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Tech Shares Finish Higher in Broad Stock Rally

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U.S. stocks ended higher on Monday as the few investors staying on Wall Street capitalized on what is traditionally a lightly attended but bullish week, sending the S&P 500 to another record high.

The S&P 500 rose 65.40 points, or 1.4%, to 4791.19, setting its 69th record close of 2021. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 217.89 points, or 1.4%, to 15871.26, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 351.82 points, or 1%, to 36302.38.

The last five trading days of the year and the first two trading days of the new year comprise the “Santa Claus Rally” in trading lore, as detailed in “Stock Trader’s Almanac.” It isn’t a big rally, on average adding about 1.3%, but it is consistent, showing up about 80% of the time.

That holiday spirit is dovetailing with a growing perception that the risks from the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may not be as severe as initially feared, which is coming as a relief to investors, said

Jason Pride,

the chief investment officer of private wealth at asset management firm Glenmede. “I think the market is taking note of what was the previous risk basically being pared back,” he said.

Markets sagged in recent weeks over concerns that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant could harm the economy as countries undertook various measures to stem its spread. Some investors now expect Omicron will be mitigated by vaccines and the rollout of booster shots in some nations.

A trader at the New York Stock Exchange on the last day of trading before Christmas.



Photo:

ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

“Everything seems to be serious but manageable. Anything that changes that, this could probably make a big impact,” said

Luca Paolini,

chief strategist at Pictet Asset Management.

Market moves can be amplified during the holiday season due to a lack of liquidity, or how readily buyers and sellers can find each other. With many traders off, prices people are willing to buy and sell at may be higher or lower because there are fewer counterparties. 

“We are in kind of this Christmas trading range, but low liquidity makes any potential shock bigger,” Mr. Paolini added. 

Some companies however were still being affected by the pandemic. Flight cancellations marred Christmas weekend for many travelers, as Covid-19 left carriers short-staffed to operate busy schedules over the holiday.

United Airlines Holdings

declined 0.7% to $44.58 and

American Airlines Group

shed 0.5% to $18.17.

GoDaddy

shares added 8.4% to $82.35 after The Wall Street Journal reported that activist investor Starboard Value has a sizable stake in the domain registrar and plans to push it to boost its performance.

Meanwhile, investors kept an eye on

Apple’s

shares, waiting to see if the company’s market capitalization would hit the $3 trillion mark. While the stock closed up 2.3% at $180.33, that was below the $182.856 it will need to price for the market cap to hit $3 trillion.

Apple

would be the first company in history with such a rich valuation.

The gain gave a boost to the tech sector. Other tech gainers included

Microsoft,

up 2.3% to $342.45,

Nvidia,

up 4.4% to $309.45, and

Cisco,

up 1.8% to $63.42.

Electric-auto maker

Tesla,

which trades in the consumer discretionary group, climbed 2.5% to $1,093.94.

In currencies, the Turkish lira fell 7.3% against the dollar. The lira, one of this year’s worst-performing emerging-market currencies, recouped some losses last week after the nation’s president announced a rescue plan to encourage Turks to put their money back into the lira. Foreign investors are waiting to see if the plan marks a larger reversal in its weakness or if broader concerns over high inflation cause it to depreciate again. 

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ticked down to 1.480% from 1.492% Thursday. Yields and prices move inversely. 

Commodities prices were generally higher, benefiting from expectations of a stronger economy in 2022. U.S. crude-oil futures rose 2.4% to $75.57. Lumber added 4.1% and soybean futures were up 2.3%. Natural-gas prices rose 8.8% after forecasts of colder weather in parts of the U.S., which could spur demand for heating fuel.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.6%. Markets in the U.K. were closed.

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite closed almost 0.1% lower. South Korea’s Kospi and Japan’s Nikkei 225 each declined 0.4%. Markets in Hong Kong and Australia were closed. 

The Omicron variant caused more than 70% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. registered the week ending Dec. 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The surge comes as the holidays approach and some people reconsider travel plans. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

Write to Caitlin Ostroff at caitlin.ostroff@wsj.com and Paul Vigna at Paul.Vigna@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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