Morning Brief: Top Stories Dominating Financial Media on Monday, March 21


Health Experts Forecast Increase In COVID-19 Cases In US Amid New Omicron Subvariant

  • U.S. health experts warn that an emerging, highly contagious COVID-19 omicron variant, BA.2, could soon increase domestic coronavirus cases.
  • White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said on ABC's "This Week" that BA.2 is about 50% to 60% more transmissible than omicron, but it does not appear to be more severe.

New Week New Limit Down On LME, Benchmark Nickel Price Down 15%

  • Nickel prices continued their decline on Monday, with the benchmark three-month contract falling 15% to hit another new trading limit.
  • The price hit $31,380 a metric ton as it opened for trade on the London Metal Exchange, the report cited Refinitiv data. On Friday, the price had hit $36,915 a metric ton.


London Stock Exchange To Sell BETA+ Platform For $1.1B

  • The London Stock Exchange Group has agreed to divest BETA, Maxit, and Digital Investor (collectively BETA+) to affiliates of Clearlake Capital Group L.P and Motive Partners for total cash consideration of $1.10 billion, before tax and separation costs.
  • LSEG expects to close the deal in 2H22. LSEG plans to return a significant proportion of the net proceeds to shareholders via a buyback.

Shanghai Shuts Disneyland Amid Rise In COVID-19 Cases

  • Shanghai, China's financial capital, has shut down The Walt Disney Co DIS Disneyland amusement park due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, Reuters reported.
  • The resort has been closed until further notice. The city has also closed its shutters on schools and ramped up testing.
  • "When it comes to the entire situation of epidemic control and prevention that we are facing, it is very complex and serious, and it is also a very big test for us," the report quoted city health official Wu Jinglei.

China Favors The West Amid Ukraine-Russia Crisis

  • Based on trade flows alone, Beijing has a lot at stake following U.S. President Joe Biden's nearly two-hour video call with the Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, with the White House confirming that sanctions on China were an option.
  • China's economic interests remain tilted towards Western democracies, despite growing trade ties to Southeast Asia and an economy less dependent on trade over the past decade.


Canadian Pacific Railway Work Stoppage To Risk Supply-Chain: WSJ

  • Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd CP trains were halted Sunday morning, stalling global shipments of essential manufactured goods and commodities such as fertilizers, after an impasse in contract negotiations between the company and its conductors and engineers.
  • WSJ noted that the Canadian Pacific and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference disagreed over what triggered the breakdown in talks.
  • Since September, the railway has been in negotiations and mediation with the union, seeking increased wage and pension benefits and more rest times.

Nielsen Rejects $9B Takeover Offer From Private Equity, Shares Drop

  • Nielsen Holdings PLC NLSN abandoned a takeover offer from a private equity consortium, saying it significantly undervalued the company.
  • The offer price of $25.40 per share, roughly $9 billion, compares to Nielsen's March 18 closing price of $24.44.
  • Nielsen looked to commence share buyback under its previously approved $1 billion authorization.

Financial times

ASML Chief Warns Critical Equipment Crisis Is Dampening Chipmakers' Ambitious Expansion Plans

  • ASML Holding NV ASML CEO Peter Wennink warned about the critical equipment crisis as the supply chains struggled to drive production.
  • Wennink saw the crisis impeding chipmakers' multibillion-dollar expansion plans over the next two years.
  • Intel Corp INTC CEO Pat Gelsinger acknowledged that the crisis posed a challenge for the company's expansion plans.

US Banks Suffer As IPO Pipeline Dries Up Due to Volatile Markets

  • The leading U.S. investment banks Morgan Stanley MS, JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM, Bank of America Corp BAC, Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS, and Citigroup Inc C took a $4.6 billion revenue hit from the IPO freeze due to the recent market volatility, the Financial Times reports.
  • There was not a single IPO between February 17 and March 14 in a year that expected Reddit, Instacart, and Stripe to launch their IPOs.


Boeing 737 Passenger Jet Of China Eastern Airlines Crashes With 132 On Board

  • A China Eastern Airlines Corp. CEA Boeing Co. BA 737-800NG plane carrying 132 people crashed in China's southwestern province of Guangxi.
  • According to FlightRadar24, China Eastern flight MU5735 was seen on the radar tracking descending steeply.
  • The Civil Aviation Administration of China confirmed the crash and said 123 passengers and nine crew members were on board.


Why Is BlackBerry Attracting High Interest From Retail Investors Today?

  • BlackBerry Limited BB said on Sunday that 13 channel partners, including distributors and value-added integrators, will offer its Jarvis 2.0 testing tool to companies in the Asia Pacific region.
  • The partners — which include several firms based in South Korea, Japan, China, and India — span sectors such as transportation, medical equipment, and manufacturing, according to a BlackBerry statement.

Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum Classic Shoot For The Moon: Are People On The Hunt For 'Cheaper Alternatives' To The Big 2 Cryptos?

  • Bitcoin Gold (BTG) and Ethereum Classic ETC, which are often considered cheaper Bitcoin BTC and Ethereum ETH alternatives, are soaring today.
  • ETC traded 8.8% higher at $37.71 over 24 hours, while BTG spiked 20.9% to $38.44 in the same time frame.
  • Bitcoin was seen trending on CoinMarketCap at press time. Another Bitcoin knockoff, Bitcoin SV (BSV), was trending on Stocktwits. At press time, Ethereum Classic dominated the chart of trending tickers kept by Stocktwits.

Thoma Bravo To Snap Anaplan At 31% Premium

  • Thoma Bravo agreed to acquire cloud-native platform provider Anaplan Inc PLAN for an all-cash transaction of $10.7 billion.
  • The purchase price of $66 per share implies a premium of 30.5% to Anaplan's March 18 closing price of $50.59.
  • Anaplan will become a privately held company after the transaction.

ApeCoin To Be Accepted Soon For Digital Subscriptions By This Nearly 100-Year-Old News Publisher

  • News magazine and website Time Magazine said it would start accepting the newly launched Ethereum ETH-based cryptocurrency ApeCoin APE/USD for digital subscriptions in the coming weeks.
  • Time Magazine, which was founded in 1923, announced the move Sunday on Twitter.
  • ApeCoin is a token launched on Thursday by decentralized organization ApeDAO that will be used for culture, gaming, and commerce to build out the company's Web3 efforts.

Volkswagen China Strikes Deal To Secure Nickel, Cobalt Supplies For Making EV Batteries

  • Volkswagen Group VWAGY said on Monday its China subsidiary would set up two joint ventures with Huayou Cobalt and Tsingshan Group to secure nickel and cobalt for making electric-vehicle batteries.
  • The joint ventures will be both upstream and downstream to ensure end-to-end cathode supply chain needs and lower battery-making costs by 30% to 50% in the long term, the company said.
  • The joint venture with Huayou will focus on the downstream operation for refining nickel and cobalt sulfates.

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Antibody Neutralizes Omicron Sub-variants, Lab Study Shows

  • AstraZeneca Plc's AZN antibody-based cocktail to prevent and treat COVID-19 retained neutralizing activity against Omicron coronavirus variants, including the highly contagious BA.2 sub-variant, in an independent lab study.
  • This is the first data looking at AstraZeneca's Evusheld treatment on the Omicron variant following a recent global spike in cases.

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