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International Market Update
- European stocks closed higher on Monday as investors closely watched developments around the omicron covid variant and bitcoin volatility. The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended higher by around 1.4%, with stocks in the travel and leisure sector leading the gains with a rise of more than 4.1%. Nearly all sectors and major bourses closed in positive territory. On the data front in Europe, German industrial orders fell 6.9% month-on-month in October, well below the consensus forecast of a 0.5% decline, as weak foreign demand weighed heavily.
- U.S. stocks rebounded early in the week on Monday, with the Dow erasing its losses from the prior week as investors shook off fears over the emerging threat of the Covid Omicron variant. Stocks linked to the revival of the economy rallied, boosting sentiment in the Dow. General Electric and Boeing each gained more than 3%. Chevron climbed 1.5%, and Caterpillar gained 1.7%. Leisure and hospitality stocks posted the biggest gains. Those moves followed comments White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that the initial data on the Omicron variety was “encouraging.”
- Asia-Pacific stocks jumped this morning, recovering from Monday’s losses as Wall Street rallied on optimism that the risk of the Omicron variation is not as great as feared. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.29% as casino and property stocks gained. Some technology stocks also recovered slightly from the previous session. Tencent rose 1.43%, and Alibaba jumped more than 8% after losing nearly 6% on Monday.
In International news
Evergrande shares slump on renewed default fears
Fears about the future of Chinese property giant Evergrande Group have resurfaced after news that the company could default on its latest debt repayment. Shares in the company, whose crisis has gripped the entire property and banking sectors, plunged as much as 20% on Monday to hit a record low. In a statement over the weekend, Evergrande said it could not guarantee to “meet its financial obligations.” The company has £300bn (£226bn) of liabilities, including to firms outside China. There have been reports that the property firm’s billionaire founder, Hui Ka Yan, has been summoned by Chinese officials to explain the current situation.
US boss lays off 900 staff over zoom
The boss of a US company has come under fire after he sacked around 900 of his staff over a single Zoom call. “If you are on this call, you are part of the unfortunate group that is being fired,” Vishal Garg, chief executive of mortgage company Better.com, said in the call, which was later uploaded to social media. Comments on social media said it was “cold”, “harsh” and “a terrible move”, especially in the run-up to Christmas. “The last time I did this I cried,” Mr Garg told staff in the phone-in. “I wish the news was different. I wish we were doing well,” he said. This time his tone was measured and he referred to the notes on the desk in front of him. Mr. Garg said employee performance and productivity and market changes were the reason for the mass layoff of what he said was 15% of Better.com’s workforce. He did not mention the $750m (£565m) cash injection Better.com received from investors last week.