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Delta and United are now offering flights to all of the European tourist countries welcoming vaccinated Americans

Some US airlines are venturing where they've never been before, including European locales like Croatia that are allowing American tourists. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport. Marku.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 9th, 2021

5 Stocks to Buy on a Rebounding Apparel Market

People have finally started spending on clothing and apparel, helping stocks of The Gap (GPS), Foot Locker (FL) and The TJX Companies (TJX). U.S. retail sales have been somewhat slowing down for the past few months. However, it bounced back in August, as people spent more freely despite fears of surging cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus.One of the biggest recent beneficiaries has been the apparels industry, which drove a huge part of overall retail sales. In fact, the clothing market has been doing well after a not-so-memorable 2020, with the economy reopening and people stepping out of their homes. Apparel Sales Rise  On Sep 16, the Census Bureau said that retail sales grew 0.7% in August and 15.1% year over year. This was aided by a solid rise in apparel sales. The report said that sales at clothing & clothing accessories stores grew a solid 38.8% on a year-over-year basis in August.The apparels market was already doing well and is now driving a major part of the overall retail sales. One of the major reasons behind this jump was the back-to-school season. Moreover, people are again planning holidays. This has also seen a surge in apparel sales.Last year, sales had come to almost a standstill, people spent more on essential goods and cut down on clothes as most entertainment joints and tourist destinations remained closed. According to a recent survey by Sezzle, more than 75% of consumers are spending more on apparel, fashion products and shows than any other category.Apparel Sales on Growth TrackAlthough fears of the Delta variant are high, they are a lot more confident now, as millions have been vaccinated now. Also, they are relying more on e-commerce for their purchases.The majority of apparel sales happened online last year and the trend can be seen this year too. Non-store sales grew 5.5% in August as many people turned to online shopping on fears of COVID-19.According to Statista, the U.S. apparel market was valued at $368 billion in 2019. That year, global apparel and footwear sales reached $1.9 trillion and are expected to cross the $3 trillion mark in the United States by 2030.Apparel sales are expected to rise further during the upcoming holiday season. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, holiday season retail sales are projected to grow 7.4%. Last year, holiday sales hit a record high both in terms of dollar gains and percentage points. This year is going to be even better.Our ChoicesGiven this scenario, it would be prudent to invest in these five apparel stocks. Each of the stocks carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Gap, Inc. GPS is a premier international specialty retailer offering a diverse range of clothing, accessories and personal care products. It offers products for men, women, and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix and Hill City brands.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 27.3% over the past 60 days. Foot Locker, Inc. FL is a retailer of athletic shoes and apparel. The company operates websites and mobile apps, aligned with the brand names of store banners comprising footlocker.com, ladyfootlocker.com, six02.com, kidsfootlocker.com, champssports.com, footaction.com, footlocker.ca, footlocker.eu, footlocker.com.au, sidestep-shoes.com, footlocker.hk, footlocker.sg, and footlocker.my.As of Jul 31, 2021, the company operated 2,911 stores across 27 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 24.9% over the past 60 days. The TJX Companies, Inc. TJX is a leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the United States and worldwide. It has more than 4,300 stores across the globe that are well known for their unique value proposition of brand, fashion, price and quality. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 12.6% over the past 60 days. Genesco Inc. GCO sells footwear, headwear and accessories in retail stores in the United States and Canada. The company sells its products principally under the names Journeys, Journeys Kidz, Shi by Journeys, Johnston & Murphy, Underground Station, Hatworld, Lids, Hat Shack, Hat Zone, Head Quarters and Cap Connection, and on Internet websites. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 21.5% over the past 60 days. Citi Trends, Inc. CTRN is a leading value-priced retailer of urban fashion apparel and accessories including nationally recognized brands, private-label products and a limited assortment of home decor items. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 30% over the past 60 days. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX): Free Stock Analysis Report The Gap, Inc. (GPS): Free Stock Analysis Report Foot Locker, Inc. (FL): Free Stock Analysis Report Citi Trends, Inc. (CTRN): Get Free Report Genesco Inc. (GCO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Bezos’s Blue Origin Sells Seat on First Spaceflight for $28 million

An unnamed bidder has paid $28 million for a seat on the first crewed spaceflight by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin.  On Saturday the company hosted an online auction, inviting wealthy space enthusiasts… The post Bezos’s Blue Origin Sells Seat on First Spaceflight for $28 million appeared first on Red Herring. An unnamed bidder has paid $28 million for a seat on the first crewed spaceflight by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin.  On Saturday the company hosted an online auction, inviting wealthy space enthusiasts to bid for the final seat on the July 20 flight. There was interest from more than 40 countries.  The mystery bidder will join Bezos himself, his brother Mark Bezos, and another unnamed space tourist. Bids had been open for just under a month and had already reached $5 million before Saturday’ event, when the figure quickly rose to $28 million.  Blue Origin said the identity of the winning bidder would be revealed in the coming weeks.  The company’s space tourism offering involves launching passengers more than 100km above the Earth, allowing them to experience microgravity. The ten-minute ride begins with a booster and six-person capsule launching together. At about 76km, capsule separates from the booster, which returns to Earth and lands, allowing it to be reused. The capsule floats back to Earth with parachutes. Blue Origin will play a key part in the resurgent space tourism industry. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has also auctioned off a seat on one of its flights, although the trip will be considerably longer, orbiting the moon before returning to Earth.  Virgin Galactic, the other major player in the space, has also been conducting test flights on its offering, which reaches a similar altitude to Blue Origin. It is thought CEO Richard Branson may attempt to trump Bezos’s efforts by joining a test flight of his company’s Virgin VSS Unity spaceplane on July 4.  “Many congratulations to Jeff Bezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans,” Branson said in a tweet. “Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space – how extraordinary! Watch this space … ” Bezos will soon have considerably more time to spend on his interest in space travel, as he steps down from Amazon in the second half of 2021.  The post Bezos’s Blue Origin Sells Seat on First Spaceflight for $28 million appeared first on Red Herring......»»

Category: topSource: redherringSep 21st, 2021

I flew American Airlines to Europe for the first time during the pandemic and found it"s back to normal with bad food, uncomfortable seats, and free alcohol

American did a great job of getting me to Madrid on time but the flight was far from memorable. One thing I didn't miss was the bad airplane food. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider American Airlines is one of four US carriers flying overseas to Europe and has recently started increasing services as more countries open to American tourists. Transatlantic flights are pretty much back to normal, besides having to wear a mask. Hot meals and alcohol are once again served in all cabins including economy class. See more stories on Insider's business page. American Airlines is one of the leading US carriers flying between the US and Europe, especially from its international gateway in New York. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider The summer before the pandemic saw American fly to 23 European destinations from the US. Fast forward to the summer of 2021, however, and that number stood at 11 as American wasn't as quick to rebuild in Europe following its reopening. Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Source: Cirium But even still, American has maintained service to core cities like London; Madrid; and Rome, while opening new routes including New York-Athens. Athens, Greece. Shutterstock Read More: American and JetBlue just unveiled a new partnership with 33 new routes combined— here's what it means for travelers And American has proved to be an inexpensive option when crossing the pond, as I found when planning a recent work trip to Doha, Qatar with flights on American, British Airways, and Qatar Airways. Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Read More: Gulfstream just debuted its new $75 million ultra-long-range plane that's also the world's largest purpose-built private jet: Meet the G700 I flew American Airlines from New York to Madrid during the summer of vaccinated travel. Here's what it was like. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Read More: I booked a flight on American Airlines despite the airline canceling thousands of flights this summer – here's how I'm preparing for the worst After recent bad experiences on American, I was a bit nervous to fly the carrier overseas. I made sure to do extra research on backup options in case something went wrong, and even arrived at the airport four hours early. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Read More: I was stranded in Bogotá airport for 10 hours and it taught me the true value of credit card perks and not taking no for an answer But having flown American internationally earlier in the summer, I knew how to prepare. The first step was to download Verifly, American's preferred health passport service that speeds along airport check-in and document verification. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider I submitted all my required documentation and got the green light. As a result, check-in at the airport was less painful than expected as I was able to use a self-serve kiosk to get my boarding pass. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider For those checking a bag, though, there was a bit of a line, as is usually the case in international terminals. I was glad to have only brought a carry-on. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider I was instantly relieved once I had my boarding pass and headed straight to the gate with only a minimal line at security. I felt silly having arrived four hours before departure but as the old saying goes, better safe than sorry. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider One benefit of flying out of American's Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy International Airport is that Bobby Van's Steakhouse is open, and Priority Pass members through Chase can get a free meal. I had the burger and it was delicious. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Read More: I used a credit perk to dine for nearly free at an airport restaurant and it's my new favorite travel hack The rest of the concourse was quiet as I arrived before the bulk of the evening overseas departures. Even still, there were shops and restaurants open for business in a good sign for the industry. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider I headed straight to the gate after lunch and got my first glimpse at the aircraft taking us to Spain, the mighty Boeing 777-200. American now only flies Boeing 777 aircraft between New York and Europe in a win for business class and first class customers that get to enjoy the airline's best premium cabin products. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Pandemic-era safety measures including social distancing floor placards and plexiglass portions at the gate counter were still on display. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Boarding began around 45 minutes prior to departure in American's standard group boarding procedure. Most US airlines have abandoned back-to-front boarding. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider American's Boeing 777-200 aircraft seat 273 passengers across three cabins, with classes of service including business, premium economy, and economy. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Source: SeatGuru In economy, seats are arranged in a 10-abreast, 3-4-3 configuration that's standard for most airlines flying the 777. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Seat pitch in economy is between 31 and 32 inches, according to SeatGuru, while seat width is a standard 17 inches. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Source: SeatGuru I booked this flight quite late and there weren't too many seats from which to choose that didn't require paying an extra fee. American isn't alone in the practice of charging for advance seat assignments on long-haul flights but I despise the practice as these tickets are expensive enough as it is. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider But to American's credit, there were a good showing of complimentary aisle and window seats towards the back of the plane from which to select. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider And to my surprise, the most unique seats in economy were available for selection. The last three rows on this aircraft are arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration meaning there are six two-seat pairs. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider I thought I had lucked out by selecting one of them but my excitement was short-lived. Simply put, these seats were not the most comfortable for a larger traveler. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider The small width didn't help and I felt like I was taking up part of the seat next to me. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider One thing that could've helped was if the armrest for the window seat was moveable, but it was fixed in place. I was so close to the seat in front of me that my tray table couldn't even lay flat (a problem I didn't have on the other carriers on which I flew during this trip). Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider My top concern was having enough room once my seat neighbor arrived. But I lucked out and had both seats to myself as nobody showed up to claim the other. Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider There was a gap between the seat and the cabin wall which offered some additional legroom and a place to store the pillow and blanket kit left on the seat. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider American is quite generous with seat features on its wide-body aircraft. Each seat has an 8.9-inch in-flight entertainment screen with a variety of movies, television shows, games, and music. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider The moving map proved handy during the flight to keep track of our location. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider A tethered remote is also available to control the system and act as a game controller or keyboard for the seat-to-seat chat function. It also comes in handy when scrolling through content since the touch functionality is quite poor in that regard. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider In-flight WiFi is also available on the aircraft for a price. And for those using devices during the flight, in-seat power is offered through USB charging ports and 110v C power outlets at seats. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider The rest of the aircraft was quite full, which surprised me as it was quite late in the season for transatlantic travel. Some passengers were visiting family and friends while others were starting their study abroad term. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Bad weather in New York wreaked a bit of havoc on the airport but we weren't overly affected. I was quite relieved that our departure was pretty close to on time as I had a connection to make in Madrid. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider The storm did, however, make for some great views as we blasted out of New York. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Madrid is quite a short flight from New York and while I wanted to go straight to sleep, I did want to see what the meal service was like. This was the first time I'd had a hot meal on American during the pandemic. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider As I waited for the service to begin, I had a look at what was on offer in the movie department. American had quite a good selection in all categories, and I ultimately picked "The Vault." Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider First attendants started the drink service first with a selection of soft drinks, juices, wine, and beer. Alcohol isn't currently served in economy on American's domestic flights but it flows freely on transatlantic hops. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider I ordered a club soda along with some red wine to help ease my sleep after the meal. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Next came the meal service as flight attendants quickly passed out the trays. I felt like I was being served in a cafeteria as one flight attendant curtly asked, "chicken or pasta?" Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider I unwrapped the entree to find that not much has changed at all when it comes to American's economy catering. The chicken dish was accompanied by a side salad, cheese and crackers, and a cinnamon dessert bar. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider I couldn't describe the chicken beyond that it was served in a tomato-based sauce. I enjoyed the sides more than the main and was glad I had the burger at Bobby Van's before the flight. Next time, I think I'll head straight to sleep. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Flight attendants were very quick to complete the meal service, though, and got it done in under an hour and a half. The flight to Madrid is only six hours and 30 minutes so every second counts. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Ready for bed with a full stomach, I used the pillow and blanket that American had left on the seat and did my best to get comfortable. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Another downside of the two-seat row is that there's a gap between the seat and window, making propping a pillow up against the cabin wall near-impossible. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider But even then, it wasn't too difficult to get to sleep and I woke just before breakfast was served. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Flight attendants once more came around to serve drinks first, followed by a pre-packaged cold breakfast. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider On offer for the optimistic morning meal included Chobani strawberry yogurt, a raspberry fig bar, and coconut cashew granola. All in all, it was quite standard but still enjoyable. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider The flight to Madrid was nearing its end and I can't say I was upset to see it go. American did a great job of getting me to Spain on time but the in-flight experience was exactly what I expected it to be. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider I did appreciate the modernity of the aircraft and the efficiency of the crew but there wasn't anything memorable about this flight. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Besides having to wear a mask, though, I'd say that American is back to normal on these flights, for better or worse. Flying American Airlines from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini/Insider Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider14 hr. 19 min. ago

CDC Not Changing Definition Of "Fully Vaccinated"...For Now: Walensky

CDC Not Changing Definition Of "Fully Vaccinated"...For Now: Walensky Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said Friday that the definition of “fully vaccinated” won’t change when COVID-19 booster shots are rolled out—at least in the near future. Currently, the CDC and other federal health agencies have defined one as fully vaccinated if they receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, two doses of Moderna’s vaccine, or one Johnson & Johnson shot. In Israel, officials recently announced individuals who have not received a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine after six months will not be counted as fully vaccinated. It means they won’t be able to use the “green pass” vaccine passport that is utilized for restaurants, gyms, and other venues in Israel. When asked whether the CDC will change its definition, Walensky said that “we are not changing the definition right now of fully vaccinated.” As the agency gathers more “experience with our third shot and have more people who are recommended” to get the shot, then the CDC may change its guidelines around boosters, Walensky said during the White House’s COVID-19 response team briefing. Across the United States, some businesses and government agencies have made it mandatory for workers to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Should the CDC and other health agencies change its policy around who can be considered fully vaccinated, the rule would potentially impact tens of millions of people. Several weeks ago, Israel, which has one of the most vaccinated populations in the world, set an expiration date for its vaccine passport. Now, a booster shot received within six months of the second dose extends the passport’s validity by six months. That decision came just days after the country started offering COVID-19 boosters to all vaccinated people. Walenksy’s remarks come just hours after a CDC panel on late Thursday recommended Pfizer boosters for individuals aged 65 and older. The panel also overwhelmingly voted for a booster for people between the ages of 50 and 64 who have underlying health issues, and voted in favor of providing the third dose for anyone who is being treated at a long-term care facility. “Prevention of infection may protect health care capacity and other essential services for the COVID-19 response and maintain overall function for society,” said Dr. Kathleen Dooling, a CDC official on the panel. The World Health Organization has sharply criticized the U.S., Israel, and other wealthy nations for trying to develop and approve booster doses for their populations, arguing that poorer countries are still in dire need of COVID-19 vaccines. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 11:03.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge15 hr. 51 min. ago

I traveled to Iceland as a vaccinated American and the entry and exit process was tedious, but easy if you understand the rules

