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Asian shares surge as Russia-Ukraine talks buoy sentiment By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A customer hands over Russian rouble banknotes and coins to a vendor at a market in Omsk, Russia February 18, 2022. REUTERS/Alexey Malgavko

By Stella Qiu and Alun John

BEIJING (Reuters) – Asian shares surged on Thursday, tracking Wall Street’s gains as planned diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine buoyed sentiment, although analysts warned the rally could be susceptible to a sharp reversal as risks remain.

Oil prices also regained some footing, having fallen more than 12% on the previous session as United Arab Emirates pledged to support hiking oil output to ease mayhem in energy markets.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1.6% in early trade. surged 3.4% while Australian shares were up 1%.

Chinese blue chips rose 1.96% while Hong Kong’s rallied 1.8%.

“Comments out of Russia and Ukraine are leading to some hope that compromise is possible,” said Ray Attrill, Head of FX Strategy at National Australia Bank (OTC:) in a note on Thursday.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Turkey ahead of planned talks on Thursday with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba for what will be the first meeting between the two since Russia invaded Ukraine two weeks ago.

Attrill added Ukraine’s accusation of Russia bombing a hospital in the city of Mariupol and fears of radiation leaks at Ukraine nuclear sites could risk further retaliation from Western nations.

ticked up 1.37% to $110.19 a barrel, while rose 2% to $113.2 per barrel.

European Union leaders will phase out buying Russian oil, gas and coal, a draft declaration showed on Thursday, as the bloc seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian sources of energy.

The United States banned oil and gas imports from Russia on Tuesday, while Britain said it would phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

Higher energy prices will reinforce expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by 25 basis points at its policy meeting next week to tame runaway inflation.

Data due later on Thursday is expected to show U.S. consumer inflation racing at a 7.9% annualised clip, according to a Reuters poll.

“From a central bank perspective, the war in Ukraine is likely to lead to further upward pressure on consumer price inflation that could result in a supply side shock,” said David Chao, Hong Kong-based global market strategist at Invesco.

“U.S. equities could be in a holding pattern with higher levels of volatility as investors assess the impact of the Ukraine conflict on inflation and possible Fed actions.”

U.S. stocks surged overnight, led by financial and tech shares. The added 3.59% while the rose 2%.

Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) said on Wednesday its board approved a 20-for-1 split of the e-commerce giant’s common stock and authorised a $10 billion buyback plan, sending the company’s shares up 7% in extended trading.

In currency markets, the euro was trading at $1.1047 after jumping 1.6% on Wednesday, its best day since June 2016, along with gains in European stocks and a sell off in bonds, while the safe haven yen, slipped to a one-month low of 116 per dollar. [FRX/]

The yield on benchmark fell to 1.9392% compared with its U.S. close of 1.948% on Wednesday.

The two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 1.6697% compared with a U.S. close of 1.678%.

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Teladoc Tumbled 38% After Big First-Quarter Loss. Is It Just a Pandemic Play?

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After pandemic drop, Canada’s detention of immigrants rises again By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Two closed Canadian border checkpoints are seen after it was announced that the border would close to “non-essential traffic” to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the U.S.-Canada border crossing at the Thousand Isla

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada is locking up more people in immigration detention without charge after the numbers fell during the pandemic, government data obtained by Reuters shows.

Authorities cite an overall rise in foreign travelers amid easing restrictions but lawyers say their detained clients came to Canada years ago.

Canada held 206 people in immigration detention as of March 1, 2022 – a 28% increase compared with March 1 of the previous year. Immigration detainees have not been charged with crimes in Canada and 68% of detainees as of March 1 were locked up because Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) fears they are “unlikely to appear” at an immigration hearing, according to the data.

The rise puts Canada at odds with Amnesty International and other human rights groups that have urged Ottawa to end its use of indefinite immigration detention, noting CBSA has used factors such as a person’s mental illness as reason to detain them.

A CBSA spokesperson told Reuters that “when the number of entries (to Canada) goes up, an increase in detention is to be expected.” CBSA has said in the past it uses detention as a last resort.

A lawyer told Reuters her detained clients have been in Canada for years.

In the United Kingdom, too, immigration detention levels rose last year after dropping earlier in the pandemic, according to government statistics. Unlike Canada, the United States and Australia, European Union member states have limits on immigration detention and those limits cannot exceed six months.

The rise in detentions puts people at risk of contracting COVID-19 in harsh congregate settings, refugee lawyers say.

Julia Sande, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner with Amnesty, called the increase in detentions “disappointing but not surprising,” although she was reluctant to draw conclusions from limited data.

The number of immigration detainees in Canada dropped early in the pandemic, from a daily average of 301 in the fourth quarter (January through March) of 2019-20 to 126 in the first quarter (April through June) of 2020-21.

FEW NO-SHOWS AS DETENTIONS DROPPED

Detaining fewer people did not result in a significant increase in no-shows at immigration hearings – the most common reason for detention, according to Immigration and Refugee Board data.

The average number of no-shows as a percentage of admissibility hearings was about 5.5% in 2021, according to that data, compared to about 5.9% in 2019.

No-shows rose as high as 16% in October 2020, but a spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugee Board said this was due to people not receiving notifications when their hearings resumed after a pause in the pandemic.

Refugee lawyer Andrew Brouwer said the decline in detention earlier in the pandemic shows Canada does not need to lock up as many non-citizens.

“We didn’t see a bunch of no-shows. We didn’t see the sky fall … It for sure shows that the system can operate without throwing people in jail,” Brouwer said.

He added that detainees face harsh pandemic conditions in provincial jails – including extended lockdowns, sometimes with three people in a cell for 23 hours a day.

Refugee lawyer Swathi Sekhar said CBSA officials and the Immigration and Refugee Board members reviewing detentions took the risk of COVID-19 into account when deciding whether someone should be detained earlier in the pandemic but are doing so less now.

“Their position is that COVID is not a factor that should weigh in favor of release,” she said.

“We also see very, very perverse findings … [decision-makers] outright saying that individuals are going to be safer in jail.”

The Immigration and Refugee Board did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Nasdaq futures rise as market attempts comeback from April sell-off, Meta shares soar

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Stock futures rose in overnight trading as the market shook off the April sell-off and investors reacted positively to earnings from Meta Platforms.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 70 points or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.7% and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1.2%.

The moves came as shares of Meta surged more than 18% after hours following a beat on earnings but a miss on revenue, a sign that investors may see signs of relief in the beaten-up tech sector. Shares were down 48% on the year heading into the results.

Meanwhile, shares of Qualcomm gained 5.6% in extended trading on the back of strong earnings while PayPal rose 5% despite issuing weak guidance for the second quarter.

“I think a lot of people want to believe that earnings are going to pull us out of this, but earnings are not what got us into this,” SoFi’s Liz Young told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Wednesday. “… But the reality is there are so many macro headwinds still in front of us in the next 60 days that the market is just hard to impress.”

The after-hour activity followed a volatile regular trading session that saw the Nasdaq Composite stoop to its lowest level in 2022, as stocks looked to bounce back from a tech-led April sell-off. The index is down more than 12% since the start of April.

In Wednesday’s regular trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended at 12,488.93, after rising to 1.7% at session highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.75 points, or 0.2%, to 33,301.93 propped up by gains from Visa and Microsoft, while the S&P 500 added 0.2% to 4,183.96.

Investors await big tech earnings on Thursday from Apple, Amazon and Twitter, along with results from Robinhood. Jobless claims are also due out Thursday.

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