D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 28th November to 5th December 2021
Today’s Monday Update:
Over the course of the last week, market moving headlines were mostly economic, and Covid-19 related:
• On Monday, Britain said it will offer a COVID-19 booster shot to all adults in a bid to accelerate its vaccination programme amid concern over the new Omicron coronavirus variant, as eight more cases were found in the country.
A South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect a different coronavirus strain among patients, said that symptoms of the Omicron variant were so far mild and could be treated at home. Dr Angelique Coetzee, who is also on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, said unlike the Delta, so far patients have not reported loss of smell or taste and there has been no major drop in oxygen levels with the new variant.
• On Tuesday, new mask mandates and other measures aimed at curbing the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant came into force in England. From Tuesday morning, face masks are compulsory on transport and in shops, banks and hair salons. All international travellers must take a PCR test by the end of the second day after they arrive, and self-isolate until they get their result. That is in addition to restrictions on arrivals from 10 southern African countries, who have to enter hotel quarantine.
• On Wednesday, Japanese carmaker Nissan said on it has received planning permission to build a 20-megawatt solar farm at its plant in northeast England that should generate enough power to build every fully electric Leaf car sold in Europe. Nissan said construction will begin immediately and be completed by May 2022. The new solar farm will double the amount of renewable electricity generated at Nissan's Sunderland plant to 20% of its needs.
The United States will delay its deal to remove tariffs on UK steel and aluminium because of concerns about post-Brexit trade rules affecting Northern Ireland, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday. The administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump imposed 25% and 10% tariffs on steel and aluminium imports on the European Union in 2018. The tariffs were withdrawn in October of this year, but they remain in place for Britain due to its exit from the EU.
Britain said on Wednesday it had agreed deals to buy 114 million more Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shots, saying it had sped up signing the new contracts in light of the emergence of the new Omicron variant. The deal involves an additional 60 million Moderna shots and 54 million Pfizer doses for next year and 2023, and will also include access to any modified vaccinations if they are needed to combat the Omicron strain or any other variant, the British health ministry said.
• Britain's drug regulator on Thursday approved GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology's antibody based COVID-19 treatment, Xevudy, for people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing severe disease. The approval comes as GSK separately announced the treatment has shown to work against the Omicron variant.
Germany agreed on new COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday and the United States prepared to do the same. The new measures agreed in Germany focus on the unvaccinated, who will be barred from access to all but the most essential businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies. Germany is also planning legislation to make vaccination mandatory. Eager to avoid lockdowns that could derail a fragile recovery of Europe's biggest economy, Germany kept businesses open to the almost 69% of the population that is fully vaccinated, as well as those with proof of having recovered from COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna that use mRNA technology provide the biggest boost to antibody levels when given 10-12 weeks after the second dose, a British study published on Thursday has found. The "COV-Boost" study was cited by British officials when they announced that Pfizer and Moderna were preferred for use in the country's booster campaign, but the data has only just been made publicly available.
• On Friday, Britain's markets watchdog introduced new rules to boost London's role as a global centre for listing companies to help catch up with New York and meet increased competition from the European Union following Brexit. The revised listings rules, will allow a targeted form of dual class share structures in premium listings for five years to allow a company's founder to maintain an initial degree of control. It is a feature of the New York market which has attracted many tech company listings.
The UK Government ordered 100,000 doses of British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline’s Covid antibody drug on Friday, after its approval the previous day. Xevudy, was shown to slash the risk of hospitalisation or death by 79% cent in vulnerable people. It is given to patients considered most at-risk of developing severe disease, including elderly people and those with underlying health conditions.
• Over the week, the main Global Stockmarkets were more down than up, over ongoing concerns off the effects of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. Markets were also unnerved about inflation fears after the Chair of the Federal Reserve’s speech. Over the week, the D-PIMS Low to Medium Risk Portfolio was up and the Medium and Medium to High Portfolios were slightly down. The High and Very High Portfolios were down more so. The Portfolios were helped by their UK Equity and their diverse allocations.
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The comments made above represent our interpretation of events and market views and are in no way a guarantee of future investment performance.