Vaccinated travelers from the US need to present their vaccine card, a negative COVID test, and a pre-arrival form. Icelandair ticket counter at New York-JFK Taylor Rains/Insider I traveled to Iceland as a vaccinated American and the process was easy, yet tedious. Vaccinated travelers from the US need to present their vaccine card, a negative COVID test, and a pre-arrival form. Reykjavik has a number of testing sites for Americans to get a COVID test before re-entering the US. See more stories on Insider's business page. Americans are itching for a vacation, and the vaccine rollout has given travelers more freedom to go overseas. TSA checkpoint at JFK Taylor Rains/Insider Iceland is one of the many European countries that allow vaccinated Americans to enter without quarantine, so I made the hop across the pond in early September. Luggage for Iceland Taylor Rains/Insider The entry and exit processes were tedious and there were specific steps I had to follow, including getting a negative covid test, having my vaccine card, and filling out pre-arrival paperwork. Vaccine card and negative covid test Taylor Rains/Insider Accepted vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and Sinopharm BIBP and covid tests must be either PCR or rapid antigen. Travelers who do not present a negative covid test will be fined 100,000 ISK ($781) at the border.Source: Island.is I flew Icelandair from New York's JFK International Airport to Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik. Icelandair is very transparent about the entry requirements for Iceland on its website. Signs at JFK Terminal 7 Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images Source: Icelandair To enter Iceland as a vaccinated American, visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least 14 days past the final dose, receive a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours before the first leg of the journey, and pre-register their arrival. Passport, COVID vaccine card, and mask Evgenia Parajanian/Shutterstock Certification of previous infection dated between 14 and 180 dates from arrival into Iceland is also acceptable at the border. These travelers do not need to present a negative covid test to enter without quarantine.Source: Island.is The pre-arrival form must be done online. I was required to fill out my departure and return date, my personal information, and certify I would get a COVID test before travel. Once submitted, I received a barcode in my email to verify it was complete. Barcode received after completing pre-arrival form Taylor Rains/Insider Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I was unable to check in online or on the mobile app and was instructed by Icelandair to collect my boarding pass at the desk. Icelandair check-in email Taylor Rains/Insider When I arrived at JFK, I made my way to the Icelandair check-in counter where signs reminded passengers to fill out the online pre-arrival form. You could not check in without it. Reminders to fill out pre-arrival form Taylor Rains/Insider The pre-arrival form can be found online. At the counter, I was asked to present my negative COVID test, vaccine card, and pre-arrival form. The agent checked the date of my test and the result and verified my vaccine card was legitimate before handing me my boarding pass. Icelandair check-in counter Taylor Rains/Insider For those who forgot or did not know to get a COVID test, JFK has a few options, including Adams Medical in Terminal 1, Xpresscheck in Terminal 4, and NYC Test & Trace Corps in Terminal 5. The test must be PCR, not rapid antigen. COVID testing site at JFK Terminal 5 Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock I did not have to show any COVID-related entry documents again until I landed in Iceland. Icelandair Boeing 757 cabin Peter Gudella/Shutterstock Upon arrival in Reykjavik, I deplaned and headed to customs where airport employees split passengers into two lines - one for those entering Iceland and a second for those connecting to onward flights. Two lines to enter customs at Keflavik Airport Taylor Rains/Insider The line looked long but only took about 15 minutes to clear. The customs agent only checked my passport but told me COVID documents would be verified later in the entry process. Customs sign at Keflavik Airport Roberto La Rosa/Shutterstock After passing customs, I made my way through the arrivals hall before coming to a large "Exit to Iceland" sign and a roped-off section for travelers entering the country. Exit to Iceland sign Taylor Rains/Insider I made my way downstairs to a second counter where I was asked to present the barcode I received after filling out the pre-arrival form. Travelers at Keflavik Airport Wolfgang Kaehler/Getty Images Once the agents checked the barcode, I was directed to a third desk where my vaccine card, pre-arrival form, and negative COVID test were checked for a second time. Passengers a Keflavik Airport arrival area Kollawat Somsri The agent scanned my barcode and verified my vaccine card and test results before allowing me to exit the airport. About five minutes later, I received a text saying I was free to enter Iceland without quarantine Text saying I don't need to quarantine Taylor Rains/Insider If I was unvaccinated, I would need to take a test at the border and undergo quarantine.Source: Island.is Getting back into the US was a simpler process and only required a negative COVID test taken no earlier than three days before departure from Iceland. Fortunately, Reykjavik had a handful of testing centers available. Downtown Reykjavik Taylor Rains/Insider Source: CDC I booked my test and received a barcode verifying my payment and appointment. The test cost me $60 and guaranteed I would have the results within 48 hours, which was perfect timing for my flight. Fortunately, I received my negative result in less than 24 hours with a QR code certifying its validity. Negative COVID test result Taylor Rains/Insider For the return flight, I was once again unable to check in online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Icelandair check-in counter at Keflavik Airport Taylor Rains/Insider When the check-in counter opened at Keflavik, I only needed to show my negative COVID test to receive a boarding pass. After that, I was able to pass through security, passport control, and board the aircraft with only my passport. Icelandair check-in counter at Keflavik Airport Taylor Rains/Insider Upon arrival in JFK, I was not asked again for my negative COVID test and simply re-entered the US with just my passport. CBP Global Entry kiosk Taylor Rains/Insider Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt18 hr. 51 min. ago

Asheville boasts one of the longest foliage seasons in the US - these 10 central hotels offer striking views

These are the best hotels in Asheville, NC including Grand Bohemian, the Biltmore, Cambria, the Renaissance, Kimpton, and Omni Grove Park Inn. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Omni Hotels Asheville is a big city with a small-town feel in North Carolina. Asheville is near national parks and is known for vibrant dining, breweries, art, and music. Asheville's best hotels are also varied, from boutique inns to B&Bs and brand name luxury. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyWith unbelievable mountain views, a thriving food and drink scene, an emphasis on nature, and a penchant for the arts, Asheville is a must-visit destination. Sitting on "America's Prettiest Drive," the Blue Ridge Parkway, it has mild seasons year-round and one of the longest, most vibrant fall foliage seaons in the US.I've been visiting Asheville for the past decade, and throughout the pandemic, it made it my go-to road trip for its accessible location, outdoor activities, and how safely it's handled COVID-19. Follow my lead and plan a trip to Asheville with a stay at one of the following standout hotels that range from cozy bed and breakfast in a historic neighborhood to trendy downtown high rise, and the lap of luxury at a five-star spa hotel. Browse the best Asheville hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area here:The best hotels in AshevilleFAQ: Asheville, NC hotelsHow we selected the best hotels in AshevilleMore of the best hotels on the East CoastThese are the best hotels in Asheville, sorted by price from low to high. Cambria Downtown Ashville Floor-to-ceiling windows offer direct views of Pisgah Mountain. Booking.com Book Cambria Downtown AshevilleCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $128/$515Best for: Couples, friends, families, solo travelers, business travelers On-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, convenience store, meeting roomsPros: Every room is thoughtfully designed with wide foyers, Bluetooth mirrors in the bathroom, and desks and beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views.Cons: TVs only have a few channels and don't connect to streaming services, so don't count on a lot of in-room entertainment.Located next to historic Grove Arcade, the Cambria Downtown Asheville places you in an ideal location to explore Downtown's revered restaurants, bars, breweries, and galleries on foot.The rooms are loft-style, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering direct views of Pisgah Mountain and more space to spread out than most standard hotel rooms. As you walk in, a foyer gradually widens, opening up to a space marked by crisp white beds, a desk, plenty of electrical outlets and USB ports, wood floors, and exposed red brick walls with eye-catching splashes of blue. The bathroom is spacious with a large vanity, walk-in showers, bathtubs in some rooms, and the coolest part, Bluetooth mirrors that can play your music while you get ready.A sundry in the lobby is packed with healthy meals to prepare in your in-room microwave, or head to Hemingway's, a Cuban restaurant and bar on the fourth-floor with a terrace and fire pits. Locals pack this rooftop on weekend nights, so make a reservation to grab a seat. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Renaissance Asheville Hotel Rooms are comfortable, clean, and have mountain views. Marriott Book Renaissance Asheville HotelCategory: Mid-rangeNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $131/$512Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, fitness room, pool, meeting rooms, marketPros: This Renaissance has the largest Junior Olympic saltwater swimming pool in Asheville.Cons: The restaurant is only open for breakfast, and the only other food served at the hotel are the snacks and packaged meals available at the on-site market. When you need a nice, but moderate Downtown Asheville hotel with a full list of modern amenities from a trusted brand, choose the Renaissance.I stayed here on a whim as I was passing through Asheville in the height of COVID-19 in 2020, and wanted a hotel brand I knew I could trust to handle the pandemic safely. The Renaissance, a Marriott Bonvoy property, did this exceptionally well and impressed me with their levels of safety and cleanliness.The Renaissance is on the edge of Downtown Asheville and every room has floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to wake up to see the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with plush beds, textured black headboards, a desk, and a sitting area.Asheville was nicknamed "Bee City USA" in 2012 for its honey bee population and commitment to educating the public about how important bees are for the environment. Staying true to this oath, this hotel houses "bee boxes" from the Bee Institute on its roof to promote sustainability.COVID-19 procedures are available here. 1900 Inn on Montford The lavish, spa-like Cloisters Suite is a top pick for romance and relaxation. Booking.com Book 1900 Inn On MontfordCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $145/$605Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, daily breakfast and social hour, live music, games, all-day snacksPros: Book the luxurious 1,300-square-foot Cloisters suite, which has a private garden and a large spa room with a two-person Whirlpool, shiatsu massage, air bath, and walk-in shower.Cons: This hotel is not great for families as children under the age of 12 are not permitted.Perched on a hill in a historic residential neighborhood, just eight blocks from the edge of Downtown Asheville, the Inn on Montford is charming, cozy, and well-placed.This Arts and Crafts style bed and breakfast has eight rooms, each with King beds, gas fireplaces, bathrooms with fiber-optic starry floors, Roman baths, and color-changing, LED-lit vanities.Don't miss the daily cookie selection; one of the innkeepers, Shawnie, makes them herself and prepares a mix of mouthwatering flavors like salted chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or chocolate-orange.If you're on vacation with your special someone, make it extra romantic and book the Cloisters suite, in the Carriage House, which has 1,300 square feet of space, a private garden, a huge living room, a kitchenette, a bar, a fireplace, and a luxurious 68-square-foot spa room with a two-person Whirlpool tub, shiatsu massage, air bath, and a huge walk-in shower. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph Collection Art and design feature prominently, with statement decor in guest rooms. Marriott Book Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph CollectionCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $158 /$600Best for: Couples, families, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, art gallery, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Grand Bohemian Asheville is located directly across the street from the entrance to the famed Biltmore Estate, and the on-site art gallery has local and regional art and jewelry for sale.Cons: In some room categories, the bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a thin curtain rather than an actual door, which isn't ideal for privacy or modesty. Request one with a door if you're traveling with mixed company.This art-driven hotel is the best hotel in Biltmore Village, directly across the street from the entrance to famous Biltmore Estate, known as "America's Largest Home," which was built by George Vanderbilt in 1889 and has a world-class winery, historic gardens, popular restaurants, a farm and over 20 miles of nature trails.Like all Kessler boutique properties, this hotel is innately luxurious, but with a vibe that's creative, relaxing, and comfortable enough to make you feel at home. Art also features prominently, with an on-site art gallery filled with paintings, sculptures, glass art, and jewelry by local artists that are also available for sale.As such, the atmosphere is rich and enticing, with an entrance flanked by a Tudor-style driveway, dramatic candelabras, and heavy burgundy drapes.Inside, stylish, but quirky rooms and common areas juxtapose oil and contemporary paintings and historic busts with surprising sculptures, like a wild hog wearing a tacky tourist hat, and bright purple low lighting that matches velvet chairs alongside fixtures that look like antlers. The rooms are big and enticing, with tufted teal headboards, lamps with tree branch bases, brown and teal-patterned carpeting, and sleek bathrooms with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the soaking tub.COVID-19 procedures are available here.Read our full hotel review of Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville Village Hotel Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate. Booking.com Book Village HotelCategory: Mid-RangeNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $170 /$705Best for: Families, couples, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, pool, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Village Hotel is located in Antler Hill Village, on Biltmore Estate, right next to a slew of family-friendly restaurants, activities, a petting zoo, a winery, and over 20 miles of nature trails. Cons: Transportation around the estate is currently unavailable due to COVID-19, so guests will need to factor a rental car into the cost of their trip.Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, and it's the best pick for families. Located in Antler Hill Village, just steps from the winery, the famed Cedric's Tavern (named after the Vanderbilt family dog), a petting zoo, the outdoor adventure center, and over 20 miles of nature trails, the hotel offers tons to do.The entry-level Village Double Rooms are simple, without fancy bells and whistles, but are modern and spacious with a minimalist black, white and gray color scheme, comfortable double beds, a walk-in shower, and a charming window seat for a vantage point over the beautiful grounds.In addition to all of the aforementioned perks of staying at Biltmore Estate, guests can also dine at Village Social for kid-friendly breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, or go to The Creamery for "Winky Bar sundaes," which is a waffle cone filled with black cherry ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Kimpton Hotel Arras Kimpton Hotel Arras has a prime downtown location and impressive perks, especially for pets. Booking.com Book Kimpton Hotel Arras Category: Boutique Neighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $171/$760Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, travelers with pets, IHG loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, fitness center, seasonal book program, free essential toiletriesPros: This hotel boasts a super central location in downtown Asheville, right on Pack Square. Animals may stay at no extra charge and receive special pet amenities.Cons: With its prime downtown location and resident and local foot traffic, this hotel can be loud and crowded.When in Downtown Asheville, look up and you'll spot the Kimpton Hotel Arras; it's the tallest building in all of Asheville.The 128 rooms, suites, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom luxury condos are bright, airy, and filled with natural woods, white and neutral fabrics, textured walls, art by local Asheville artist Catherine Murphy, a desk, and floor-to-ceiling windows facing Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains.In even the most basic Queen Room, the vanity and bathroom area feels luxurious with a huge walk-in glass shower, marble accents, warm lighting, a dark wood vanity, a large mirror, and a separate toilet.Indulge in drinks and a Mediterranean meal at District 42, and when the sun goes down on a pretty evening, grab a seat by the glass fire pits on the terrace and watch life in Downtown Asheville buzz by. All Kimpton hotels are pet-friendly, too, so bring your dog, cat, bird, iguana or any other animal for no charge. All pet companions are also pampered with perks like stylish feeding bowls, pet beds, treat bags, a ball, and more for free.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Foundry Hotel Asheville Exposed brick and contemporary furnishings give off an industrial-chic vibe. Hilton Book The Foundry Hotel AshevilleCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $182/$684Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, families, Hilton loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, meeting rooms, courtyard with fire pitsPros: It's just two blocks walking distance from the heart of downtown Asheville, and offers Tesla car service and a Southern soul food restaurant by a six-time James Beard Award nominee.Cons: The internet connection was unreliable when I visited, which is hard for business travelers or those who like to be overly connected.Once the foundry and warehouse that forged steel for Asheville's famous Biltmore Estate, The Foundry Hotel Asheville is now a luxury boutique Hilton property next to Pack Square Park.An ode to the city's Black history, it's located in a historical enclave called "The Block," that was once a hub of African American community and business in the late 19th and 20th centuries.After sipping a glass of Champagne at check-in, make your way up to your room, which feels industrially luxe with exposed brick walls, all-white beds with cream tufted leather headboards, floor-to-ceiling mountain views, and eclectic wall art featuring period paintings and newspaper clippings in mixed oval and rectangular frames.Paying homage to its Black heritage, the on-site Benne on Eagle is a Southern soul food restaurant led by six-time James Beard Award nominee John Fleer. The hotel is just a five-minute walk from Downtown Asheville, but if you'd rather drive, The Foundry's Tesla car service can drop you off. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Abbington Green This charming B&B feels plucked from the English countryside. Booking.com Book Abbington GreenCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $229/$469Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, spa, English gardens, daily breakfast and social hour, games, all-day snacksPros: Every room has a King bed (which is unique for most historic bed and breakfasts in Asheville) and TVs you can watch from the bathtub.Cons: Children under the age of 12 are not permitted, which isn't ideal for young families.The English-inspired Abbington Green is an award-winning bed and breakfast, sitting atop a hill with whimsical landscaping and prize-winning manicured gardens.The property has both a main and carriage house, seven rooms, one two-bedroom suite, a spa room, a dining room, and a living room with games, a piano, and a guitar.Every guest room has a King bed, which is unique for historic homes like these, as well as towel warmers, a fireplace, and luxury bathtubs with a view of the TV — perfect for a bubble bath with a glass of wine and your favorite movie.There's an on-site charging station for electric cars, daily breakfast, a social hour, and a beautiful veranda where you can watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge mountains. The warmth of innkeepers Dean and Cherie brings it all together, as they love to talk to their guests, swap travel stories, and make everyone feel right at home.For COVID-19 procedures, call (828) 251-2454. Sourwood Inn The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry, and their knowledge filters down to the overall experience of staying here. Booking.com Book Sourwood InnCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Greater AshevilleTypical starting/peak prices: $235/$390Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, nature lovers, foodies, oenophilesOn-site amenities: Dining room, library, loop trails, wine and flower packages, gamesPros: The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry and brought that culinary experience to the hotel, giving guests farm-to-table dining, curated wine lists, in-room wine programs, and pairing dinners.Cons: The inn is a 20-minute drive from downtown Asheville on remote mountain roads, so you'll have to factor a rental car into your trip.This romantic bed and breakfast is a true hidden gem that sits largely under the radar in Asheville. Located right off the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, it's just 20 minutes from downtown, positioned on 100 acres of hilly landscapes that make it feel as if you're staying in a national park.There are 12 guest rooms in the cedar and stone-trimmed main house, with a separate Sassafras Cabin, all of which underwent a recent head-to-toe renovation. Rooms are airy and bright, welcoming sunlight through tall windows, plus light-colored walls, wood-burning fireplaces, balconies overlooking Reems Creek Valley, and soaking tubs with scenic Bullhead Mountain views.The owners spent a combined 25+ years in the wine industry, and brought that culinary knowledge to the inn through well-executed farm-to-table cuisine, curated wine lists, food pairings, as well as wine of the month and wine and dine packages that add value for serious oenophiles. COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Omni Grove Park Inn Sprawling grounds feel regal and are exceedingly beautiful. Tripadvisor Book The Omni Grove Park InnCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Grove ParkTypical starting/peak prices: $239/$1,049Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, business travelers, families On-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, fitness room, pools, spa, meeting rooms, sports complex, outdoor center, golf course, tennis courts, food foraging experiencesPros: Perfect for a honeymoon or couples getaway, this romantic hotel guarantees five-star service, a renowned subterranean spa, and an iconic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset from its restaurant, Sunset Terrace.Cons: As this is a luxury property, expect to pay premium prices for everything.Few resorts can say they've hosted 10 US presidents and every celebrity you can think of, from Gene Hackman and Helen Carter to Nick Carter and Barack Obama, but The Omni Grove Park Inn is one of them. Additionally, this historic resort, which opened in 1913 is famous for being a World War II internment camp for German diplomats, and served as the hotel and inspiration of choice for author F. Scott Fitzgerald over the course of two summers. Five-star service is unparalleled, with an exterior resembling a majestic stone palace that appears as if it's built right into the mountains. Overlooking 300 acres of hills, woodlands, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the hotel also sits on a Donald Ross-designed championship golf course.From its famous terrace viewpoint, wander down the stone steps to the subterranean spa (it's so popular that you have to book six or eight weeks in advance to get an appointment) and discover hidden waterfalls along the way. Be sure to drink a glass of wine by one of two huge lobby fireplaces, and look up to see original light fixtures from the first day it opened.You'll likely pinch yourself watching the sunset over the mountains from dinner at Sunset Terrace. It's such an iconic view that, whether you stay at the Omni or not, everyone will ask if you saw it.COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Asheville, NC hotels What is the best area to stay in Asheville?Asheville is a revered food and drink destination and staying in downtown Asheville puts you within walking distance from many award-winning restaurants and breweries.If you're only in town to visit Biltmore Estate, you could stay in Biltmore Village, which is right across the street from the estate entrance, or at the Biltmore itself. Biltmore Village and Downtown Asheville are the two main attraction areas in Asheville and, luckily for visitors, they are only a 10-minute drive apart.Don't worry about not having a car; Uber and Lyft are everywhere in Asheville's popular areas, and it's easy to catch one to get to and from each. When is the best time of year to visit Asheville?Ask the locals, and they'll tell you there's no such thing as a "low season" in Asheville anymore. As such, the best time of year to visit Asheville is anytime. The award-winning restaurant and brewery scene is always available and the famous Biltmore Estate is a top attraction.If you're planning a fall visit, Asheville's 100+ deciduous trees give it one of the nation's longest fall foliage seaons, making it truly spectacular to visit in September and October. At this time of year, the leaves start to change along the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, apple-picking season is in full swing, and temperatures drop to the 40s and 50s.Prices get slightly cheaper in January and February when snow and ice make driving in the mountains less appealing, and in March when it's cold and rainy. What are COVID-19 protocols in Asheville?Asheville has been very proactive about COVID-19 risk since the beginning of the pandemic, and stores, restaurants, and businesses strictly enforce local mandates. Currently, there are no restrictions on capacity and social distancing in restaurants, bars, and meeting spaces. Masks are required in all indoor locations in Buncombe County based on advice from medical experts and scientists. What is the best hotel in Asheville?I believe that The Omni Grove Park Inn is by far the best hotel in Asheville. It feels like staying in a palace built into the mountain, right on a championship golf course, with five-star service, a subterranean spa, and unbelievable views of 300+ acres of rolling green hills and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Staying here is the ultimate getaway, whether you're on your honeymoon, planning a girls spa weekend, or looking for a memorable place to spend the holidays. But with rooms hitting peak prices at $1,049 a night, it might not be an option for everyone. However, Asheville is filled with a range of wonderful boutique properties and larger hotels. For the best boutique hotel in Asheville, stay at the Abbington Green, an England-inspired bed and breakfast in the Montford Historic District with large and modern King rooms, daily breakfast, social hours, and beautiful English gardens.For the best hotels in downtown Asheville, the Kimpton Hotel Arras is a dog-friendly hotel right on Pack Square with beautiful and spacious rooms. And across from Grove Arcade, the Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville offers stylish loft-style rooms with panoramic mountain views, Bluetooth bathroom mirrors, and a terrific terrace restaurant serving authentic Cuban food. What is better in Asheville—a boutique inn or bed and breakfast, or a larger hotel or resort?Both options are wonderful, and the one you choose depends on what your group needs or prefers. Boutique inns or bed and breakfasts are usually in historic residential neighborhoods and offer a cozy and comfortable feel of staying in someone's house. They typically have between six and 16 rooms, so if you're traveling with a small or mid-sized group, you could even rent the entire property.A larger hotel comes with more amenities and usually a more central location within walking distance of great restaurants, bars, breweries, shopping, and entertainment. There are also no age restrictions at larger hotels in Asheville, while most bed and breakfasts don't allow children under the age of 12 so as not to disturb other guests. What is the most romantic hotel in Asheville?With its beautiful stone building, iconic views, luxury service, and intimate feel, there is nowhere more romantic in Asheville than The Omni Grove Park Inn. Make your honeymoon extra special by booking a couples massage at the spa, ordering a tasty steak dinner and a bottle of wine at Sunset Terrace, book a Premium Club Floor Room on the adults-only Club Floor, and end each night with a drink by the lobby fireplace. What is the best hotel for families in Asheville?Village Hotel in Biltmore Estate's Antler Hill Village is great for families. Its basic Village Room starts at $170 and comes with two double beds. If you need more room, upgrade to the Village Double with Living Room, which starts at $320 per night and comes with a bedroom with two double beds, a separate living room with a couch, two twin sleeper sofas, and two full bathrooms.The location is also a huge benefit for families as it is steps away from family-friendly restaurants, the Farmyard petting zoo, 20+ miles of easy nature trails, falconry, and the Biltmore Gardens Railway, which has model trains that kids will love.How cheap or expensive is it to plan a trip to Asheville?Asheville is definitely a top tourist destination in the United States, so prices are constantly rising. That said, there is so much to do and see in Asheville, from hiking, biking, and kayaking to award-winning restaurants, breweries, and the Biltmore. These activities run from free or cheap to quite expensive. Hotels and resorts also run the gamut from $128 to $1,049 per night, and there are also tons of Airbnbs at a variety of price points. If you'd prefer one, we rounded up the best vacation rentals in Asheville as well. How we selected the best hotels in Asheville I chose the properties on this list based on my own deep knowledge of Asheville, supplemented by the research points listed below. I extensively researched and visited each hotel and selected properties with excellent recent reviews and ratings of 4 or higher on trusted traveler sites like Tripadvisor or Booking.com.All properties offer a variety of accommodation types, from boutique bed and breakfasts to brand-name hotels and luxury resorts.They range in starting price from $128 to $1,049 per night to suit a range of budgets. Hotels are located in Asheville's top neighborhoods and historic districts, and are near popular restaurants, breweries, shops, and attractions.All hotels offer COVID-19 safety policies, which we've linked for each property, or provided contact information where you can find out more. More of the best hotels on the East Coast Tripadvisor The best hotels in BostonThe best hotels in New York CityThe best hotels in PhiladelphiaThe best hotels in Washington, DCThe best hotels in Ocean City, MarylandThe best hotels on Hilton Head IslandThe best hotels in Myrtle BeachThe best hotels in CharlestonThe best hotels in SavannahThe best hotels on Tybee IslandThe best hotels in Florida Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

