Pharmaceutical giant has been forced to pay $3.5bn in settlements so far to resolve cancer cases
The troubled National Health Service now has 6.6-million patients waiting to see GPs, get scans or have operations
They hope the magic mushroom sector can avoid the mistakes made when marijuana became legal
US equity futures gained on Monday, while Asian stocks were mixed in thin trading as investors mulled the effects of the Omicron variant on the global recovery. Shares of China Evergrande Group were suspended in Hong Kong.
S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 contracts advanced at the start of the new year, with major markets including Australia, Japan and China all shut for holidays. Equities rallied in South Korea and Taiwan, but fell in Hong Kong, where trading in Evergrande shares was halted with no reason given, and developer and technology sectors led declines.
There was “a positive set-up into 2022 with Fed and Covid-19 headwinds to ease, and China policy tailwinds”, JPMorgan Chase strategists led by Mixo Das in Hong Kong, wrote in a report on Sunday. “Overall, our economists see less disruption to economic activity and above trend global growth this quarter, particularly in Asia. In terms of Fed tightening, the moment of peak disruption for markets may also be passing.”
All eyes are on the Omicron variant of Covid-19, which is spreading rapidly but also appears to be less severe than some earlier variants based on the rate of hospitalisation. The trajectory of policy by the Federal Reserve and other central banks are also in focus for 2022, particularly as inflation continues to present a challenge. Many strategists are predicting more volatility in the year ahead as the path forward becomes less clear.
2021 “was simply a period of ‘risk on’”, Jefferies strategists led by Sean Darby wrote in a note. “Peering into 2022, we expect volatility to rise, meaning that the return per unit of risk comes to the forefront.”
Oil edged higher as Libyan output fell before an OPEC+ meeting on Tuesday to discuss production policy.
These are some of the main moves in markets:
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