North American Morning Briefing: Stock Futures -2- – Morningstar.com

The fine of 1.13 billion euros comes as Amazon awaits the outcome of a similar investigation being carried out by the European Union. The EU last year separately filed antitrust charges against Amazon for allegedly using nonpublic data from third-party sellers to compete against them.

        

Senators Want Social-Media Apps to Share Research

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators plans to introduce legislation that would require Meta Platforms Inc. and other social-media companies to provide outside researchers with data access.

The bill, to be announced Thursday by Sens. Chris Coons (D., Del.) Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and Amy Klobuchar (D.,Minn.), would allow researchers to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation. If the NSF supports a proposal, social-media platforms would be required to furnish the needed data, subject to privacy protections that could include anonymizing it or “white rooms” in which researchers could review sensitive material.

        

SoundCloud Plans to Expand Free Services to Attract New Artists

SoundCloud Ltd., the music-streaming platform known for launching the careers of Billie Eilish, Post Malone and other artists, plans to offer additional services for free to attract more musicians to its platform, the company’s chief financial officer said.

        

AstraZeneca Covid-19 Antibody Authorized by FDA as Novel Tool to Prevent Symptomatic Disease

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a preventive antibody combination from AstraZeneca PLC that has shown strong efficacy in reducing risk of symptomatic Covid-19, offering a first-of-its-kind alternative for a minority of people for whom vaccines are considered less effective.

The antibody cocktail, called Evusheld, is aimed primarily for use in a minority of adolescents and adults age 12 and older with moderate to severely compromised immune systems. That may be because they have cancer or another illness or take medications or undergo treatments such as chemotherapy that inhibit an immune response to Covid-19 vaccines, the FDA said in a statement.

        

Mambu Valued at $5.3 Billion in Investment Led by Private-Equity Firm EQT

A group led by private-equity company EQT AB is acquiring a minority stake in banking-software firm Mambu, a deal that values the financial-technology company at more than $5.3 billion, the companies said.

The investment is the latest bet on European technology providers that are taking advantage of the switch to digital-banking services by consumers and businesses.

        

Jobless Claims Are Stabilizing at Pre-Pandemic Levels

Worker filings for unemployment benefits are settling at pre-pandemic levels as a tight labor market keeps layoffs low.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell to 211,000 for the week ended Dec. 4 from 222,000 the previous week. The Labor Department will report last week’s jobless claims figures on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET.

        

Market Can Weather Evergrande Crisis, China’s Top Central Banker Says

Financial stress at China Evergrande Group and a few of its peers won’t cause longer-term damage to the Hong Kong market, and broader problems with debt at Chinese property developers should be dealt with according to market principles, China’s top central banker said.

Hong Kong-listed Evergrande, which is one of China’s largest developers and has close to $20 billion in U.S. dollar bonds outstanding, didn’t make overdue payments on some bonds before a final deadline Monday, potentially setting the stage for Asia’s largest default. Fitch Ratings downgraded Evergrande and two key subsidiaries to a “restricted default” rating on Thursday, citing the missed coupon payments.

        

China Reopens a Funding Spigot for Property Developers

HONG KONG-Chinese regulators have quietly reopened an onshore funding spigot for the country’s property developers, enabling some firms to tap into an obscure form of debt financing that helps pay their suppliers.

Over the past four years, real-estate developers from China Evergrande Group to Country Garden Holdings Co. were regular users of yuan-denominated debt instruments known in the industry as “supply chain asset-backed securities.” Property firms were behind the equivalent of more than $38.6 billion in such bonds that were issued last year, according to Wind data, a huge jump from $12.4 billion in 2019. The actual totals are likely higher, because some deals from developers weren’t classified as such.

        

China’s Factory-Gate Inflation Softens in November

HONG KONG-China’s factory-gate inflation ebbed in November after hitting a 26-year high, which economists say will give policy makers more room for easing to bolster a slowing economy.

The producer-price index rose 12.9% from a year earlier in November, down from 13.5% growth in October, which was the fastest increase since 1995, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics. The reading beats the 12% increase expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

        

Covid Spurs Biggest Rise in Life-Insurance Payouts in a Century

The Covid-19 pandemic last year drove the biggest increase in death benefits paid by U.S. life insurers since the 1918 influenza epidemic, an industry trade group said.