Emirates" top US exec details how the airline will build back up in the country without skimping on caviar, in-flight showers, and the A380

Emirates is bringing back all the luxuries and extravagances for which the airline is known, including the ability to take a shower at 35,000 feet. An Emirates Airbus A380. Agent Wolf/Shutterstock.com Emirates is building back its route network with 78 flights to the US come October. The Airbus A380 is also returning to all of its year-round pre-pandemic destinations. The in-flight service is also back to its pre-pandemic offering including caviar in first class. See more stories on Insider's business page. Like the rest of the industry, Emirates was not immune to the uncertainty that engulfed the aviation industry in the COVID-19 pandemic's early days. All of its scheduled passenger flights were suspended between March 25, 2020, and May 21, 2020, as the global carrier focused on moving vital cargo instead of people. But with the United Arab Emirates soon allowing transit passengers and Dubai opening its doors to visitors as early as July 2020, the Middle Eastern mega carrier didn't have to wait long to get back in the air.Now, it's championing a near return to normal in the US market. "By October, we're going to have 78 weekly frequencies in each direction," Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, Emirates' division vice president for the US and Canada, told Insider. That's compared to 100 weekly flights before the pandemic, putting the airline close to its pre-pandemic strength. Emirates, however, won't be returning to every US city it served before the pandemic. One city that didn't exist in the airline's route network before the pandemic is Miami, the new gateway to South Florida over Fort Lauderdale,Fort Lauderdale offered a direct link to the region's cruise ship terminals but the pandemic allowed Emirates to secure favorable time slots at both Dubai International Airport and Miami International Airport for cruise-goers and other visitors to Florida. Ahmad also cited Miami's business attraction given that major conferences will be soon be held in the city, including Bitcoin 2022. Besides Miami, Emirates' US destinations include New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Houston; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Newark; Orlando, Florida; Dallas; Houston, Texas; Boston; and Washington, DC. The Airbus A380 is also making its US return, with plans to return the aircraft to every city it served prior to the pandemic. Americans received Emirates' smaller Boeing 777 planes during the pandemic as the A380s were kept closer to home. "Slowly but surely, the A380s are going to fly and they're going to fly to all of those [pre-COVID] destinations," Ahmad said. "The United States is ready for it."Some A380 flights to the US will also feature Emirates' new premium economy class, as part of a cabin upgrade for the world's largest passenger jet. Emirates unveiled the product in December 2020 that includes enhancements in every cabin. Current and future A380 destinations include Los Angeles, New York, Washington, and San Francisco. Boston, which briefly saw seasonal A380 service between June 1, 2019, and January 31, 2020, isn't currently scheduled to receive the A380 in 2022.Emirates' home base is also proving to be more than just a connection hub for Americans. "We have seen more Americans going to Dubai during the pandemic than previously," Ahmad said, adding that the UAE's largest city opened early to American tourists in July 2020 and is hosting events such as Expo 2020 Dubai in 2021 and 2022. Other popular destinations through Dubai include the Maldives, South Africa, and Seychelles. Italy is also a popular destination, which Emirates serves directly from New York. And besides mask-wearing policies, Ahmad said that frequent Emirates customers should not notice any major difference in the onboard experience. On the Airbus A380, for example, first class customers can still make use of the onboard showers for which the double-decker aircraft is known and enjoy caviar. The key for a global airline surviving the pandemic, according to Ahmad, is to be nimble, especially as the Delta variant is threatening the world's reopening. When the world's borders first closed, Emirates shifted to repatriation flights and cargo flights. Its largest aircraft, including the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A380, were converted to makeshift freighters to accommodate the surging demand for cargo.Now, Emirates has a direct line of communications with the UAE government through which it can have a better idea of which countries are opening and closing. And just like with the Miami-Fort Lauderdale swap, the airline needs to be ready to adjust. "What keeps me awake [at night], to be honest, is looking for the next opportunities," Ahmad said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Leaders at Moderna and AstraZeneca are offering new, rosy predictions about the pandemic"s end

