • The watchdog was responding to a complaint earlier last year from an Indian nonprofit group alleging that a 30% fee Apple charges developers selling digital content via their apps harms software makers and stifles competition.
  • The watchdog said Friday that a report should be completed in the next 60 days. It didn’t outline what might happen if Apple is found to have violated the country’s antitrust rules. An Apple spokesman declined to comment Monday.

Euro zone factory growth stayed strong in Dec as supply issues eased -PMI – Reuters, 1/3/2022

  • Manufacturing activity in the euro zone remained resilient at the end of 2021 as factories took advantage of an easing in supply chain bottlenecks and stocked up on raw materials at a record pace, a survey showed.
  • IHS Markit’s final manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 58.0 in December from November’s 58.4, matching an initial “flash” estimate and still comfortably above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.
  • An index measuring output, which feeds into a composite PMI due on Wednesday and seen as a good guide to economic health, held steady at November’s 53.8.
  • That easing meant the input prices index sank to an albeit still high eight-month low of 86.7 from 88.9, allowing factories to raise their prices at a much slower pace than in November.
  1. Korea factory activity quickens but output, export orders shrink – PMI – Reuters, 1/3/2022
  • Activity in South Korea’s factories expanded at the fastest pace in three months in December but the economy struggled to gather momentum as rising global coronavirus cases and continued supply constraint weighed on production and overseas demand.
  • The IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the final month of the year rose to 51.9 from 50.9 in November, remaining above the 50 threshold that indicates expansion in activity for a 15th consecutive month.
  • New orders – which have the largest weighting in the PMI – grew at a faster pace as domestic demand conditions improved, offsetting sluggish overseas sales.
  • Manufacturers continued to face acute cost pressures, notably in oil, natural gas, ores and electronics prices, which led them to pass higher charges on to clients.

China Evergrande shares halted, set to release ‘inside information’ -Reuters, 1/3/2022

  • China Evergrande Group shares have been suspended from trading on Monday pending the release of “inside information”, the embattled property developer said without elaborating.
  • Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer, is struggling to repay more than $300 billion in liabilities, including nearly $20 billion of international market bonds that were deemed to be in cross-default by ratings firms last month after it missed payments.
  • The property developer missed new coupon payments worth $255 million due last Tuesday, though both have a 30-day grace period.
  • Local media reported over the weekend a city government in the Chinese resort island of Hainan had ordered Evergrande on Dec. 30 to demolish its 39 residential buildings within 10 days, due to illegal construction.
  • The buildings stretched over 435,000 square meters, the reports added, citing an official notice to Evergrande’s unit in Hainan.
  • On Friday, Evergrande dialled back plans to repay investors in its wealth management products, saying each investor in its wealth management product could expect to receive 8,000 yuan ($1,257) per month as principal payment for three months irrespective of when the investment matures.

Electric cars hit 65% of Norway sales as Tesla grabs overall pole – Reuters, 1/3/2022

  • Electric cars made up nearly two thirds of Norway’s new sales in 2021, with Tesla the top selling automobile brand overall, as the country pursues its goal of becoming the first to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars.
  • While Norway, with a population of 5.4 million, has the world’s highest proportion of electric vehicles, China with its 1.4 billion people is by far the biggest overall car market.
  • Oil-producing Norway has encouraged the switch to zero emission cars by exempting battery electric vehicles (BEVs) from taxes imposed on internal combustion engines (ICE).
  • This tax break is expected to help drive the proportion of overall electric sales as high as 80% in 2022, ahead of a deadline to end petrol and diesel powered car sales by 2025.
  • Overall new sales in Norway rose by 25% in 2021 to a record 176,276 cars, of which 65% were fully electric. This market share was up from 54% in 2020.

Chinese Companies Listed at Home Surge While Crackdowns Clobber Those Abroad

  • Stock markets in mainland China swelled to a roughly $12.7 trillion valuation in 2021, showing how domestic shares have largely been immune from the regulatory assault that has rocked many Chinese companies listed abroad.
  • The total value of onshore Chinese stocks rose about 20% last year, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, advancing by the equivalent of nearly $2.1 trillion. The data covers currently listed companies with a primary listing on either of the two exchanges.
  • In contrast, Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. or Hong Kong have declined, with some $758 billion of value evaporating from U.S.-listed Chinese stocks, S&P data shows, a 42% decrease.
  • Clampdowns on a range of Chinese businesses, including e-commerce, property development and after-school tutoring, have disproportionately affected offshore shares.

Turkey’s Inflation Rate Nears 20-Year High as Lira Crisis Continues – Wall Street Journal, 1/3/22

  • Turkey’s inflation climbed to a nearly two-decade high in December on the back of a weakening lira that is driving up the cost of food and other basic goods and destabilizing the wider economy.
  • Annual inflation rose to 36.08% last month, up from 21.3% in November, the Turkish Statistical Institute said Monday—the highest inflation rate since 2002, according to economists.
  • The official inflation figure rose by about 15 percentage points in a single month, an increase comparable with what some major economies might experience in several years, economists say.
  • Only seven countries posted higher rates of inflation last year, including Venezuela, Sudan, Lebanon and Syria.

Factmonster – TODAY in HISTORY

  • Martin Luther excommunicated by Pope Leo X. (1521)
  • George Washington defeated Cornwallis’s forces at the Battle of Princeton. (1777)
  • The New York Yankees acquired Babe Ruth and so began the “curse of the Bambino” that haunted the Boston Red Sox until 2004. (1920)
  • Jack Ruby, the man who shot John Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, died. (1967)
  • Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces. (1990)

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