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Stocks Waver a Day After Hitting Record

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U.S. stock indexes were mixed Tuesday, a day after a record close for the S&P 500 amid lower liquidity in the last days of the year.

The S&P 500 swung between small gains and losses, touching a new intraday high in morning trading, after the broad-market index rallied 1.4% on Monday. It finished down 4.84 points, or 0.1%, to 4786.35. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 95.83 points, or 0.3%, to 36398.21. The Nasdaq Composite fell 89.5 points, or 0.6%, to 15781.72.

Stocks have been buffeted by the spread of the Omicron variant in recent weeks as governments around the world have imposed restrictions to try to curb coronavirus infections. But some recent studies have suggested the variant might result in milder illness with lower risk of hospitalization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the recommended isolation period for some people who test positive to try to minimize disruptions. Still, many economists have lowered their forecasts for economic growth in the first quarter of next year.

“What is emanating from markets is the faith that Omicron won’t be able to disrupt the economic recovery,” said

Antonio Cavarero,

head of investments at Generali Insurance Asset Management. “There is no visible risk reduction.” That is partly due to lower liquidity from fewer people working around the holidays, he said.

Stock investors are keeping eyes on a phenomenon known as the “Santa Claus rally.” Indexes such as the S&P 500 have a tendency to rise in the last five days of the year and the first two days of the new year. Such a rally takes place at the end of about four of every five years, according to “Stock Trader’s Almanac.”

“It happens because people start positioning. People are reading everyone’s 2022 estimates and planning for next year,” said

Jeffrey Meyers,

a consultant to hedge funds and family offices at Market Securities.

Governments and policy advisers are showing signs of taking a lighter touch with policies regarding the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, reducing quarantine times and in some instances forgoing social-distancing restrictions as they try to keep economies moving. Vaccine makers gave up gains from earlier in the session, with

Novavax

declining 1.2% and

Moderna

down 2.2%.

The news has helped shares of travel and energy companies, with

United Airlines

up 1.6% and

Valero Energy

up 1.9%.

Cutting quarantine times is bullish for investors and prompting market participants to look beyond the Omicron surge, said

David Kotok,

chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors. But it also risks allowing the Covid-19 virus to mutate, spread and disrupt economies, he added. He is overweight healthcare stocks.

“This ain’t over, and markets want to celebrate it being over. But the virus doesn’t care about what markets want,” Mr. Kotok said.

Oil prices ticked up, with global benchmark Brent crude climbing 0.4% to $78.94 a barrel.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 1.480%.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which measures average home prices in major metropolitan areas across the nation, showed U.S. home-price growth slowed in October. Shares of home builders edged higher during Tuesday’s session, with

D.R. Horton

advancing 0.7% and

Taylor Morrison

rising 0.8%.

U.S. companies will be entering 2022 at a very high level of corporate earnings, said Mr. Kotok. That will require companies to produce robust earnings growth next year, in the face of less fiscal and monetary policy stimulus.

“I’m a terrified bull,” he said.

Stocks have been buffeted by the spread of the Omicron variant in recent weeks.



Photo:

John Minchillo/Associated Press

Bitcoin slipped around 6.3% from its level at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, trading around $47,794. The cryptocurrency has oscillated around the $50,000 mark for the past five days.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.6%.

The Turkish lira rose 1.3% to 11.8 to the dollar. The currency had strengthened after the government announced a new economic plan last week. President

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

“may have bought Turkey some time but it’s still not a great story,” Mr. Meyers said. Speculative investors likely closed out short positions ahead of the long holiday weekend and may now be putting them back on, weighing on the lira, he said.

In Asia, most major benchmarks rose. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.2%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 1.4%, led by gains in technology stocks.  

Shares of

China Evergrande Group

pared early gains bust still rose 3.8%. The heavily indebted real-estate developer said construction work had resumed at more than 90% of its stalled residential projects. It also said it was delivering apartments faster to home buyers.

Write to Sebastian Pellejero at sebastian.pellejero@wsj.com and Anna Hirtenstein at anna.hirtenstein@wsj.com

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

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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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