Vaccine makers and public-health experts think the COVID-19 pandemic will probably end next year in the US. An employee at the Vermont Creamery receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from the National Guard at a pop-up stand in Websterville, Vermont, on June 29, 2021. Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images Vaccine makers have recently said they think the pandemic will finally end in 2022. A lead scientist behind AstraZeneca's vaccine predicted that the coronavirus will likely become similar to the common cold. See more stories on Insider's business page. Top brass at Moderna and AstraZeneca have recently offered rosy predictions about what's in store for the coronavirus."If you look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this Earth can be vaccinated," Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, told the Swiss newspaper the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Reuters reported Thursday."Those who do not get vaccinated will immunize themselves naturally, because the Delta variant is so contagious," Bancel added. "In this way we will end up in a situation similar to that of the flu. You can either get vaccinated and have a good winter. Or you don't do it and risk getting sick and possibly even ending up in hospital."In response to a question about when the pandemic would end, Bancel replied, "As of today, in a year, I assume."Sarah Gilbert, the scientist who led the team that developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, echoed similar sentiments during a Royal Society of Medicine webinar on Wednesday."We already live with four different human coronaviruses that we don't really ever think about very much, and eventually Sars-CoV-2 will become one of those," Gilbert said, according to the Evening Standard.Common human coronaviruses, like the one that causes the common cold, typically cause mild-to-moderate upper respiratory illness.Albert Bourla, Pfizer's CEO, also commented on the the future of global vaccine distribution this week."We will see a billion doses by the end of this year, not in the near future, by the end of this year," he said in interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday. "And we will do at least 1 billion doses next year, and I think the facts are speaking for themselves."The comments come at a moment when more and more industry and public-health leaders in the US are issuing hopeful messages, despite the recent Delta surge. Though of course, plenty of predictions about the pandemic have been proven wrong before.What is 'returning to normal' anyway?Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Insider that Bancel's projection seems mostly on target. "This acute phase of the pandemic will likely wind down within 2022," Adalja said. "As more people have natural immunity and as more people are vaccinated, that's going to cause the public-health emergency to no longer be in effect for the world - when the virus is unable to cause as much serious disease, hospitalization and death as it has been able to in this phase of the pandemic." Bible-Based Fellowship Church, the Pasco County Health Department, and the Army National Guard teamed up to administer the Moderna vaccine in Tampa, Florida, on February 13, 2021. Octavio Jones/Getty Images John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children's Hospital, similarly said he sees "reason to be optimistic that we may be out of the pandemic."The dark horse, Brownstein told Insider, is the possibility of a new variant that could evade our vaccines. "We've been surprised by this pandemic over and over again," he said, adding, "to put any timeframe on it would likely mean that you'd be 100% wrong."To that point, Bancel's predictions about when the pandemic would end have been wrong in the past. In November, Bancel told Insider that he envisioned a return to normal in summer 2021. Bourla, too, gave a prediction in June - before the spike in infections tied to Delta - that will most likely turn out to be too optimistic. Bourla told CNBC that he thought developed countries could return to normal life by the end of 2021, and the rest of the world in 2022.Part of the difficulty, though, is that there's no standard definition of what "returning to normal" means. Many people in the US - including this reporter - envision it as a return to everyday life close to the way Americans were living it in 2019. No need to work from home. Relatively low risk at large gatherings like concerts and weddings. No mask requirements. Bancel's definition may be less rigid."Is it a return to baseline?" Brownstein asked. "Or is it a new baseline?"A new normal may be a more realistic target. "I think that what you'll see is the normalization of COVID-19 and how people learn to cope with it," Adalja said. "COVID's not going anywhere and people are learning to adjust."Adalja already has."I'm back to my normal life, except I take care of COVID patients," he said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown US futures and European stocks fell amid ongoing nerves over the Evergrande default, while cryptocurrency-linked stocks tumbled after the Chinese central bank said such transactions are illegal. Sovereign bond yields fluctuated after an earlier selloff fueled by the prospect of tighter monetary policy. At 745am ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 19.5 points, or 0.43%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 88.75 points, or 0.58% and Dow e-minis were down 112 points, or 0.33%. In the biggest overnight news, Evergrande offshore creditors remain in limbo and still haven't received their coupon payment effectively starting the 30-day grace period, while also in China, the State Planner issued a notice on the crackdown of cryptocurrency mining, will strictly prohibit financing for new crypto mining projects and strengthen energy consumption controls of new crypto mining projects. Subsequently, the PBoC issued a notice to further prevent and dispose of the risks from speculating on cryptocurrencies, to strengthen monitoring of risks from crypto trading and such activities are illegal. The news sent the crypto space tumbling as much as 8% while cryptocurrency-exposed stocks slumped in U.S. premarket trading. Marathon Digital (MARA) drops 6.5%, Bit Digital (BTBT) declines 4.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) -5.9%, Coinbase -2.8%. Big banks including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp slipped about 0.5%, while oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp were down 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, in premarket trading.Mega-cap FAAMG tech giants fell between 0.5% and 0.6%. Nike shed 4.6% after the sportswear maker cut its fiscal 2022 sales expectations and warned of delays during the holiday shopping season. Several analysts lowered their price targets on the maker of sports apparel and sneakers after the company cut its FY revenue growth guidance to mid-single- digits. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Helbiz (HLBZ) falls 10% after the micromobility company filed with the SEC for the sale of as many as 11m shares by stockholders. Focus Universal (FCUV), an online marketing company that’s been a favorite of retail traders, surged 26% in premarket trading after the stock was cited on Stocktwits in recent days. Vail Resorts (MTN) falls 2.7% in postmarket trading after its full-year forecasts for Ebitda and net income missed at the midpoint. GlycoMimetics (GLYC) jumps 15% postmarket after announcing that efficacy and safety data from a Phase 1/2 study of uproleselan in patients with acute myeloid leukemia were published in the journal Blood on Sept. 16. VTV Therapeutics (VTVT) surges 30% after company says its HPP737 psoriasis treatment showed favorable safety and tolerability profile in a multiple ascending dose study. Fears about a sooner-than-expected tapering amid signs of stalling U.S. economic growth and concerns over a spillover from China Evergrande’s default had rattled investors in September, putting the benchmark S&P 500 index on course to snap a seven-month winning streak. Elaine Stokes, a portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles & Co., told Bloomberg Television, adding that “what they did is tell us that they feel really good about the economy.” While the bond selloff vindicated Treasury bears who argue yields are too low to reflect fundamentals, others see limits to how high they can go. “We’d expected bond yields to go higher, given the macro situation where growth is still very strong,” Sylvia Sheng, global multi-asset strategist with JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we do stress that is a modest view, because we think that upside to yields is still limited from here given that central banks including the Fed are still buying bonds.” Still, Wall Street’s main indexes rallied in the past two session and are set for small weekly gains. European equities dipped at the open but trade off worst levels, with the Euro Stoxx 50 sliding as much as 1.1% before climbing off the lows. France's CAC underperformed at the margin. Retail, financial services are the weakest performers. EQT AB, Europe’s biggest listed private equity firm, fell as much as 8.1% after Sweden’s financial watchdog opened an investigation into suspected market abuse. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today: SMCP shares surge as much as 9.9%, advancing for a 9th session in 10, amid continued hopes the financial troubles of its top shareholder will ultimately lead to a sale TeamViewer climbs much as 4.2% after Bankhaus Metzler initiated coverage with a buy rating, citing the company’s above-market growth AstraZeneca gains as much as 3.6% after its Lynparza drug met the primary endpoint in a prostate cancer trial Darktrace drops as much as 9.2%, paring the stock’s rally over the past few weeks, as a technical pattern triggered a sell signal Adidas and Puma fall as much as 4% and 2.9%, respectively, after U.S. rival Nike’s “large cut” to FY sales guidance, which Jefferies said would “likely hurt” shares of European peers Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a second day, led by rallies in Japan and Taiwan, following U.S. peers higher amid optimism over the Federal Reserve’s bullish economic outlook and fading concerns over widespread contagion from Evergrande. Stocks were muted in China and Hong Kong. India’s S&P BSE Sensex topped the 60,000 level for the first time on Friday on optimism that speedier vaccinations will improve demand for businesses in Asia’s third-largest economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, with TSMC and Sony the biggest boosts. That trimmed the regional benchmark’s loss for the week to about 1%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 2.1%, reopening after a holiday, pushing its advance for September to 7.7%, the best among major global gauges. The Asian regional benchmark pared its gain as Hong Kong stocks fell sharply in late afternoon trading amid continued uncertainty, with Evergrande giving no sign of making an interest payment that was due Thursday. Among key upcoming events is the leadership election for Japan’s ruling party next week, which will likely determine the country’s next prime minister. “Investor concerns over the Evergrande issue have retreated a bit for now,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co. in Tokyo. “But investors will have to keep downside risk in the corner of their minds.” Indian stocks rose, pushing the Sensex above 60,000 for the first time ever. Key gauges fell in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, while the Thai market was closed for a holiday. Treasuries are higher as U.S. trading day begins after rebounding from weekly lows reached during Asia session, adding to Thursday’s losses. The 10-year yield was down 1bp at ~1.42%, just above the 100-DMA breached on Thursday for the first time in three months; it climbed to 1.449% during Asia session, highest since July 6, and remains 5.2bp higher on the week, its fifth straight weekly increase. Several Fed speakers are slated, first since Wednesday’s FOMC commentary set forth a possible taper timeline.  Bunds and gilts recover off cheapest levels, curves bear steepening. USTs bull steepen, richening 1.5bps from the 10y point out. Peripheral spreads are wider. BTP spreads widen 2-3bps to Bunds. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed back from a one-week low as concern about possible contagion from Evergrande added to buying of the greenback based on the Federal Reserve tapering timeline signaled on Wednesday. NZD, AUD and CAD sit at the bottom of the G-10 scoreboard. ZAR and TRY are the weakest in EM FX. The pound fell after its rally on Thursday as investors looked ahead to BOE Governor Andrew Bailey’s sPeech next week about a possible interest-rate hike. Traders are betting that in a contest to raise borrowing costs first, the Bank of England will be the runaway winner over the Federal Reserve. The New Zealand and Aussie dollars led declines among Group-of-10 peers. The euro was trading flat, with a week full of events failing “to generate any clear directional move,” said ING analysts Francesco Pesole and Chris Turner. German IFO sentiment indeces will “provide extra indications about the area’s sentiment as  businesses faced a combination of delta variant concerns and lingering supply disruptions”. The Norwegian krone is the best performing currency among G10 peers this week, with Thursday’s announcement from the Norges Bank offering support In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range up around best levels for the week. WTI stalls near $73.40, Brent near $77.50. Spot gold extends Asia’s gains, adding $12 on the session to trade near $1,755/oz. Base metals are mixed, LME nickel and aluminum drop ~1%, LME tin outperforms with a 2.8% rally. Bitcoin dips after the PBOC says all crypto-related transactions are illegal. Looking to the day ahead now, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,423.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% to 464.18 German 10Y yield fell 8.5 bps to -0.236% Euro little changed at $1.1737 MXAP up 0.4% to 201.25 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 643.20 Nikkei up 2.1% to 30,248.81 Topix up 2.3% to 2,090.75 Hang Seng Index down 1.3% to 24,192.16 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,613.07 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,031.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,342.60 Kospi little changed at 3,125.24 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $77.57/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,755.38 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.14 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China Evergrande Group’s unusual silence about a dollar-bond interest payment that was due Thursday has put a focus on what might happen during a 30-day grace period. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s inflation target is increasingly out of step with international counterparts and fails to account for structural changes in the country’s economy over the past 30 years, Westpac Banking Corp.’s Bill Evans said. With central banks from Washington to London this week signaling more alarm over faster inflation, the ultra-stimulative path of the euro zone and some of its neighbors appears lonelier than ever. China’s central bank continued to pump liquidity into the financial system on Friday as policy makers sought to avoid contagion stemming from China Evergrande Group spreading to domestic markets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed with the region failing to fully sustain the impetus from the positive performance across global counterparts after the silence from Evergrande and lack of coupon payments for its offshore bonds, stirred uncertainty for the company. ASX 200 (-0.4%) was negative as underperformance in mining names and real estate overshadowed the advances in tech and resilience in financials from the higher yield environment. Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) was the biggest gainer overnight as it played catch up to the prior day’s recovery on return from the Autumnal Equinox holiday in Japan and with exporters cheering the recent risk-conducive currency flows, while KOSPI (-0.1%) was lacklustre amid the record daily COVID-19 infections and after North Korea deemed that it was premature to declare that the Korean War was over. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were indecisive after further liquidity efforts by the PBoC were offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds but has a 30-day grace period with the Co. remaining quiet on the issue. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling from global counterparts including the declines in T-notes as the US 10yr yield breached 1.40% for the first time since early-July with the pressure in bonds also stemming from across the Atlantic following a more hawkish BoE, while the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.3tln of government bonds with 1yr-10yr maturities did very little to spur prices. Top Asian News Rivals for Prime Minister Battle on Social Media: Japan Election Asian Stocks Rise for Second Day, Led by Gains in Japan, Taiwan Hong Kong Stocks Still Wagged by Evergrande Tail Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index Extends Decline to More Than 2% European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.9%) are trading on the back foot in the final trading session of the week amid further advances in global bond yields and a mixed APAC handover. Overnight, saw gains for the Nikkei 225 of 2.1% with the index aided by favourable currency flows, whilst Chinese markets lagged (Shanghai Comp. -0.8%, Hang Seng -1.6%) with further liquidity efforts by the PBoC offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds. As context, despite the losses in Europe today, the Stoxx 600 is still higher by some 1.2% on the week. Stateside, futures are also on a softer footing with the ES down by 0.4% ahead of a busy Fed speaker schedule. Back to Europe, sectors are lower across the board with Retail and Personal & Household Goods lagging peers. The former has been hampered by losses in Adidas (-3.0%) following after hours earnings from Nike (-4.2% pre-market) which saw the Co. cut its revenue guidance amid supply chain woes. AstraZeneca (+2.1%) sits at the top of the FTSE 100 after announcing that the Lynparza PROpel trial met its primary endpoint. Daimler’s (+0.1%) Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will take a 33% stake in a battery cell manufacturing JV with Total and Stellantis. EQT (-6.5%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Swedish FSA announced it will open an investigation into the Co. Top European News EQT Investigated by Sweden’s FSA Over Suspected Market Abuse Gazprom Says Claims of Gas Under-supply to Europe Are ‘Absurd’ German Sept. Ifo Business Confidence 98.8; Est. 99 German Business Index at Five-Month Low in Pre-Election Verdict In FX, the rot seems to have stopped for the Buck in terms of its sharp and marked fall from grace amidst post-FOMC reflection and re-positioning in the financial markets on Thursday. Indeed, the Dollar index has regained some poise to hover above the 93.000 level having recoiled from 93.526 to 92.977 over the course of yesterday’s hectic session that saw the DXY register a marginal new w-t-d high and low at either end of the spectrum. Pre-weekend short covering and consolidation may be giving the Greenback a lift, while the risk backdrop is also less upbeat ahead of a raft of Fed speakers flanking US new home sales data. Elsewhere, the Euro remains relatively sidelined and contained against the Buck with little independent inspiration from the latest German Ifo survey as the business climate deteriorated broadly in line with consensus and current conditions were worse than forecast, but business expectations were better than anticipated. Hence, Eur/Usd is still stuck in a rut and only briefly/fractionally outside 1.1750-00 parameters for the entire week, thus far, as hefty option expiry interest continues to keep the headline pair in check. However, there is significantly less support or gravitational pull at the round number today compared to Thursday as ‘only’ 1.3 bn rolls off vs 4.1 bn, and any upside breach could be capped by 1.1 bn between 1.1765-85. CAD/NZD/AUD - Some payback for the non-US Dollars following their revival, with the Loonie waning from 1.2650+ peaks ahead of Canadian budget balances, though still underpinned by crude as WTI hovers around Usd 73.50/brl and not far from decent option expiries (from 1.2655-50 and 1.2625-30 in 1.4 bn each). Similarly, the Kiwi has faded after climbing to within single digits of 0.7100 in wake of NZ trade data overnight revealing a much wider deficit as exports slowed and imports rose, while the Aussie loses grip of the 0.7300 handle and skirts 1.1 bn option expiries at 0.7275. CHF/GBP/JPY - The Franc is fairly flat and restrained following a dovish SNB policy review that left in lagging somewhat yesterday, with Usd/Chf and Eur/Chf straddling 0.9250 and 1.0850 respectively, in contrast to Sterling that is paring some hawkish BoE momentum, as Cable retreats to retest bids circa 1.3700 and Eur/Gbp bounces from sub-0.8550. Elsewhere, the Yen has not been able to fend off further downside through 110.00 even though Japanese participants have returned to the fray after the Autumn Equinox holiday and reports suggest some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in 13 prefectures on a trial basis. SCANDI/EM/PM/CRYPTO - A slight change in the pecking order in Scandi-land as the Nok loses some post-Norges Bank hike impetus and the Sek unwinds a bit of its underperformance, but EM currencies are bearing the brunt of the aforementioned downturn in risk sentiment and firmer Usd, with the Zar hit harder than other as Gold is clings to Usd 1750/oz and Try down to deeper post-CBRT rate cut lows after mixed manufacturing sentiment and cap u readings. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is being shackled by the latest Chinese crackdown on mining and efforts to limit risks from what it describes as unlawful speculative crypto currency trading. In commodities, WTI and Brent are set the conclude the week in the green with gains in excess of 2% for WTI at the time of writing; in-spite of the pressure seen in the complex on Monday and the first-half of Tuesday, where a sub USD 69.50/bbl low was printed. Fresh newsflow has, once again, been limited for the complex and continues to focus on the gas situation. More broadly, no update as of yet on the Evergrande interest payment and by all accounts we appear to have entered the 30-day grace period for this and, assuming catalysts remain slim, updates on this will may well dictate the state-of-play. Schedule wise, the session ahead eyes significant amounts of central bank commentary but from a crude perspective the weekly Baker Hughes rig count will draw attention. On the weather front, Storm Sam has been upgraded to a Hurricane and is expected to rapidly intensify but currently remains someway into the mid-Atlantic. Moving to metals, LME copper is pivoting the unchanged mark after a mixed APAC lead while attention is on Glencore’s CSA copper mine, which it has received an offer for; the site in 2020 produced circa. 46k/T of copper which is typically exported to Asia smelters. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are firmer but have been very contained and remain well-within overnight ranges thus far. Which sees the yellow metal holding just above the USD 1750/oz mark after a brief foray below the level after the US-close. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. New Home Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.0% 10am: Aug. New Home Sales, est. 715,000, prior 708,000 Central Bank Speakers 8:45am: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook 10am: Powell, Clarida and Bowman Host Fed Listens Event 10:05am: Fed’s George Discusses Economic Outlook 12pm: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Equitable Community Development DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap WFH today is a bonus as it’s time for the annual ritual at home where the latest, sleekest, shiniest iPhone model arrives in the post and i sheepishly try to justify to my wife when I get home why I need an incremental upgrade. This year to save me from the Spanish Inquisition I’m going to intercept the courier and keep quiet. Problem is that such speed at intercepting the delivery will be logistically challenging as I remain on crutches (5 weeks to go) and can’t grip properly with my left hand due to an ongoing trapped nerve. I’m very glad I’m not a racehorse. Although hopefully I can be put out to pasture in front of the Ryder Cup this weekend. The big news of the last 24 hours has been a galloping global yield rise worthy of the finest thoroughbred. A hawkish Fed meeting, with the dots increasing and the end of QE potentially accelerated, didn’t quite have the ability to move markets but the global dam finally broke yesterday with Norway being the highest profile developed country to raise rates this cycle (expected), but more importantly a Bank of England meeting that saw the market reappraise rate hikes. Looking at the specific moves, yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +13.0bps to 1.430% in their biggest daily increase since 25 February, as both higher real rates (+7.9bps) and inflation breakevens (+4.9bps) drove the advance. US 10yr yields had been trading in a c.10bp range for the last month before breaking out higher, though they have been trending higher since dropping as far as 1.17% back in early-August. US 30yr yields rose +13.2bps, which was the biggest one day move in long dated yields since March 17 2020, which was at the onset of the pandemic and just days after the Fed announced it would be starting the current round of QE. The large selloff in US bonds saw the yield curve steepen and the long-end give back roughly half of the FOMC flattening from the day before. The 5y30y curve steepened 3.4bps for a two day move of -3.3bps. However the 2y10y curve steepened +10.5bps, completely reversing the prior day’s flattening (-4.2bps) and leaving the spread at 116bp, the steepest level since first week of July. 10yr gilt yields saw nearly as strong a move (+10.8bps) with those on shorter-dated 2yr gilts (+10.7bps) hitting their highest level (0.386%) since the pandemic began.That came on the back of the BoE’s latest policy decision, which pointed in a hawkish direction, building on the comment in the August statement that “some modest tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period is likely to be necessary” by saying that “some developments during the intervening period appear to have strengthened that case”. The statement pointed out that the rise in gas prices since August represented an upside risks to their inflation projections from next April, and the MPC’s vote also saw 2 members (up from 1 in August) vote to dial back QE. See DB’s Sanjay Raja’s revised rate hike forecasts here. We now expect a 15bps hike in February. The generalised move saw yields in other European countries rise as well, with those on 10yr bunds (+6.6bps), OATs (+6.5bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) all seeing big moves higher with 10yr bunds seeing their biggest climb since late-February and back to early-July levels as -0.258%. The yield rise didn’t stop equity indices recovering further from Monday’s rout, with the S&P 500 up +1.21% as the index marked its best performance in over 2 months, and its best 2-day performance since May. Despite the mood at the end of the weekend, the S&P now starts Friday in positive territory for the week. The rally yesterday was led by cyclicals for a second straight day with higher commodity prices driving outsized gains for energy (+3.41%) and materials (+1.39%) stocks, and the aforementioned higher yields causing banks (+3.37%) and diversified financials (+2.35%) to outperform. The reopening trade was the other main beneficiary as airlines rose +2.99% and consumer services, which include hotel and cruiseline companies, gained +1.92%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+0.93%) witnessed a similarly strong performance, with index led by banks (+2.16%). As a testament to the breadth of yesterday’s rally, the travel and leisure sector (+0.04%) was the worst performing sector on this side of the Atlantic even while registering a small gain and lagging its US counterparts. Before we get onto some of yesterday’s other events, it’s worth noting that this is actually the last EMR before the German election on Sunday, which has long been signposted as one of the more interesting macro events on the 2021 calendar, the results of which will play a key role in not just domestic, but also EU policy. And with Chancellor Merkel stepping down after four terms in office, this means that the country will soon be under new management irrespective of who forms a government afterwards. It’s been a volatile campaign in many respects, with Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU, the Greens and the centre-left SPD all having been in the lead at various points over the last six months. But for the last month Politico’s Poll of Polls has shown the SPD consistently ahead, with their tracker currently putting them on 25%, ahead of the CDU/CSU on 22% and the Greens on 16%. However the latest poll from Forschungsgruppe Wahlen yesterday suggested a tighter race with the SPD at 25, the CDU/CSU at 23% and the Greens at 16.5%. If the actual results are in line with the recent averages, it would certainly mark a sea change in German politics, as it would be the first time that the SPD have won the popular vote since the 2002 election. Furthermore, it would be the CDU/CSU’s worst ever result, and mark the first time in post-war Germany that the two main parties have failed to win a majority of the vote between them, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties in the rest of continental Europe. For the Greens, 15% would be their best ever score, and exceed the 9% they got back in 2017 that left them in 6th place, but it would also be a disappointment relative to their high hopes back in the spring, when they were briefly polling in the mid-20s after Annalena Baerbock was selected as their Chancellor candidate. In terms of when to expect results, the polls close at 17:00 London time, with initial exit polls released immediately afterwards. However, unlike the UK, where a new majority government can immediately come to power the day after the election, the use of proportional representation in Germany means that it could potentially be weeks or months before a new government is formed. Indeed, after the last election in September 2017, it wasn’t until March 2018 that the new grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD took office, after attempts to reach a “Jamaica” coalition between the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens was unsuccessful. In the meantime, the existing government will act as a caretaker administration. On the policy implications, it will of course depend on what sort of government is actually formed, but our research colleagues in Frankfurt have produced a comprehensive slidepack (link here) running through what the different parties want across a range of policies, and what the likely coalitions would mean for Germany. They also put out another note yesterday (link here) where they point out that there’s still much to play for, with the SPD’s lead inside the margin of error and with an unusually high share of yet undecided voters. Moving on to Asia and markets are mostly higher with the Nikkei (+2.04%), CSI (+0.53%) and India’s Nifty (+0.52%) up while the Hang Seng (-0.03%), Shanghai Comp (-0.07%) and Kospi (-0.10%) have all made small moves lower. Meanwhile, the Evergrande group missed its dollar bond coupon payment yesterday and so far there has been no communication from the group on this. They have a 30-day grace period to make the payment before any event of default can be declared. This follows instructions from China’s Financial regulators yesterday in which they urged the group to take all measures possible to avoid a near-term default on dollar bonds while focusing on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors. Yields on Australia and New Zealand’s 10y sovereign bonds are up +14.5bps and +11.3bps respectively this morning after yesterday’s move from their western counterparts. Yields on 10y USTs are also up a further +1.1bps to 1.443%. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.04% while those on the Stoxx 50 are down -0.10%. In terms of overnight data, Japan’s August CPI printed at -0.4% yoy (vs. -0.3% yoy expected) while core was unchanged in line with expectations. We also received Japan’s flash PMIs with the services reading at 47.4 (vs. 42.9 last month) while the manufacturing reading came in at 51.2 (vs. 52.7 last month). In pandemic related news, Jiji reported that Japan is planning to conduct trials of easing Covid restrictions, with 13 prefectures indicating they’d like to participate. This is likely contributing to the outperformance of the Nikkei this morning. Back to yesterday now, and one of the main highlights came from the flash PMIs, which showed a continued deceleration in growth momentum across Europe and the US, and also underwhelmed relative to expectations. Running through the headline numbers, the Euro Area composite PMI fell to 56.1 (vs. 58.5 expected), which is the lowest figure since April, as both the manufacturing (58.7 vs 60.3 expected) and services (56.3 vs. 58.5 expected) came in beneath expectations. Over in the US, the composite PMI fell to 54.5 in its 4th consecutive decline, as the index hit its lowest level in a year, while the UK’s composite PMI at 54.1 (vs. 54.6 expected) was the lowest since February when the country was still in a nationwide lockdown. Risk assets seemed unperturbed by the readings, and commodities actually took another leg higher as they rebounded from their losses at the start of the week. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot index rose +1.12% as Brent crude oil (+1.39%) closed at $77.25/bbl, which marked its highest closing level since late 2018, while WTI (+1.07%) rose to $73.30/bbl, so still a bit beneath its recent peak in July. However that is a decent rebound of roughly $11/bbl since its recent low just over a month ago. Elsewhere, gold (-1.44%) took a knock amidst the sharp move higher in yields, while European natural gas prices subsidised for a third day running, with futures now down -8.5% from their intraday peak on Tuesday, although they’re still up by +71.3% since the start of August. US negotiations regarding the upcoming funding bill and raising the debt ceiling are ongoing, with House Speaker Pelosi saying that the former, also called a continuing resolution, will pass “both houses by September 30,” and fund the government through the first part of the fiscal year, starting October 1. Treasury Secretary Yellen has said the US will likely breach the debt ceiling sometime in the next month if Congress does not increase the level, and because Republicans are unwilling to vote to raise the ceiling, Democrats will have to use the once-a-fiscal-year tool of budget reconciliation to do so. However Democrats, are also using that process for the $3.5 trillion dollar economic plan that makes up the bulk of the Biden agenda, and have not been able to get full party support yet. During a joint press conference with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer said that Democrats have a “framework” to pay for the Biden Economic agenda, which would imply that the broad outline of a deal was reached between the House, Senate and the White House. However, no specifics were mentioned yesterday. With Democrats looking to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill early next week, negotiations today and this weekend on the potential reconciliation package will be vital. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through September 18 unexpectedly rose to 351k (vs. 320k expected), which is the second week running they’ve come in above expectations. Separately, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index fell to 0.29 in August (vs. 0.50 expected), and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing activity index also fell more than expected to 22 in September (vs. 25 expected). To the day ahead now, and data highlights include the Ifo’s business climate indicator from Germany for September, along with Italian consumer confidence for September and US new home sales for August. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Leaders at Moderna and AstraZeneca, are offering new, rosy predictions about the pandemic"s end

