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S&P 500’s Energy Sector on Pace to Hit Record Annual Gain



The S&P 500 index’s energy sector is on pace for the biggest percentage gain on record, marking a comeback for a sector hard hit by early pandemic shutdowns.

The energy sector has gained almost 50% so far this year from a rebound in consumer travel, beating its last record of around 25% in 2016, according to FactSet data going back to at least 1990. Prices for U.S. crude and the global oil benchmark. Brent crude has also gained over 50% this year.

Even after a recent tumble in prices due to investor concerns over the Omicron variant, energy has held on to most of its gains for the year. Prices skyrocketed in 2021 after the U.S. eased Covid-19 restrictions and consumers returned to the roads.

Energy costs typically mirror investors’ perspective of the economy’s health with prices dipping with new Covid-19 variants and increased case counts before bouncing back. The high energy prices now suggest investors expect continued growth in 2022 but the role of inflation on prices makes the economic picture less clear.

Economic shutdowns from new variants threaten the energy sector’s prospects in 2022, although local governments in the U.S. so far haven’t replicated the lockdowns of 2020. Some analysts remain optimistic about the sector, citing that an increase in vaccination rates around the world and a growing expertise on managing the virus won’t hinder travel.

Low supply from U.S. producers and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also helped elevate prices in 2021.

“Oil and natural gas and unfortunately even coal are going to be pretty critical elements for global economic growth into the future, as well, and investors are finally recognizing that,” said

Rob Thummel,

senior portfolio manager at TortoiseEcofin.

Companies within the oil and gas exploration and production category have grown the most with shares of

Devon Energy Corp.

nearly tripling this year.

“It’s going to be another year for potential for outperformance, driven by the return of cash to investors,” Mr. Thummel said.

Among the laggards within the energy sector are companies that deal with equipment and services, storage and transportation, refining and marketing: Baker Hughes Co. advanced 16%, Kinder Morgan added 16% and Phillips 66 edged up 4.2%.

Companies within the oil and gas exploration and production category have grown the most.


Jim West/Zuma Press

Energy companies focused on returning cash to shareholders through buybacks and dividends, attracting investors. Some climate-minded investors, however, missed out on Wall Street’s hottest trade of the year, over concerns about fossil fuels’ impact on the climate.

Despite the surge this year, big tech stocks continue to drive gains in the S&P 500 because energy has one of the lowest weightage in the broad-based index.

The S&P 500’s information technology sector gained around 60% in 2012, the last time any top performing sector gained as much as energy. The real estate and information technology sectors are trailing energy this year, gaining 42% and 35%, respectively.

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the December 30, 2021, print edition as ‘S&P 500’s Energy Sector Bounces Back.’

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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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