Death-benefit payments rose 15.4% in 2020 to $90.43 billion, mostly due to the pandemic, according to the American Council of Life Insurers. In 1918, payments surged 41%.

        

German Exports Rose in October, Beating Forecasts

German exports increased in October, beating forecasts and surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Exports rose 4.1% on month in adjusted terms, statistics office Destatis said Thursday. Economists had forecast a 1.1% increase in adjusted terms, according to a poll by The Wall Street Journal.

        

U.S. Moves to Tighten Iran Sanctions Enforcement as Nuclear Talks Stall

The Biden administration is moving to tighten enforcement of sanctions against Iran, according to senior U.S. officials, the first sign of Washington increasing economic pressure on Tehran as diplomatic efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear deal falter.

According to senior State and Treasury Department officials, the U.S. will send a top-level delegation, including the head of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea Gacki, next week to the United Arab Emirates. The U.A.E. is a top U.S. ally but also Iran’s second-largest trade partner and a conduit for Iran’s trade and financial transactions with other countries.

        

Senate Passes Legislation Aimed at Blocking Biden’s Covid-19 Vaccine Rules for Employers

WASHINGTON-The Senate approved legislation aimed at nullifying President Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for private employers, marking a significant rebuke even if lawmakers ultimately fall short of stopping the new Covid-19 rule.

The measure passed 52-48, with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana joining all Republicans in supporting the bill.

        

Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout for Young Children Is Slow in Many States

Covid-19 vaccinations for children 5 to 11 years old are off to a slow start in many parts of the U.S., federal data show, underscoring the challenges health officials face in persuading parents to inoculate their children.

Roughly five million, or 18%, of the estimated 28.4 million U.S. children in the 5-to-11 age bracket have gotten at least one shot in the five weeks since they were cleared to get vaccinated, the data show. The picture varies by region, with rates in several New England states above 30% and some states in the South far off the national pace, an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of the data shows.

        

Olympics Boycott Expands to Include Diplomatic Officials From U.K., Canada

OTTAWA-The U.K. and Canada on Wednesday joined a widening diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing concerns over China’s human rights record.

The U.S. said on Monday that it wouldn’t send government officials to the Games, which are set to begin in February, although athletes will still be able to participate. The Biden administration had faced pressure to boycott the Olympic Games for months, but those calls intensified after Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai vanished from public view in November after making a public allegation of sexual assault against a retired Chinese official.

        

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Earnings:

Empire 2Q

Transat A.T. 4Q

Transcontinental 4Q

Economic Indicators:

None scheduled

Stocks to Watch:

Kinross Announces Acquisition Of Great Bear Resources; Has Agreed to Upfront Payment of $1.4B Payable at Election of Great Bear Shareholders; Upfront Payment to Be Made in Cash and Kinross Common Shares;

Also Agreed to Contingent Consideration of About $46M; Contingent Consideration Is in the Form of Value Rights Exchangeable for 0.1330 Kinross Shrs Per Great Bear Shr; Contingent Consideration Payable in Connection With Gold Production at Dixie Project;

Boards of Both Companies Have Approved Deal; Great Bear Shareholders, Security Holders to Vote on Deal at Special Meeting Expected to Be Held in 1Q

Pembina Pipeline Looks to Raise C$1B in Bond Issuance; Offering Senior Unsecured Medium-Term Notes in Two Tranches;

Offering C$500M in Fixed-Coupon 3.53% Notes Maturing in 2031; Offering C$500M in Fixed-Coupon 4.49% Notes Maturing in 2051; Pembina to Use Proceeds of Notes Sale to Pay Down Debt, Meet General Needs; Expects to Conclude Bond Offering on Dec. 10

Rogers Communications Looks to Raise C$2B via Bond Sale; Selling 5.0% Fixed-To-Fixed Rate Subordinated Notes Due 2081;

Expects Net Proceeds of About C$1.98B From Notes Sale; Aims to Use Proceeds to Buy 3500 MHz Spectrum Licences It Was Awarded Earlier This Year; Notes Being Offered Exclusively to Residents in Canadian Province; Notes Sale to Close on Dec. 17

        

Expected Major Events for Thursday

00:01/UK: Nov RICS Residential Market Survey

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

December 09, 2021 06:15 ET (11:15 GMT)

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