Vaccine makers and public-health experts think the COVID-19 pandemic will probably end next year in the US. An employee at the Vermont Creamery receives a COVID-19 vaccine from the National Guard at a pop-up stand in Websterville, Vermont, on June 29, 2021. Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images Vaccine makers have recently said they think the pandemic will finally end in 2022. A lead scientist behind AstraZeneca's vaccine predicted that the coronavirus will likely become similar to the common cold. See more stories on Insider's business page. Top brass at Moderna and AstraZeneca have recently offered rosy predictions about what's in store for the coronavirus."If you look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this Earth can be vaccinated," Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, told the Swiss newspaper the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Reuters reported Thursday."Those who do not get vaccinated will immunize themselves naturally, because the Delta variant is so contagious," Bancel added. "In this way we will end up in a situation similar to that of the flu. You can either get vaccinated and have a good winter. Or you don't do it and risk getting sick and possibly even ending up in hospital."In response to a question about when the pandemic would end, Bancel replied, "As of today, in a year, I assume."Sarah Gilbert, the scientist who led the team that developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, echoed similar sentiments during a Royal Society of Medicine webinar on Wednesday."We already live with four different human coronaviruses that we don't really ever think about very much, and eventually Sars-CoV-2 will become one of those," Gilbert said, according to the Evening Standard.Common human coronaviruses, like the one that causes the common cold, typically cause mild-to-moderate upper respiratory illness.Albert Bourla, Pfizer's CEO, also commented on the the future of global vaccine distribution this week."We will see a billion doses by the end of this year, not in the near future, by the end of this year," he said in interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday. "And we will do at least 1 billion doses next year, and I think the facts are speaking for themselves."The comments come at a moment when more and more industry and public-health leaders in the US are issuing hopeful messages, despite the recent Delta surge. Though of course, plenty of predictions about the pandemic have been proven wrong before.What is 'returning to normal' anyway?Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Insider that Bancel's projection seems mostly on target. "This acute phase of the pandemic will likely wind down within 2022," Adalja said. "As more people have natural immunity and as more people are vaccinated, that's going to cause the public-health emergency to no longer be in effect for the world - when the virus is unable to cause as much serious disease, hospitalization and death as it has been able to in this phase of the pandemic." Bible-Based Fellowship Church, the Pasco County Health Department, and the Army National Guard teamed up to administer the Moderna vaccine in Tampa, Florida, on February 13, 2021. Octavio Jones/Getty Images John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children's Hospital, similarly said he sees "reason to be optimistic that we may be out of the pandemic."The dark horse, Brownstein told Insider, is the possibility of a new variant that could evade our vaccines. "We've been surprised by this pandemic over and over again," he said, adding, "to put any timeframe on it would likely mean that you'd be 100% wrong."To that point, Bancel's predictions about when the pandemic would end have been wrong in the past. In November, Bancel told Insider that he envisioned a return to normal in summer 2021. Bourla, too, gave a prediction in June - before the spike in infections tied to Delta - that will most likely turn out to be too optimistic. Bourla told CNBC that he thought developed countries could return to normal life by the end of 2021, and the rest of the world in 2022.Part of the difficulty, though, is that there's no standard definition of what "returning to normal" means. Many people in the US - including this reporter - envision it as a return to everyday life close to the way Americans were living it in 2019. No need to work from home. Relatively low risk at large gatherings like concerts and weddings. No mask requirements. Bancel's definition may be less rigid."Is it a return to baseline?" Brownstein asked. "Or is it a new baseline?"A new normal may be a more realistic target. "I think that what you'll see is the normalization of COVID-19 and how people learn to cope with it," Adalja said. "COVID's not going anywhere and people are learning to adjust."Adalja already has."I'm back to my normal life, except I take care of COVID patients," he said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Airline Stock Roundup: RYAAY"s Bullish View for Traffic, AAL, JBLU in Focus

Ryanair (RYAAY) expects fiscal 2022 traffic in the range of 90-100 million compared with 27.5 million in fiscal 2021. Gol Linhas (GOL) boosts its liquidity position. In the past week, Ryanair Holdings RYAAY raised its 5-year traffic growth forecast from 33% to 50%. The European carrier now expects traffic to grow to more than 225 million guests per year by March 2026 compared with 200 million predicted earlier.The Latin American carrier Gol Linhas GOL was also in the news in the past week when it extended its agreement with American Airlines AAL. American Airlines will acquire a 5.2% stake in Gol Linhas. However, American Airlines’ alliance with JetBlue Airways JBLU seems to have run into rough weather with the Justice Department and officials in six states reportedly filing a lawsuit against the alliance on antitrust grounds.Recap of the Past Week’s Most Important Stories1.Ryanair, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), expects fiscal 2022 traffic in the range of 90-100 million compared with 27.5 million guests in fiscal 2021.The carrier aims to take delivery of 210 Boeing 737 aircraft over the next five years. The company expects these planes, which would lower costs and reduce emissions, to accelerate its post-COVID growth.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.2. Under this extended deal, Gol Linhas will receive an equity investment of $200 million (R$1.05 billion) from American Airlines. This additional liquidity is expected to strengthen Gol Linhas’ balance sheet. The new agreement expands beyond the terms of the existing codeshare partnership (which has been in place since February 2020) between the carriers. As a result of the code sharing pact, passengers of either carrier can purchase tickets of the connecting flights using one reservation. American Airlines, through this exclusive codeshare agreement, expects to increase commercial cooperation with the Brazilian carrier to accelerate growth and create a more seamless experience for customers.3. According to an update from the White House, travel restrictions on air passengers from countries like China, India, Britain and other European nations into the United States will be eased from November this year. Per White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, foreign nationals will have to be fully vaccinated when they fly to the United States in November. They will have to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding. Further, the travelers have to test negative for the coronavirus, which they have to undergo within three days of their flight. Zients ruled out the need to quarantine for the fully-vaccinated passengers.The development is a major positive, especially for the Delta-variant-hit U.S. airlines. Many of the carriers expect third-quarter 2021 results to be dented by the spread of the Delta strain in the United States. Their bearish third-quarter views were discussed in detail in the previous week’s write-up. 4. The Justice Department believes that the alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue will reduce competition, leading to higher fares. Per Attorney General Merrick Garland, “In an industry where just four airlines control more than 80% of domestic air travel, American Airlines' alliance with JetBlue is, in fact, an unprecedented manoeuvre to further consolidate the industry."American and JetBlue vowed to fight the lawsuit and continue with their alliance unless directed otherwise by a court. The partnership was announced last year. JetBlue and American Airlines already started coordinating on flights in the Northeast. Garland is, however, of the view that “It would result in higher fares, fewer choices, and lower quality service if allowed to continue.”5. United Airlines UAL is expanding its footprint in Africa with a new service between Washington, D.C. and Lagos, Nigeria, set to be launched on Nov 29, subject to government approval. The airline will operate three weekly flights between the U.S. capital and the popular African destination. This is the company’s first ever nonstop service between Washington, D.C. and Nigeria.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of the major airline players over the past week and during the past six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe table above shows that the airline stocks have traded in the green over the past week, aided by the announcement from the White House pertaining to the easing of international travel curbs. The NYSE ARCA Airline Index has increased 3.5% over the past week to $94.23. Over the course of six months, the sector tracker has decreased 6.6%.What's Next in the Airline Space?Investors will await more updates on the American Airlines-JetBlue partnership in the coming days. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY): Free Stock Analysis Report United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU): Free Stock Analysis Report Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL): Free Stock Analysis Report American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Federal Workers Sue Biden Over Vaccine Mandate

Federal Workers Sue Biden Over Vaccine Mandate As the FDA bucks President Biden's booster jab push, a group of federal workers and contractors are suing President Biden to try and stop his sweeping federal vaccine mandate, according to media reports. The lawsuit, filed in Washington Thursday, challenges President Joe Biden's executive edict requiring all federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated, alongside the August memorandum requiring members of the military to be vaccinated to protect against COVID. Biden has opposed offering honorable discharges for soldiers who are vaccine objectors. Among the arguments made in the lawsuit, lawyers claim that Christians are required "to refuse a medical intervention, including vaccination, if his or her informed conscience comes to this sure judgment". The federal workers aren't the only group suing Biden over the mandate. The RNC has said it plans to sue Biden over the vaccine mandates, with RNC head Ronna McDaniel arguing the mandates are "unconstitutional", and that Biden had promised not to impose mandates when he was elected. "Joe Biden told Americans when he was elected that he would not impose vaccine mandates. He lied. Now small businesses, workers, and families across the country will pay the price," she said. "Like many Americans, I am pro-vaccine and anti-mandate," she said. "Many small businesses and workers do not have the money or legal resources to fight Biden's unconstitutional actions and authoritarian decrees, but when his decree goes into effect, the RNC will sue the administration to protect Americans and their liberties." Other prominent Republican officials have also threatened to sue, with Arizona becoming the first state to sue Biden over the mandate earlier this month. Americans' resistance to the vaccine has frustrated the White House, which has struggled to get the latest delta-driven COVID wave under control. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 15:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

South African Airways is flying again after its government cut funding last year. Here"s a look at the collapse and revival of the 87-year-old national airline.

The airline has served South Africa since before the country became truly independent from the UK and has a history largely molded by its country's laws. SAA relaunches flights after a year of inactivity Reuters South African Airways relaunched operations with a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town after a year of inactivity. Though not involved in the relaunch, the airline has likely secured a new investor, Takatso Consortium. SAA said it's optimistic about its revival, but it's not without its skeptics. See more stories on Insider's business page. South African Airways was on the brink of disappearance after years of financial struggles, but it may have received a lifeline.On Thursday, the carrier relaunched operations on a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town using money it received from the South African government. After getting in millions from the state, the long-suffering carrier was denied further funding last year, and, as FlightGlobal reported, business rescuers entrusted with the difficult task of rescuing the 87-year-old airline had given it two options: liquidation or a wind-down and sale process.However, SAA has likely secured a private investor, Takatso Consortium, in June 2021, which agreed to funnel up to $243 million into the crippled airline over the next three years. Takatso Consortium CEO Gidon Novick said the relaunch is independent of the negotiations between the consortium and the carrier.Take a look at South African Airways' collapse and rebirth. The airline itself dates back to 1934 when South Africa's Union Airways was nationalized to form the new South African Airways. The state-owned airline would become the flag carrier of South Africa, which was still part of the British Empire at the time. A South African Airways Junkers aircraft. The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Source: South African Airways Initial operations for South African included regional flights within Africa. Intra-African and domestic flights were operated by aircraft including the Junkers Ju 52, Douglas DC-3, and Junkers Ju 86. A Douglas DC-3 painted in South African Airways former colors. Simon_g / Shutterstock.com Source: South African Airways Once World War II ended, South African expanded beyond the shores of its home continent with a multi-stop flight to the heart of the British Empire. The route was known as the "Springbok" service, after the national animal of South Africa. An Avro York aircraft similar to the one used by South African Airways. The Montifraulo Collection/Getty Source: South African Airways The 34-hour, three-day service initially flown by an Avro York aircraft, stopped in Nairobi, Kenya; Khartoum, Sudan; Cairo, Egypt; and Castel Benito, Libya, before arriving in Bournemouth, England. An Avro York aircraft similar to the one used by South African Airways. The Montifraulo Collection/Getty Source: South African Airways Springbok would also become the radio callsign for South African Airways flights. A Douglas DC-3 painted in South African Airways former colors. Simon_g / Shutterstock.com More modern aircraft from Western manufacturers including the Lockheed Constellation L-749 and Douglas DC-4 were later added, helping fuel international expansion. A Douglas DC-4 painted in South African Airways former colors. Simon_g / Shutterstock.com Source: South African Airways The airline added flight attendants on its services in 1946 and later added in-flight movies to some of its flights in the same decade. A Douglas DC-3 painted in South African Airways former colors. Simon_g / Shutterstock.com Source: South African Airways South Africa entered the jet age in 1953 with a British Overseas Airways Corporation de Havilland Comet operated by South African Airways that flew from Johannesburg to London. A BOAC de Havilland Comet aircraft. PA Images/Getty Source: South African Airways Intercontinental expansion continued with South African Airways later growing its route network to Australia in 1957 with "Wallaby" service. A Douglas DC-4 painted in South African Airways former colors. Simon_g / Shutterstock.com Source: South African Airways The 1960s then saw further expansion to South America, with flights to Rio de Janeiro, and then North America, with flights to New York, using the Boeing 707. A South African Airways Boeing 707 aircraft. Antony Matheus Linsen/Fairfax Media/Getty Source: South African Airways South African hit a milestone in the 1970s with its first Boeing 747 aircraft, an aircraft that had begun flying passengers only at the beginning of the decade. The quad engine aircraft quickly became a status symbol for the world's airlines. A South African Airways Boeing 747 aircraft. Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Source: South African Airways Other new arrivals included the Boeing 737… A South African Airways Boeing 737-800 aircraft. JOKER/Hady Khandani/ullstein bild/Getty Source: South African Airways And Airbus A300. A South African Airways Airbus A300 aircraft. STR New/Reuters Source: South African Airways South African was also one of the first commercial operators of a unique Boeing product, the 747SP. A South African Airways Boeing 747SP aircraft. EQRoy / Shutterstock.com Source: South African Airways A shortened version of the popular Jumbo Jet but with the same four engines, the 747SP offering extended ranges unmatched by most aircraft of the time. The range of the 747SP was so great that South African flew it from Seattle to Cape Town nonstop, a distance of over 8,800 nautical miles, on its delivery flight. A South African Airways Boeing 747SP aircraft. EQRoy / Shutterstock.com Source: South African Airways While airlines liked the 747SP for its performance capabilities, South African had a different reason involving the country's apartheid policy. A Boeing 747SP aircraft. Mo Azizi / Shutterstock.com Due to the discriminatory policy, some African countries had restricted South African Airways flights from entering their airspaces and the airline would often have to fly indirect routes to get to Europe. A South African Airways Boeing 747SP aircraft. EQRoy / Shutterstock.com Source: New York Times The Boeing 747SP allowed for South African to go around the countries without having to stop for fuel on the way to Europe. Other aircraft frequently used Cape Verde as a refueling stop for flights to Europe, despite the archipelago's location off the coast of West Africa. A South African Airways Boeing 747SP aircraft. EQRoy / Shutterstock.com Source: New York Times A route from Johannesburg to Athens on the 747SP, for example, stopped in Lisbon and Rome along the way. The flight flew direct or with one stop to Lisbon, and then headed into the continent. A South African Airways Boeing 747SP aircraft. EQRoy / Shutterstock.com Source: South African Airways The 1980s then saw turbulence for the carrier as Western nations adopted sanctions against South Africa for its apartheid policies. Flights to the US and Australia were revoked in addition to the countries that had barred South African's flights. Australian protests against South Africa's apartheid policy. Robert Pearce/Fairfax Media/Getty Source: South African Airways When apartheid ended in the 1990s, South African was allowed to grow its route network once again and the airline no longer needed to fly the long, costly routes to avoid some nations. A South African Airways Airbus A320 aircraft. Rogan Ward/Reuters Source: South African Airways One of the most notable displays of the new airline came in 1995 during the Rugby World Cups when a South African Airways Boeing 747 did a flyover of the stadium with "Good Luck Bokke," a nickname for the South African team, painted on the belly. The feat was repeated multiple times in later years by other airlines. An aircraft flyover at a 2013 Springboks vs All Blacks rugby match, David Rogers/Getty Source: South African Airways and Safair The decade also saw the airline win the title of Africa's leading airline from 1994 on to 2015. The 1990s, however, also saw the airline begin its financial losing streak. South African Airways aircraft. William F. Campbell/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Source: QZ The 2000s saw South African undergo a fleet renewal where most of its long-haul Boeing jets were retired in favor of European-built Airbus planes. The new long-haul flagships became the Airbus A330… A South African Airways Airbus A330 aircraft. SUMAYA HISHAM/Reuters Source: Planespotters.net And A340-600. A South African Airways Airbus A340-600 aircraft. Bruce Bennett/Getty Source: Planespotters.net South African was later brought into organizations to which it had been denied including the International Civil Aviation Organization and joined the Star Alliance. South African Airways joined Star Alliance in 2006. SIPHIWE SIBEKO/Reuters Source: South African Airways Its new-found praise and acceptance, however, couldn't replace the financial woes of the airline. In 2019, South African entered the equivalent of bankruptcy protection and began restructuring after racking up nearly $3 billion in debt. South African Airways employees protest during the airline's bankruptcy. Siyabonga Sishi/Reuters Source: QZ Despite being in the midst of restructuring, South African leased a new aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 XWB, which ultimately launched on the Johannesburg-New York route in January 2020. A South African Airways Airbus A350-900 XWB. South African Airways Read More: Bankrupt South African Airways just debuted its newest plane, the Airbus A350, weeks early despite verging on the brink of collapse The swanky new aircraft would be ideal for the ultra-long-haul routes that South African planned to use them for. A South African Airways Airbus A350-900 XWB. South African Airways With the new aircraft in the air and flying passengers, the hope was that South African might have a plan to save itself from collapse. A South African Airways Airbus A350-900 XWB. South African Airways South Africa's government, which has been incrementally providing relief, however, ultimately pulled the plug in April 2020. A South African Airways Airbus A340-600. Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Source: FlightGlobal Without intervention from either the government or a private buyer willing to keep the airline going, South African Airways looked like it was going to disappear from the skies for good. A South African Airways Airbus A350-900 XWB. Sumaya Hisham/Reuters However, the airline is back up and running after over a year of inactivity. SAA relaunched operations on September 23 with a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town using an A320 aircraft, which carried 123 passengers on the maiden journey. SAA's first flight in over a year Reuters Source: Aerotime Hub The relaunch came after months of restructuring, which included reducing its debt and cutting its workforce by 80%, down from 4,000 to 802. SAA relaunch at Johannesburg airport Reuters Source: Aerotime Hub, ch-aviation The airline will be backed by Takatso Consortium, a joint-venture between Harith General Partners and Global Aviation, which is in late stage talks to buy the majority stake from the South African government in June. South African union buildings Burhan Ay Photography/Shutterstock Source: africannews Takatso Consortium is set to be SAA's lifeline, though is not reportedly involved in the airline's management, relaunch, or funding. However, Takatso CEO Gidon Novick said in a statement that negotiations to take a 51% share are "substantially complete." SAA A320 at Johannesburg airport Thiago B Trevisan/Shutterstock Source: ch-aviation The consortium's deal made with South Africa's Department of Public Enterprises includes investing up to $243 million into the airline over the next three years. SAA A330 takes off from Lusaka, Zambia Vidit Luthra Source: africannews Without its private funds yet secured, the company is using $33.8 million of the $712.3 million bailout it received from the state to restart operations. SAA A320 Thiago B Trevisan/Shutterstock Source: ch-aviation SAA's interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said the company needs a modern fleet of aircraft if it is going to be competitive outside of Africa. Currently, its all-Airbus fleet has an average age of more than 15 years. SAA plane in Namibia Felix Lipov/Shutterstock Source: africannews However, Kgokolo said ticket sales are promising and early numbers indicate flights could be 75% full. SAA passengers Reuters Source: africannews The airline's fleet has shrunk, having only six of the original 44 it had before insolvency. SAA will start with a small network, operating one domestic route and five regional routes, including to Accra, Ghana; Kinshasa, DRC; Harare, Zimbabwe; Lusaka, Zambia; and Maputo, Mozambique. SAA plane in Johannesburg Reuters Source: ch-aviation While it still has a long way to go, SAA's relaunch has brought pride and excitement for its employees. Crew members danced and sang at the Johannesburg airport before the maiden flight. SAA employees dance after relaunch Reuters Source: Reuters While the airline is optimistic about its return, skeptics believe it will be short-lived. According to Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt, Takatso Consortium's absence from the relaunch is not a good sign. SAA A340 wing Vidit Luthra/Shutterstock Source: jacarandafm He explained that the slow deal with the consortium makes him wonder where the money to keep SAA in the air is going to come from. Without the agreement finalized, the airline will likely have its wings clipped again soon, according to Roodt. SAA tail at Frankfurt airport Vytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock Source: jacarandafm Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

