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Markets stagger as Russia sanctions intensify By Reuters



© Reuters. Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 7, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Ira Iosebashvili

(Reuters) -Plummeting stocks, soaring commodity prices and tightening global financial conditions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are clouding the outlook for markets already unsettled by the prospect of a hawkish Federal Reserve.

Dramatic moves are everywhere you look, from a bear market in the Index and wild rallies in oil and other raw materials to surges in popular haven assets such as gold and the U.S. dollar.

Hanging over it all is the Fed, which is widely expected to raise rates at its monetary policy meeting next week for the first time in more than three years. Some investors now worry that the U.S. central bank will have to keep raising rates to contain rising inflation despite an expected hit to growth from geopolitical instability, risking a recession.

“Traders are not used to this kind of volatility in markets,” said Michael O’Rourke of Jones Trading. “Everyone is trying to figure out what is the next threat and where the next distortion is.”


Sanctions against commodity-export giant Russia by the United States and its allies have stoked a rally in the price of oil, metals, wheat and other commodities, a move investors fear will exacerbate already high inflation while weighing on global growth – a condition known as stagflation.

is up more than 25% since the beginning of March while nickel prices more than doubled on Tuesday, forcing the London Metal Exchange to halt trading in the metal.

“For the U.S. economy, we now see stagflation, with persistently higher inflation and less economic growth than expected before the (Ukraine) war. A recession can no longer be ruled out,” strategist Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research wrote in a recent note to clients.


The Nasdaq slipped 3.6% on Monday, taking it more than 20% below its recent peak, confirming that the index is in a bear market, according to a common definition. Germany’s is in bear territory as well, while the benchmark , down nearly 12% this year, recently confirmed a correction.


Financial indicators are showing increasing signs of stress throughout markets. One of these is the so-called FRA-OIS spread, which measures the gap between the U.S. three-month forward rate agreement and the overnight index swap rate. It was recently at its highest level since May 2020.

A higher spread reflects rising interbank lending risk or banks hoarding U.S. dollars, meaning that it is widely viewed as a proxy for banking sector risk.

The rush for dollars has been a major contributor to the greenback’s advance against the euro over the last two weeks, according to Huw Roberts, head of analytics at Quant Insight in New York.

More broadly, global financial conditions – the umbrella phrase for how metrics such as exchange rates, equity swings and borrowing costs affect the availability of funding in the economy – are at their tightest in around two years.


Volatility in stocks, currencies and rates is at multi-year highs, as investors calibrate their portfolios for higher commodity prices and a potentially prolonged conflict in eastern Europe.

The Cboe, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, was recently at 33 and has shot up by about 16 points this year.

Sharp (OTC:) rises and falls in Treasury yields – fueled by bets on how aggressive the Fed will be in raising rates in 2022 as well as a flight to safety in U.S. government bonds, have taken the ICE (NYSE:) BoFAML MOVE Index to its highest level since March 2020.

Meanwhile, gyrations in currencies and a rally in the U.S. dollar has lifted the Deutsche Bank (DE:) Currency Volatility Index to a near-two-year high.


Not surprisingly, investors have been sheltering in gold, the dollar, the Swiss franc and other so-called safe havens, driving up their prices to multi-month highs. Prices for the yellow metal are up more than 10% this year.

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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



© 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.


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



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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