Futures Rise On Taper, Evergrande Optimism

Futures Rise On Taper, Evergrande Optimism US index futures jumped overnight even as the Fed confirmed that a November tapering was now guaranteed and would be completed by mid-2022 with one rate hike now on deck, while maintaining the possibility to extend stimulus if necessitated by the economy. Sentiment got an additional boost from a strong showing of Evergrande stock - which closed up 17% - during the Chinese session, which peaked just after Bloomberg reported that China told Evergrande to avoid a near-term dollar bond default and which suggested that the "government wants to avoid an imminent collapse of the developer" however that quickly reversed when the WSJ reported, just one hour later, that China was making preparations for Evergrande's demise, and although that hammered stocks, the report explicitly noted that a worst-case scenario for Evergrande would mean a partial or full nationalization as "local-level government agencies and state-owned enterprises have been instructed to step in only at the last minute should Evergrande fail to manage its affairs in an orderly fashion." In other words, both reports are bullish: either foreign creditors are made whole (no default) as per BBG or the situation deteriorates and Evergrande is nationalized ("SOEs step in") as per WSJ. According to Bloomberg, confidence is building that markets can ride out a pullback in Fed stimulus, unlike 2013 when the taper tantrum triggered large losses in bonds and equities. "Investors are betting that the economic and profit recovery will be strong enough to outweigh a reduction in asset purchases, while ultra-low rates will continue to support riskier assets even as concerns linger about contagion from China’s real-estate woes." That's one view: the other is that the Fed has so broken the market's discounting ability we won't know just how bad tapering will get until it actually begins. “The Fed has got to be pleased that their communication on the longer way to tapering has avoided the dreaded fear of the tantrum,” Jeffrey Rosenberg, senior portfolio manager for systematic fixed income at BlackRock Inc., said on Bloomberg Television. “This is a very good outcome for the Fed in terms of signaling their intent to give the market information well ahead of the tapering decision.” Then there is the question of Evergrande: “With regards to Evergrande, all those people who are waiting for a Lehman moment in China will probably have to wait another turn,” said Ken Peng, an investment strategist at Citi Private Bank Asia Pacific. “So I wouldn’t treat this as completely bad, but there are definitely a lot of risks on the horizon.” In any case, today's action is a continuation of the best day in two months for both the Dow and the S&P which staged a strong recovery from two-month lows hit earlier in the week, and as of 745am ET, S&P 500 E-minis were up 25.25 points, or 0.6%, Dow E-minis were up 202 points, or 0.59%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 92.0 points, or 0.60%. In the premarket, electric vehicle startup Lucid Group rose 3.1% in U.S. premarket trading. PAVmed (PVM US) jumps 11% after its Lucid Diagnostics unit announced plans to list on the Global Market of the Nasdaq Stock Market.  Here are some of the biggest movers today: U.S.-listed Chinese stocks rise in premarket trading as fears of contagion from China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis ease. Blackberry (BB US) shares rise 8.7% in premarket after co.’s 2Q adjusted revenue beat the average of analysts’ estimates Eargo (EAR US) falls 57% in Thursday premarket after the hearing aid company revealed it was the target of a Justice Department criminal probe and withdrew its forecasts for the year Amplitude Healthcare Acquisition (AMHC US) doubled in U.S. premarket trading after the SPAC’s shareholders approved the previously announced business combination with Jasper Therapeutics Steelcase (SCS US) fell 4.8% Wednesday postmarket after the office products company reported revenue for the second quarter that missed the average analyst estimate Vertex Energy Inc. (VTNR US) gained 2.1% premarket after saying the planned acquisition of a refinery in Mobile, Alabama from Royal DutVTNR US Equitych Shell Plc is on schedule Synlogic (SYBX US) shares declined 9.7% premarket after it launched a stock offering launched without disclosing a size HB Fuller (FUL US) climbed 2.7% in postmarket trading after third quarter sales beat even the highest analyst estimate Europe's Stoxx 600 index rose 0.9%, lifted by carmakers, tech stocks and utilities, which helped it recover losses sparked earlier in the week by concerns about Evergrande and China’s crackdown on its property sector. The gauge held its gain after surveys of purchasing managers showed business activity in the euro area lost momentum and slowed broadly in September after demand peaked over the summer and supply-chain bottlenecks hurt services and manufacturers. Euro Area Composite PMI (September, Flash): 56.1, consensus 58.5, last 59.0. Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (September, Flash): 58.7, consensus 60.3, last 61.4. Euro Area Services PMI (September, Flash): 56.3, consensus 58.5, last 59.0. Germany Composite PMI (September, Flash): 55.3, consensus 59.2, last 60.0. France Composite PMI (September, Flash): 55.1, consensus 55.7, last 55.9. UK Composite PMI (September, Flash): 54.1, consensus 54.6, last 54.8. Commenting on Europe's PMIs, Goldman said that the Euro area composite PMI declined by 2.9pt to 56.1 in September, well below consensus expectations. The softening was broad-based across countries but primarily led by Germany. The peripheral composite flash PMI also weakened significantly in September but remain very high by historical standards (-2.4pt to 57.5). Across sectors, the September composite decline was also broad-based, with manufacturing output softening (-3.3pt to 55.6) to a similar extent as services (-2.7pt to 56.3). Supply-side issues and upward cost and price pressures continued to be widely reported. Expectations of future output growth declined by less than spot output on the back of delta variant worries and supply issues, remaining far above historically average levels. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for the first time in four sessions, as Hong Kong helped lead a rally on hopes that troubled property firm China Evergrande Group will make progress on debt repayment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.5%, with Tencent and Meituan providing the biggest boosts. The Hang Seng jumped as much as 2.5%, led by real estate stocks as Evergrande surged more than 30%. Hong Kong shares later pared their gains. Asian markets were also cheered by gains in U.S. stocks overnight even as the Federal Reserve said it may begin scaling back stimulus this year. A $17 billion net liquidity injection from the People’s Bank of China also provided a lift, while the Fed and Bank of Japan downplayed Evergrande risks in comments accompanying policy decisions Wednesday. Evergrande’s stock closed 18% higher in Hong Kong, in a delayed reaction to news a unit of the developer had negotiated interest payments on yuan notes. A coupon payment on its 2022 dollar bond is due on Thursday “Investors are perhaps reassessing the tail risk of a disorderly fallout from Evergrande’s credit issues,” said Chetan Seth, a strategist at Nomura. “However, I am not sure if the fundamental issue around its sustainable deleveraging has been addressed. I suspect markets will likely remain quite volatile until we have some definite direction from authorities on the eventual resolution of Evergrande’s debt problems.” Stocks rose in most markets, with Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and India also among the day’s big winners. South Korea’s benchmark was the lone decliner, while Japan was closed for a holiday In rates, Treasuries were off session lows, with the 10Y trading a 1.34%, but remained under pressure in early U.S. session led by intermediate sectors, where 5Y yield touched highest since July 2. Wednesday’s dramatic yield-curve flattening move unleashed by Fed communications continued, compressing 5s30s spread to 93.8bp, lowest since May 2020. UK 10-year yield climbed 3.4bp to session high 0.833% following BOE rate decision (7-2 vote to keep bond-buying target unchanged); bunds outperformed slightly. Peripheral spreads tighten with long-end Italy outperforming. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an earlier gain and dropped 0.3% as the dollar weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen amid a more positive sentiment. CAD, NOK and SEK are the strongest performers in G-10, JPY the laggard.  The euro and the pound briefly pared gains after weaker-than-forecast German and British PMIs. The pound rebounded from an eight-month low amid a return of global risk appetite as investors assessed whether the Bank of England will follow the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tone later Thursday. The yield differential between 10-year German and Italian debt narrowed to its tightest since April. Norway’s krone advanced after Norges Bank raised its policy rate in line with expectations and signaled a faster pace of tightening over the coming years. The franc whipsawed as the Swiss National Bank kept its policy rate and deposit rate at record lows, as expected, and reiterated its pledge to wage currency market interventions. The yen fell as a unit of China Evergrande said it had reached an agreement with bond holders over an interest payment, reducing demand for haven assets. Turkey’s lira slumped toa record low against the dollar after the central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates. In commodities, crude futures drifted lower after a rangebound Asia session. WTI was 0.25% lower, trading near $72; Brent dips into the red, so far holding above $76. Spot gold adds $3.5, gentle reversing Asia’s losses to trade near $1,771/oz. Base metals are well bid with LME aluminum leading gains. Bitcoin steadied just below $44,000. Looking at the day ahead, we get the weekly initial jobless claims, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for August, and the Kansas City fed’s manufacturing activity index for September. From central banks, there’ll be a monetary policy decision from the Bank of England, while the ECB will be publishing their Economic Bulletin and the ECB’s Elderson will also speak. From emerging markets, there’ll also be monetary policy decisions from the Central Bank of Turkey and the South African Reserve Bank. Finally in Germany, there’s an election debate with the lead candidates from the Bundestag parties. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,413.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.1% to 468.32 MXAP up 0.5% to 200.57 MXAPJ up 0.9% to 645.76 Nikkei down 0.7% to 29,639.40 Topix down 1.0% to 2,043.55 Hang Seng Index up 1.2% to 24,510.98 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,642.22 Sensex up 1.4% to 59,728.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.0% to 7,370.22 Kospi down 0.4% to 3,127.58 German 10Y yield fell 5.6 bps to -0.306% Euro up 0.4% to $1.1728 Brent Futures up 0.3% to $76.39/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,768.25 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.33% to 93.16 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Financial regulators in Beijing issued a broad set of instructions to China Evergrande Group, telling the embattled developer to focus on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors while avoiding a near-term default on dollar bonds China’s central bank net-injected the most short- term liquidity in eight months into the financial system, with markets roiled by concerns over China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis Europe’s worst energy crisis in decades could drag deep into the cold months as Russia is unlikely to boost shipments until at least November Business activity in the euro area “markedly” lost momentum in September after demand peaked over the summer and supply chain bottlenecks hurt both services and manufacturers. Surveys of purchasing managers by IHS Markit showed growth in both sectors slowing more than expected, bringing overall activity to a five-month low. Input costs, meanwhile, surged to the highest in 21 years, according to the report The U.K. private sector had its weakest month since the height of the winter lockdown and inflation pressures escalated in September, adding to evidence that the recovery is running into significant headwinds, IHS Markit said The U.K.’s record- breaking debut green bond sale has given debt chief Robert Stheeman conviction on the benefits of an environmental borrowing program. The 10 billion-pound ($13.7 billion) deal this week was the biggest-ever ethical bond sale and the country is already planning another offering next month A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquaw Asian equity markets traded mostly positive as the region took its cue from the gains in US with the improved global sentiment spurred by some easing of Evergrande concerns and with stocks also unfazed by the marginally more hawkish than anticipated FOMC announcement (detailed above). ASX 200 (+1.0%) was underpinned by outperformance in the commodity-related sectors and strength in defensives, which have more than atoned for the losses in tech and financials, as well as helped markets overlook the record daily COVID-19 infections in Victoria state. Hang Seng (+0.7%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.6%) were also positive after another respectable liquidity operation by the PBoC and with some relief in Evergrande shares which saw early gains of more than 30% after recent reports suggested a potential restructuring by China’s government and with the Co. Chairman noting that the top priority is to help wealth investors redeem their products, although the majority of the Evergrande gains were then pared and unit China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle fully retraced the initial double-digit advances. KOSPI (-0.5%) was the laggard as it played catch up to the recent losses on its first trading day of the week and amid concerns that COVID cases could surge following the holiday period, while Japanese markets were closed in observance of the Autumnal Equinox Day. China Pumps $17 Billion Into System Amid Evergrande Concerns China Stocks From Property to Tech Jump on Evergrande Respite Philippines Holds Key Rate to Spur Growth Amid Higher Prices Taiwan’s Trade Deal Application Sets Up Showdown With China Top Asian News European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.9%) trade on the front-foot and have extended gains since the cash open with the Stoxx 600 now higher on the week after Monday’s heavy losses. From a macro perspective, price action in Europe has been undeterred by a slowdown in Eurozone PMIs which saw the composite metric slip to 56.1 from 59.0 (exp. 58.5) with IHS Markit noting “an unwelcome combination of sharply slower economic growth and steeply rising prices.” Instead, stocks in the region have taken the cue from a firmer US and Asia-Pac handover with performance in Chinese markets aided by further liquidity injections by the PBoC. Some positivity has also been observed on the Evergrande front amid mounting expectations of a potential restructuring at the company. That said, at the time of writing, it remains unclear what the company’s intentions are for repaying its USD 83.5mln onshore coupon payment. Note, ING highlights that “missing that payment today would still leave a 30-day grace period before this is registered as a default”. The most recent reports via WSJ indicate that Chinese authorities are asking local governments to begin preparations for the potential downfall of Evergrande; however, the article highlights that this is a last resort and Beijing is reluctant to step in. Nonetheless, this article has taken the shine off the mornings risk appetite, though we do remain firmer on the session. Stateside, as the dust settles on yesterday’s FOMC announcement, futures are firmer with outperformance in the RTY (+0.8% vs. ES +0.7%). Sectors in Europe are higher across the board with outperformance in Tech and Autos with the latter aided by gains in Faurecia (+4.6%) who sit at the top of the Stoxx 600 after making an unsurprising cut to its guidance, which will at least provide some clarity on the Co.’s near-term future; in sympathy, Valeo (+6.6) is also a notable gainer in the region. To the downside, Entain (+2.6%) sit at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after recent strong gains with the latest newsflow surrounding the Co. noting that MGM Resorts is considering different methods to acquire control of the BetMGM online gambling business JV, following the DraftKings offer for Entain, according to sources. The agreement between Entain and MGM gives MGM the ability to block any deal with competing businesses; MGM officials believe this grants the leverage to take full control of BetMGM without spending much. Top European News BOE Confronts Rising Prices, Slower Growth: Decision Guide La Banque Postale Eyes Retail, Asset Management M&A in Europe Activist Bluebell Raises Pressure on Glaxo CEO Walmsley Norway Delivers Rate Lift-Off With Next Hike Set for December In FX, not much bang for the Buck even though the FOMC matched the most hawkish market expectations and Fed chair Powell arguably went further by concluding in the post-meeting press conference that substantial progress on the lagging labour front is all but done. Hence, assuming the economy remains on course, tapering could start as soon as November and be completed my the middle of 2022, though he continued to play down tightening prospects irrespective of the more hawkish trajectory implied by the latest SEP dot plots that are now skewed towards at least one hike next year and a cumulative seven over the forecast horizon. However, the Greenback only managed to grind out marginally higher highs overnight, with the index reaching 93.526 vs 93.517 at best yesterday before retreating quite sharply and quickly to 93.138 in advance of jobless claims and Markit’s flash PMIs. CAD/NZD/AUD - The Loonie is leading the comeback charge in major circles and only partially assisted by WTI keeping a firm bid mostly beyond Usd 72/brl, and Usd/Cad may remain contained within 1.2796-50 ahead of Canadian retail sales given decent option expiry interest nearby and protecting the downside (1 bn between 1.2650-65 and 2.7 bn from 1.2620-00). Meanwhile, the Kiwi has secured a firmer grip on the 0.7000 handle to test 0.7050 pre-NZ trade and the Aussie is looking much more comfortable beyond 0.7250 amidst signs of improvement in the flash PMIs, albeit with the services and composite headline indices still some way short of the 50.0 mark. NOK/GBP/EUR/CHF - All firmer, and the Norwegian Crown outperforming following confirmation of the start of rate normalisation by the Norges Bank that also underscored another 25 bp hike in December and further tightening via a loftier rate path. Eur/Nok encountered some support around 10.1000 for a while, but is now below, while the Pound has rebounded against the Dollar and Euro in the run up to the BoE at midday. Cable is back up around 1.3770 and Eur/Gbp circa 0.8580 as Eur/Usd hovers in the low 1.1700 area eyeing multiple and a couple of huge option expiries (at the 1.1700 strike in 4.1 bn, 1.1730 in 1 bn, 1.1745-55 totalling 2.7 bn and 1.8 bn from 1.1790-1.1800). Note, Eurozone and UK flash PMIs did not live up to their name, but hardly impacted. Elsewhere, the Franc is lagging either side of 0.9250 vs the Buck and 1.0835 against the Euro on the back of a dovish SNB Quarterly Review that retained a high Chf valuation and necessity to maintain NIRP, with only minor change in the ordering of the language surrounding intervention. JPY - The Yen is struggling to keep its head afloat of 110.00 vs the Greenback as Treasury yields rebound and risk sentiment remains bullish pre-Japanese CPI and in thinner trading conditions due to the Autumn Equinox holiday. In commodities, WTI and Brent have been choppy throughout the morning in-spite of the broadly constructive risk appetite. Benchmarks spent much of the morning in proximity to the unchanged mark but the most recent Evergrande developments, via WSJ, have dampened sentiment and sent WTI and Brent back into negative territory for the session and printing incremental fresh lows at the time of publication. Back to crude, newsflow has once again centred around energy ministry commentary with Iraq making clear that oil exports will continue to increase. Elsewhere, gas remains at the forefront of focus particularly in the UK/Europe but developments today have been somewhat incremental. On the subject, Citi writes that Asia and Europe Nat. Gas prices could reach USD 100/MMBtu of USD 580/BOE in the winter, under their tail-risk scenario. For metals, its very much a case of more of the same with base-metals supportive, albeit off-best given Evergrande, after a robust APAC session post-FOMC. Given the gas issues, desks highlight that some companies are being forced to suspend/reduce production of items such as steel in Asian/European markets, a narrative that could become pertinent for broader prices if the situation continues. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are both modestly firmer but remain well within the range of yesterday’s session and are yet to recovery from the pressure seen in wake of the FOMC. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 320,000, prior 332,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.6m, prior 2.67m 8:30am: Aug. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.50, prior 0.53 9:45am: Sept. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 55.4 9:45am: Sept. Markit US Services PMI, est. 54.9, prior 55.1 9:45am: Sept. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 61.0, prior 61.1 11am: Sept. Kansas City Fed Manf. Activity, est. 25, prior 29 12pm: 2Q US Household Change in Net Wor, prior $5t DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap My wife was at a parents event at school last night so I had to read three lots of bedtime stories just as the Fed were announcing their policy decision. Peppa Pig, Biff and Kipper, and somebody called Wonder Kid were interspersed with Powell’s press conference live on my phone. It’s fair to say the kids weren’t that impressed by the dot plot and just wanted to join them up. The twins (just turned 4) got their first reading book homework this week and it was a bit sad that one of them was deemed ready to have one with words whereas the other one only pictures. The latter was very upset and cried that his brother had words and he didn’t. That should create even more competitive tension! Back to the dots and yesterday’s Fed meeting was on the hawkish side in terms of the dots and also in terms of Powell’s confidence that the taper could be complete by mid-2022. Powell said that the Fed could begin tapering bond purchases as soon as the November FOMC meeting, in line with our US economists’ forecasts. He left some room for uncertainty, saying they would taper only “If the economy continues to progress broadly in line with expectations, and also the overall situation is appropriate for this.” However he made clear that “the timing and pace of the coming reduction in asset purchases will not be intended to carry a direct signal regarding the timing of interest rate liftoff.” The quarterly “dot plot” showed that the 18 FOMC officials were split on whether to start raising rates next year or not. In June, the median dot indicated no rate increases until 2023, but now 6 members see a 25bps raise next year and 3 members see two such hikes. Their inflation forecasts were also revised up and DB’s Matt Luzzetti writes in his FOMC review (link here) that “If inflation is at or below the Fed's current forecast next year of 2.3% core PCE, liftoff is likely to come in 2023, consistent with our view. However, if inflation proves to be higher with inflation expectations continuing to rise, the first rate increase could well migrate into 2022.” Markets took the overall meeting very much in its stride with the biggest impact probably being a yield curve flattening even if US 10yr Treasury yields traded in just over a 4bp range yesterday and finishing -2.2bps lower at 1.301%. The 5y30y curve flattened -6.7bps to 95.6bps, its flattest level since August 2020, while the 2y10y curve was -4.2bps flatter. So the market seems to believe the more hawkish the Fed gets the more likely they’ll control inflation and/or choke the recovery. The puzzle is that even if the dots are correct, real Fed funds should still be negative and very accommodative historically for all of the forecasting period. As such the market has a very dim view of the ability of the economy to withstand rate hikes or alternatively that the QE technicals are overpowering everything at the moment. In equities, the S&P 500 was up nearly +1.0% 15 minutes prior to the Fed, and then rallied a further 0.5% in the immediate aftermath before a late dip look it back to +0.95%. The late dip meant that the S&P still has not seen a 1% up day since July 23. The index’s rise was driven by cyclicals in particular with energy (+3.17%), semiconductors (-2.20%), and banks (+2.13%) leading the way. Asian markets are mostly trading higher this morning with the Hang Seng (+0.69%), Shanghai Comp (+0.58%), ASX (+1.03%) and India’s Nifty (+0.81%) all up. The Kospi (-0.36%) is trading lower though and is still catching up from the early week holidays. Japan’s markets are closed for a holiday today. Futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.25% while those on the Stoxx 50 are up +0.49%. There is no new news on the Evergrande debt crisis however markets participants are likely to pay attention to whether the group is able to make interest rate payment on its 5 year dollar note today after the group had said yesterday that it resolved a domestic bond coupon by negotiations which was also due today. As we highlighted in our CoTD flash poll conducted earlier this week, market participants are not too worried about a wider fallout from the Evergrande crisis and even the Hang Seng Properties index is up +3.93% this morning and is largely back at the levels before the big Monday sell-off of -6.69%. Overnight we have received flash PMIs for Australia which improved as parts of the country have eased the coronavirus restrictions. The services reading came in at 44.9 (vs. 42.9 last month) and the manufacturing print was even stronger at 57.3 (vs. 52.0 last month). Japan’s flash PMIs will be out tomorrow due to today’s holiday. Ahead of the Fed, markets had continued to rebound from their declines earlier in the week, with Europe’s STOXX 600 gaining +0.99% to narrowly put the index in positive territory for the week. This continues the theme of a relative outperformance among European equities compared to the US, with the STOXX 600 having outpaced the S&P 500 for 5 consecutive sessions now, though obviously by a slim margin yesterday. Sovereign bonds in Europe also posted gains, with yields on 10yr bunds (-0.7bps), OATs (-1.0bps) and BTPs (-3.2bps) all moving lower. Furthermore, there was another tightening in peripheral spreads, with the gap in Italian 10yr yields over bunds falling to 98.8bps yesterday, less than half a basis point away from its tightest level since early April. Moving to fiscal and with Democrats seemingly unable to pass the $3.5 trillion Biden budget plan by Monday, when the House is set to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Republican leadership is calling on their members to vote against the bipartisan bill in hopes of delaying the process further. While the there is still a high likelihood the measure will eventually get passed, time is becoming a factor. Congress now has just over a week to get a government funding bill through both chambers of congress as well as raise the debt ceiling by next month. Republicans have told Democrats to do the latter in a partisan manner and include it in the reconciliation process which could mean that a significant portion of the Biden economic agenda – mostly encapsulated in the $3.5 trillion over 10 year budget – may have to be cut down to get the entire Democratic caucus on board. Looking ahead, an event to watch out for today will be the Bank of England’s policy decision at 12:00 London time, where our economists write (link here) that they expect no change in the policy settings. However, they do expect a reaffirmation of the BoE’s updated forward guidance that some tightening will be needed over the next few years to keep inflation in check, even if it’s too early to expect a further hawkish pivot at this stage. Staying on the UK, two further energy suppliers (Avro Energy and Green Supplier) ceased trading yesterday amidst the surge in gas prices, with the two supplying 2.9% of domestic customers between them. We have actually seen a modest fall in European natural gas prices over the last couple of days, with the benchmark future down -4.81% since its close on Monday, although it’s worth noting that still leaves them up +75.90% since the start of August alone. There wasn’t much data to speak of yesterday, though US existing home sales fell to an annualised rate of 5.88 in August (vs. 5.89m expected). Separately, the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area unexpectedly rose to -4.0 in September (vs. -5.9 expected). To the day ahead now, the data highlights include the September flash PMIs from around the world, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for August, and the Kansas City fed’s manufacturing activity index for September. From central banks, there’ll be a monetary policy decision from the Bank of England, while the ECB will be publishing their Economic Bulletin and the ECB’s Elderson will also speak. From emerging markets, there’ll also be monetary policy decisions from the Central Bank of Turkey and the South African Reserve Bank. Finally in Germany, there’s an election debate with the lead candidates from the Bundestag parties. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 08:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Europeans Vaccinated With AstraZeneca Should Be Able To Enter US, Says EU

Europeans Vaccinated With AstraZeneca Should Be Able To Enter US, Says EU Authored by Lorenz Duschamps via The Epoch Times, People who have received two doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine should be able to travel to the United States once restrictions are eased, even though the vaccine hasn’t been approved yet by U.S. regulators, the European Commission (EC) said on Tuesday. “From our point of view, obviously it would make sense for people who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca to be able to travel,” Eric Mamer, a spokesperson for the EC, said during a press briefing. “We believe the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe,” Mamer added, although he also noted that the final decision remains with American authorities. The Biden administration confirmed on Sept. 20 that it will ease travel restrictions on COVID-19-vaccinated foreign visitors from November. It hasn’t been confirmed yet which vaccines will be accepted under the new requirement, or whether vaccines that haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could be accepted. The FDA has so far authorized COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, but is still reviewing the AstraZeneca shot. Thierry Breton, the European Union (EU) commissioner for the internal market, told AFP that he had a conversation on the matter with White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, who “sounded positive and optimistic,” though Zients also noted that “for the other vaccines, for AstraZeneca in particular, their health agency would decide.” EU commissioner for internal market and consumer protection, industry, research, and energy Thierry Breton speaks during a press conference following a college meeting to introduce draft legislation on a common EU COVID-19 vaccination certificate at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 17, 2021. (John Thys/Pool via Reuters) In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes the final decision on which COVID-19 vaccines will be authorized for use in the country. AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, developed in the United Kingdom by Oxford University, is approved for use in 27 EU countries, where about 70 million shots have been administered cumulatively, according to public data. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he is “delighted” the Biden administration reinstating transatlantic travel so fully vaccinated British nationals are able to visit the United States once again. “It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again,” Johnson said. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside United Nations headquarters during the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, in New York, on Sept. 20, 2021. (David ‘Dee’ Delgado/Reuters) About 18 months ago, the Trump administration announced that the United States would restrict flights from China, much of Europe, the UK, Brazil, and other countries in the nascent phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Those restrictions were intact when Biden took office in January 2021, and the White House announced in July that it would maintain the restrictions due to the Delta variant. For months, airlines and airline groups have been pushing the Biden administration to rescind the restrictions, as European and UK officials have eased entry rules for U.S. travelers. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 05:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Victor Davis Hanson: The Afghanistization Of America

Victor Davis Hanson: The Afghanistization Of America Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com, The United States should be at its pinnacle of strength. It still produces more goods and services than any other nation—China included, which has a population over four times as large. Its fuel and food industries are globally preeminent, as are its graduate science, computer, engineering, medical, and technology university programs. Its constitution is the oldest of current free nations. And the U.S. military is by far the best funded in the world. And yet something has gone terribly wrong within America, from the southern border to Afghanistan.  The inexplicable in Afghanistan—surrendering Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night, abandoning tens of billions of dollars of military equipment to the Taliban, and forsaking both trapped Americans and loyalist Afghans—has now become the new Biden model of inattention and incompetence.  Or to put it another way, when we seek to implant our culture abroad, do we instead come to emulate what we are trying to change? COVID Chaos Take COVID-19. Joe Biden in 2020 (along with Kamala Harris) trashed Trump’s impending Operation Warp Speed vaccinations. Then, after inauguration, Biden falsely claimed no one had been vaccinated until his ascension (in fact, 1million a day were being vaccinated before he assumed office). Then again, Biden claimed ad nauseam that he didn’t believe in mandates to force the new and largely experimental vaccinations on the public. Then, once more, he promised that they were so effective and so many Americans had received vaccines that by July 4 the country would return to a virtual pre-COVID normality.  Then came the delta variant and his self-created disaster in Afghanistan.  To divert his attention away from the Afghan morass, Biden weirdly focused on an equally confused new presidential COVID-19 mandate, seeking to subject federal employees, soldiers, and employees of larger firms to mandatory vaccinations—right as the contagious delta variant seemed to be slowly tapering off, given the millions who have either been vaxxed, have developed natural immunity, or both. Consider other paradoxes. American citizens must be vaccinated, but not the forecasted 2 million noncitizens expected to cross the southern border illegally into the United States over the current fiscal year. Soldiers who bravely helped more than 100,000 Afghan refugees escape must be vaccinated, but not the unvetted foreign nationals from a premodern country? Scientists now are convinced naturally acquired COVID-19 immunity from a previous infection likely provides longer and better protection than does any of the current vaccinations.  Yet those who suffered COVID-19, and now have antibodies and other natural defenses, must likewise be vaccinated. That anomaly raises the obvious logical absurdities: will those with vaccinations—in reciprocal fashion—be forced to be exposed to the virus to obtain additional and superior natural immunity, given the Biden logic of the need for both acquired and vaccinated immunity?  Tribal Lands  We have Afghanistanized the border as well, turning the United States into a pre-state whose badlands borders are absolutely porous and fluid. There is no audit of newcomers, no vaccinations required, no COVID-19 tests—none of the requirements that millions of citizens must meet either entering the United States or working at their jobs. Our Bagram abandonment is matched by abruptly abandoning the border wall in mid-course.  Yet where the barrier exists, there is some order; where Joe Biden abandoned the wall, there is a veritable stampede of illegal migration.  October 7, 2019. Mark Wilson/Getty Images Coups, Juntas and Such Third-World countries suffer military coups when unelected top brass and caudillos often insidiously take control of the country’s governance in slow-motion fashion. The latest Bob Woodward “I heard,” “they say,” and “sources reveal” mythography now claims that General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, discussed separating an elected commander-in-chief from control of the military. Woodward and co-author Robert Costa also assert that Milley promised his Chinese Communist military counterpart that he would tip off the People’s Liberation Army of any planned U.S. aggressive action—an odd paranoia when Donald Trump, of the last five presidents, has proved the most reluctant to send U.S. troops into harm’s way.  If that bizarre assertion is true, Milley himself might have essentially risked starting a war by eroding U.S. deterrence in apprising an enemy of perceived internal instability inside the executive branch, and the lack of a unified command. (So, Woodward wrote: “‘General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable, and everything is going to be okay,’ Milley said. ‘We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.’ Milley then added, ‘If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.’”) More germanely, when Milley called in senior officers and laid down his own operational directives concerning nuclear weapons, he was clearly violating the law as established and strengthened in 1947, 1953, and 1986 that clearly states the Joint Chiefs are advisors to the president and are not in the chain of command and are to be bypassed, at least operationally, by the president. The commander in chief sets policy. And if it requires the use of force, he directs the secretary of defense to relay presidential orders to the relevant theater commanders. Milley had no authority to discuss changing nuclear procedures, much less to convey a smear to an enemy that his commander in chief was non compos mentis. Milley has been reduced to a caricature of a caricature right out of “Dr. Strangelove”—and is himself a danger to national security. After Milley’s summer 2020 virtue-signaling “apology” for alleged presidential photo-op misbehavior (found to be completely false by the interior department’s inspector general); after leaked news reports that Milley considered resignation (promises, promises) to signal his anger at Trump in summer 2020; after his dismissal of the 120 days of rioting, 28 deaths, 14,000 arrests, and $2 billion in damage as mere “penny packet protests”; after his “white rage” blathering before Congress; after the collapse of the U.S. military command in Kabul; and after his premature and hasty assessment of a U.S. drone strike that killed 10 innocent civilians as “righteous,” Woodward’s sensationalism may not sound as impossible as his usual fare.  Milley should either deny the Woodward charges and demand a real apology or resign immediately. He has violated the law governing the chain of command, misused his office of chairman of the Joint Chiefs, politicized the military, proved inept in his military judgment and advice, and may well have committed a felony in revealing to a hostile military leader that the United States was, in his opinion, in a crisis mode.  Yet, Milley did not act in isolation. Where did this low-bar Pentagon coup talk originate? And who are those responsible for creating a culture in which unelected current and retired military officers, sworn to uphold the constitutional order and the law of civilian control of the military, believe that they can arbitrarily declare an elected president either incompetent or criminal—and thus subject to their own renegade sort of freelancing justice? As a footnote, remember that after little more than a week of the Trump presidency, Rosa Brooks, an Obama-era Pentagon appointee, published in Foreign Policy various ways to remove the newly inaugurated president. Among those mentioned was a military coup, in which top officers were to collude to obstruct a presidential order, on the basis of their own perceptions of a lack of presidential rectitude or competence.  We note additionally that over a dozen high-ranking retired generals and admirals have serially violated the uniform code of military justice in demonizing publicly their commander in chief with the worst sort of smears and slanders. And they have done so with complete exemption and in mockery of the very code they have sworn to abide.  Two retired army officers, colonels John Nagl and Paul Yingling, on the eve of the 2020 election, urged Milley to order U.S. army forces to remove Trump from office if in their opinion he obstructed the results of the election—superseding in effect a president’s elected powers as well as those constitutional checks and balances of the legislative and judicial branches upon him.  We know that these were all partisan and not principled concerns about an alleged non compos mentis president, because none of these same outspoken “Seven Days in May” generals have similarly violated the military code by negatively commenting publicly on the current dangerous cognitive decline of Joe Biden and the real national security dangers of his impairment, as evidenced by the disastrous skedaddle from Afghanistan and often inability to speak coherently or remember key names and places. In short, is our new freelancing and partisan military also in the process of becoming Afghanized—too many of its leadership electively appealing to pseudo-higher principles to contextualize violating the Constitution of the United States and, sadly, too many trying to reflect the general woke landscape of the corporate board to which so many have retired? Like tribal warlords, our top brass simply do as they please, and then message to us “so what are you going to do about it?” Achin, Afghanistan, 2011. John Moore/Getty Images The Constitution as Construct How paradoxical that the United States has sent teams of constitutional specialists to Iraq and Afghanistan to help tribal societies to draft legal, ordered, and sustainable Western consensual government charters that are not subject to the whims of particular tribes and parties. Yet America itself is descending in the exact opposite direction.  Suddenly in 2021 America, if ancient consensual rules, customs, and constitutional mandates do not facilitate and advance the progressive project, then by all means they must end—by a mere one vote in the Senate. It is as if the centuries of our history, the Constitution, and the logic of the founders were analogous to a shouting match among a squabbling Taliban tribal council of elders. Junk the 233-year-old Electoral College and the constitutional directive to the states to assume primary responsibilities in establishing voting procedures in national elections. End the 180-year-old Senate filibuster. Do away with the now bothersome 150-year nine-justice Supreme Court. And scrap the 60-year-old tradition of a 50-state union.   Impeachment was intended by the founders as a rare reset of the executive branch in extremis. Now it is to be a pro formaattack on the president in his first term by the opposite party as soon as it gains control of the House—without a special counsel, without witnesses and cross-examinations, without any specific high crimes and misdemeanors or bribery and treason charges. And why not from now on impeach a president twice within a year—or try him in the Senate when he is out of office as a private citizen?  When private citizen Joe Biden is retired from the presidency, will his political enemies dig up his sketchy IRS records alleging that he never paid income taxes on the “big guy’s” “10 percent” of the income from the Hunter Biden money machine? American Tribes  We may think virtue-signaling pride flags, gender studies, and George Floyd murals in Kabul remind the world of our postmodern sophistication. Yet, in truth, we are becoming far more like Afghanistan in the current tribalization of America—where tribal, racial, and ethnic loyalties are now essential to an American’s primary identity and loyalty—than we were ever able to make Afghanistan like us. When we read leftist heartthrob Ibram X. Kendi’s endorsement of overt racial discrimination or academic and media obsessions with a supposed near-satanic “whiteness,” or the current fixations on skin color and first loyalties to those who share superficial racial affinities, then we are not much different from the Afghan tribalists. We in America apparently have decided the warring badlands of the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks have their advantages over a racially blind, consensual republic. They are the model to us, not us of the now-discredited melting pot to them. How sad in our blinkered arrogance that we go across the globe to the tribal Third World to teach the impoverished a supposedly preferrable culture and politics, while at home we are doing our best to become a Third-World country of incompetency, constitutional erosion, a fractious and politicized military elite, and racially and ethnically obsessed warring tribes.  Tyler Durden Mon, 09/20/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

"This Is Completely Avoidable" - New York Hospitals Prepare For Staffing Crisis As Vaccination Mandate Forces Mass Firings

"This Is Completely Avoidable" - New York Hospitals Prepare For Staffing Crisis As Vaccination Mandate Forces Mass Firings With President Biden's federal vaccine mandate set to take effect on Monday, health-care systems around the country are suspending elective in-patient surgeries and refusing to accept ICU patients from other hospitals as they brace for potentially hundreds of firings of nurses and other critical staffers, potentially even doctors. According to the NYT, the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo is planning to do all that and more, as it says it may soon fire about 400 employees who have chosen not to get the single job required by the edict (which was pushed through despite being blocked by a federal judge). Similarly, officials at Northwell Health, the state's largest health-care provider, estimate that NWH might be forced to fire thousands of people who have refused to get vaccinated. In an economy with more job openings than workers - 2.2MM more, to be exact - forcing workers to choose between employment and their health or religious compunctions simply isn't a smart idea. Without even a hint of self-awareness, the governor apparently agrees: "What is looming for Monday is completely avoidable, and there’s no excuses,” Ms. Hochul said, pleading for those who have not done so to get vaccinated," Hochul said during a weekend press briefing. But we digress. The situation is less dire in NYC, but there will still be plenty of hospitals left with massive staffing holes after mass-firings. The city's largest private hospital network, NewYork-Presbyterian, has more than 200 employees who may face termination because they haven't received at least one jab. Of course, as we have pointed out in recent posts, health-care workers are only a fraction of the worker who will be impacted by shortages across the economy. In California, nurse shortages have reached crisis levels in California, airlines are seeing flights frequently cancelled due to worker shortages. As of late September, 84% of NY's 450,000 hospital workers and 83% of nursing home workers - which number around 45,400 - remained unvaccinated.  Despite being directly threatened by their superiors, most say they're refusing the jab on religious or health grounds, or because they're allergic to certain ingredients. In an effort to scare workers into compliance, NY Gov. Kathy Hochul has threatened to find "foreign workers" to staff the Empire state's hospitals and care homes (despite the fact that vaccination rates are much lower in most of the world outside the US). She has also threatened to call in the National Guard or order a state of emergency in a plan unveiled over the weekend. NY's teachers are also facing a mandate to either get vaccinated or kiss their jobs goodbye. Roughly 10,000 public school workers, that's compared to 75K teachers and tens of thousands of other employees from custodians to paraprofessioanls. Circling back to hospitals and care homes, institutions like Northwell are being relatively parsimonious with their exemptions for religious and health reasons, But some are getting through . NY's emergency order doesn't stipulate how exactly hospitals and nursing homes should enforce it, and there's a good chance that hospitals serving communities in greater need will be forced to make exceptions. Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have gotten the jab in far lower numbers than white new Yorkers. The NYT points out in its story that some hospitals in the Bronx see unvaccinated rates among doctors and nurses reaching into double-digit territory. At St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, about 12 percent of the nearly 3,000 employees had not been vaccinated as of midday on Friday, the chief medical officer, Eric Appelbaum, said in an interview. The group includes roughly 3 important doctors, and plenty of badly eed studiws Anecdotally hospitals are reporting a surge in vaccinations among hospital workers who haven't yet been vaccinated. But who knows what to believe. All we know is that we wouldn't want to be having an elective surgery or delivering a baby in NY right now. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt4 hr. 35 min. ago

As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director"s Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters "Available To Anyone Who Wants One"

As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director's Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters 'Available To Anyone Who Wants One' Now that CDC chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky - possibly working on behalf of her political puppet masters - has overridden her agency's advisory panel to expand the eligibility for Pfizer booster jabs to high-risk workers (a group that ACIP, the advisory panel, had decided to exclude given a paucity of efficacy and safety data), many employers are confused about whether the new guidance applies to them - and whether they might be left in a difficult situation with employees who didn't get the first two vaccines. At the end of the day, the big worry is that hundreds of thousands of shots allocated for workers might simply go unused, left to expire while dozens of poorer countries would be overjoyed to have them. According to the Hill, chaotic and at times contradictory messaging from federal health officials has culminated in a confusing set of recommendations about who should, and shouldn't receive booster jabs, and why? Panel members initially said they had excluded approving jabs on an employment basis because there wasn't enough evidence those people were losing protection. That decision was clearly a disappointment to the Biden Administration, which is possibly why Dr. Walensky interceded. The depth of Dr. Walsensky's contradiction of the science can be found in the exact wording of her decree: Starting immediately, anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 who is at increased risk of COVID-19 "exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting" can get a third dose. Legal experts told the Hill that those words are so vague, practically anyone could qualify. Already, many local level officials appear to be leaning toward simply giving boosters to anyone who asks. "There's going to be confusion. If we are going to create guidelines that are essentially making the vaccine available to almost everyone, the simplest solution is, make it available to everyone," said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at NYU and Bellevue Hospital. "The best public health programs are the ones that are simple and easy to understand and clear, and the more complexity you build into it, the more difficult it is to roll out." That statement above about not creating obstacles to the third shot - that's coming from a scientist who doubted whether they were even necessary. Gounder, who advised the Biden transition team on COVID-19, has been critical of the administration's fervent push for boosters, and said the evidence for a third dose based on occupation was mixed at best. "You have to step back and ask the question, why is it that we're vaccinating people in high risk settings? Is it because they as individuals are at high risk, or is it because it would be disruptive to the workplace," Gounder said. As far as the dramatic conclusion to what was supposed to be a 'staid' scientific process - the CDC director overruling her advisory panel on the issue of occupancy-based eligibility in a late night statement - that should be enough to alert Americans that something strange is happening. Despite the panel's claims, Dr. Walensky took to the White House press briefing on Friday to claim that she did not "overrule" the advisory committee and that she had listened to both sides on the issue of whether to approve boosters by occupational risk. Amusingly, the assiduously pro-Democratic the Washington Post was willing to dismiss this usurpation of "the science" as simply another communications breakdown from the doddering Dems. “Everyone is kind of confused,” he said. The current discontent has deep roots. In April, Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said a third coronavirus dose was “likely” to be needed. In late July, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that their vaccine’s efficacy waned over time. Data from Israel confirmed a drop. Then, last month, as the delta variant of the coronavirus surged and the World Health Organization decried the distribution of third shots in wealthy countries while poor countries were lacking first doses, President Biden announced that most Americans could begin getting boosters of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines Sept. 20 — subject to the government’s regulatory processes, which unfolded in recent days and focused only on Pfizer. Regulators already allowed third shots for the immunocompromised who have received Pfizer or Moderna shots but have not yet made recommendations for all recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The deluge of phone calls about booster shots to Primary Health clinics in Southwestern Idaho began weeks ago. On Friday morning, the group’s Garden City clinic, where Maddie Morris fields inquiries, saw an increase in calls, mostly from senior citizens. “The calls seem pretty nonstop,” the customer service representative said. “It seems like a lot of people are anxious to get a booster.” Doctors say confusion clouds patients’ willingness to receive boosters. In Idaho, the problem coincides with the primary health-care system’s struggle to meet the demands of the latest covid-19 crush, which earlier this month plunged the state into crisis standards of care — essentially the rationing of health care as demand overwhelms resources. Unfortunately for them, it looks like the whole thing is back-firing... Maybe they'll think twice next time around (though we doubt it, since 'next time' is literally happening in the coming weeks when they do this all again with Moderna). Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 13:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt11 hr. 7 min. ago

New York won"t extend unemployment benefits to healthcare workers fired over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The state's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers goes into effect on Monday, potentially causing staffing shortages at some healthcare facilities as thousands of people are not eligible to work. Clinicians work on intubating a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital in Lake Charles, Louisiana on August 10, 2021. Mario Tama/Getty Images New York will not extend unemployment benefits to most unvaccinated healthcare workers who are fired over the vaccine mandate. The mandate goes into effect Monday, making it necessary for healthcare workers in New York to be vaccinated against COVID-19. New York Governor Kathy Hochul is ready to call in the National Guard in case of shortages of healthcare workers caused by the mandate. See more stories on Insider's business page. Healthcare workers who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine and are fired for failing to comply with a new state law will not be able to collect unemployment benefits unless they present a doctor-approved request for medical accommodation, according to the New York Department of Labor.New York's new vaccine mandate, which goes into effect Monday, makes it necessary for workers in New York's hospitals and nursing homes to have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Employees working at in home care, hospice, and adult care facilities need to be vaccinated by October 7. The mandate also applies to all out-of-state and contract medical staff who practice in New York."Workers in a healthcare facility, nursing home, or school who voluntarily quit or are terminated for refusing an employer-mandated vaccination" are not eligible for unemployment insurance because the employer has a "compelling interest" for its employees to be vaccinated, according to the New York Department of Labor website.New York Governor Kathy Hochul has said she is prepared to call in medically trained National Guard members and workers outside New York to aid with a potential shortage of healthcare workers once the mandate takes effect and some people are no longer eligible to come to work.As of Wednesday, 84% of healthcare workers in New York were fully vaccinated against coronavirus. As of Thursday, 81% of staff at all adult care facilities and 77% of all staff at nursing home facilities in New York State were fully vaccinated.The mandate comes at a time where many US hospitals are experiencing staffing shortages. With an influx of patients because of the Delta variant and fewer nurses due to burnout and difficult working conditions, many healthcare facilities are understaffed. However, a nursing shortage has been looming for years, only accelerated by the pandemic as fear of contracting COVID-19 worsened working conditions. Hochul can declare a state of emergency to allow health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired, and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York. "I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities," Hochul said in a statement. "I commend all of the health care workers who have stepped up to get themselves vaccinated, and I urge all remaining health care workers who are unvaccinated to do so now so they can continue providing care."Expanded Coverage Module: The coronavirus pandemicRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider13 hr. 51 min. ago

Can Consumer Discretionary ETFs Make Good Bets for Q4?

The recovering U.S. economy and progress in coronavirus vaccine rollout are expected to increasingly drive investors toward the consumer discretionary sector. Wall Street is seeing some strength amid September’s dull performance so far. The easing of China’s property market-related tensions and the absence of any hint on an immediate move to taper the bond purchasing program and keeping the benchmark interest rates unchanged have been supporting the market rally.Investors are still on the edge with concerns over the rising inflationary levels, possibilities of a tax hike and spike in coronavirus cases. Amid the current market environment, investors looking to rake in some good returns can consider the consumer discretionary sector.The U.S. consumer sentiment marginally improved despite the rising concerns about the surging coronavirus cases and the rising inflationary levels. The University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment inched up to 71 in September from 70.3 last month, per a BloombergQuint article.The strength in consumer sentiment can be the major driving force behind the solid performance by the consumer discretionary space as consumers are expected to splurge this holiday season after being restricted for more than a year.The latest retail sales data has surprised investors pleasantly. The metric inched up 0.7% sequentially in August 2021 against market expectations of a 0.8% decline, per a CNBC article. Online retail sales rose 5.3% last month after dropping 4.6% in July, per the Reuters article. There was an increase in clothing sales as well as that of building material and furniture in the previous month.According to Mastercard SpendingPulse,  U.S. retail sales — excluding automotive and gas — for the “75 Days of Christmas” spanning from Oct 11 to Dec 24 are anticipated to increase 6.8% from the year-earlier tally.The progress in coronavirus vaccine rollout is presenting a strong case in favor of a faster return to normalcy and economic recovery. The FDA has approved emergency use of a booster dose of the Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and BioNTech SE (BNTX) COVID-19 vaccine. President Joe Biden has also outlined a very effective plan to accelerate the vaccination rate and control the coronavirus outbreak. He has made it mandatory for federal employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination, per a CNBC article. The Biden government will also issue guidelines to the Labor Department for imposing vaccine mandates for employers with more than 100 employees or run weekly tests.The United States will likely relax travel restrictions for international visitors who are vaccinated against COVID-19 in November, including those from the U.K. and EU, the White House said recently, per a CNBC article. Foreigners visiting the United States will have to present a vaccination proof and a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure.  The latest White House announcement came post the peak summer travel season, which signals at strong holiday travel demand.Notably, a number of restaurants and retailers that have resumed business after restrictions were relaxed in the United States should see some accelerated demand and footfall. Also, the leisure and entertainment space should see a rebound as casinos and amusement parks have started welcoming visitors.ETFs to ConsiderAlong with the other favorable factors as mentioned above, the moderate improvement in consumer sentiment is likely to boost the consumer discretionary sector. Below, we have highlighted the four most popular ones that target the broader consumer discretionary sector (see all Consumer Discretionary ETFs):The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund XLYThis is the largest and most popular product in the consumer discretionary space, with AUM of $20.08 billion. It tracks the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector Index. The fund charges 12 basis points (bps) in fees per year and carries a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy), with a Medium-risk outlook (read: Will ETFs Gain as US Consumer Sentiment Improves in September?).Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF VCRThis fund currently follows the MSCI US Investable Market Consumer Discretionary 25/50 Index. VCR charges investors 10 bps in annual fees. The product has managed $6.54 billion in its asset base and carries a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy), with a Medium-risk outlook (read: ETF Areas to Gain From the Upcoming Holiday Shopping Season).First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX Fund FXDThis fund tracks the StrataQuant Consumer Discretionary Index, which employs the AlphaDEX stock-selection methodology to select stocks from the Russell 1000 Index. FXD has AUM of $1.97 billion. It charges 63 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold), with a Medium-risk outlook.Fidelity MSCI Consumer Discretionary Index ETF FDISThis fund tracks the MSCI USA IMI Consumer Discretionary Index. The product has amassed $1.60 billion in its asset base. It charges 8 bps in annual fees from investors and carries a Zacks ETF Rank #2, with a Medium-risk outlook. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (VCR): ETF Research Reports Fidelity MSCI Consumer Discretionary Index ETF (FDIS): ETF Research Reports First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX ETF (FXD): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacks15 hr. 51 min. ago