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Pakistan: Several killed in explosion at Quetta hotel | Pakistan News

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Blast in parking area of Serena Hotel also wounded nine people, with some in critical condition, police say.

At least three people have been killed and nine others wounded in a powerful explosion in the parking area of an upscale hotel in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, according to authorities.

Police said rescuers were transporting the victims of Wednesday’s blast at Serena Hotel to nearby hospitals. Footage on local news channels showed cars in flames.

Security forces rushed to the hotel and no one was allowed to approach the site of the explosion. Police said they had opened an investigation.

“Our officers are working to determine whether it was a bomb and what type of device it could be,” police official Nasir Malik told Reuters news agency.

According to senior police official Azhar Akram, some of the wounded were listed in critical condition. They were brought to Quetta’s main hospital.

No other information was immediately available.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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WTO can show ‘relevance’ with vaccine waiver, US trade rep says | Coronavirus pandemic News

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For the second day in a row, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai heard criticism from Republican US lawmakers that the intellectual property rights waiver will give critical biopharmaceutical technology to China, Russia and other strategic rivals while failing to increase vaccine supplies.

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Thursday that World Trade Organization negotiations over intellectual property waivers for COVID-19 vaccines are a chance for the deeply divided trade body to make itself relevant to the world’s needs.

Tai, speaking to the House Ways and Means Committee, said she was committed to entering negotiations that take into account concerns from all sides, including drug companies.

“The WTO has not got a record of moving quickly, or getting to yes, across 164 members who must all agree, very often,” Tai said. “This is the opportunity for the WTO to show its relevance for mankind.”

For a second day in a row, Tai heard criticism from Republican lawmakers that the intellectual property rights waiver will give critical biopharmaceutical technology to China, Russia and other strategic rivals while failing to increase vaccine supplies.

Republican Representative Devin Nunes told Tai that he is concerned China is one of the few countries that could quickly manufacture messenger RNA vaccines, a technology partly developed with US tax dollars.

“It really seems like they [China] want to steal this very new technology, especially as it relates to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines,” he said.

Tai said the administration was working to exercise leadership on the issue to try to reach a solution that saves lives and puts the world back on a faster growth track, which will benefit the US.

India and South Africa, the proponents of the original, much broader proposal, are expressing “that they feel extremely vulnerable in not having access to vaccines and not being able to make them either,” Tai said.

On Wednesday, Tai told a Senate hearing that companies making vaccines could be “a hero” by helping the world gain increased access to COVID-19 vaccines.

She declined to discuss details of her consultations with drug companies before announcing the decision to join WTO waiver negotiations last week, but said that some are driven by more than their obligations to shareholders.

“Some of them do see themselves as important actors in the public health ecosystem in the world,” she said.

Tai said that the intellectual property waiver was just one of a number of actions that would be required to increase manufacturing and equitable distribution of vaccines around the world.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Cathie Wood’s ETF assets fall below $40bn, but loyal fans hang on | Financial Markets News

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The founder of Ark Investment Management LLC now controls $39.7bn in her US exchange traded funds, down from more than $60bn at a peak in February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

With tech’s recent pummeling, the cash Cathie Wood is managing in her ETF lineup has just dropped below $40 billion — but her loyal fan base is largely hanging on for the ride.

The founder of Ark Investment Management LLC now controls $39.7 billion in her U.S. exchange-traded funds, down from more than $60 billion at a peak in February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The firm is now the 11th largest issuer in the U.S., compared with seventh place earlier this year.

A huge portion of the loss is due to the value of her holdings dropping sharply, as speculative tech names with soaring valuations and massive runs come back down to earth. Her flagship ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) has fallen about 35% from its high. Still, the mass exodus some had anticipated during a period of underperformance hasn’t yet materialized, with traders pulling just $76 million from the fund in April and $301 million so far in May, compared to the $7.1 billion added in the first three months of the year.

“It appears that investors still believe in Cathie Wood’s philosophy and think possibly the pullback is short term,” said Mohit Bajaj, director of ETFs for WallachBeth Capital.

In fact, the firm’s ETFs have still taken in a net $15.3 billion so far in 2021. The eight-product lineup — six actively managed funds and two tracking indexes — has roughly only lost a net $800 million since the end of February.

While retail activity has declined in the broad market, it seems day traders are ready to stick with Ark. About $1.1 billion of the $28 billion added to the family of funds since November can be attributed to retail investors, according to a report from Vanda Research.

“In periods when Ark ETFs have seen large redemptions, retail investors have actually bought the dip, further highlighting the institutional-retail divide,” wrote analysts Ben Onatibia and Giacomo Pierantoni.

Throughout the downturn, Wood has said repeatedly that her strategies haven’t changed and that she invests with a five-year time horizon. She even added to her stakes in Twitter Inc., Roku Inc., Skillz Inc. and Peloton Interactive Inc. last week.

Some are now questioning just how long the funds’ drop will last, especially as dip buyers step in. ARKK rose in early trading before falling 3.3% as of 1 p.m. in New York.

Open interest in bullish call options on ARKK is at an all-time high, and even similarly elevated activity in bearish put contracts has historically come before a bounce, Chris Murphy at Susquehanna International Group wrote in a note.

“It has become oversold on a technical basis,” said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. “The weak hands have already sold, so we’re now in the ‘wait and see’ mode. If Ark funds can bounce strongly, the all clear flag will be raised.”



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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US stocks bounce back from three-day losing streak | Financial Markets News

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All three major US stock indexes notched solid gains, with the Nasdaq, weighed by Tesla Inc, picking up the rear.

Wall Street ended sharply higher at the close of a broad rally on Thursday, bouncing back from three straight days of selling on upbeat labour market data.

All three major United States stock indexes notched solid gains, with the Nasdaq, weighed by Tesla Inc, picking up the rear. Meanwhile, cyclical shares enjoyed the biggest gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 433.79 points, or 1.29 percent, to 34,021.45; the S&P 500 gained 49.46 points, or 1.22 percent, to 4,112.5; and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 93.31 points, or 0.72 percent, to close at 13,124.99.

Recent economic data has prompted inflation fears as scarcity of both materials and workers threatens to send prices surging in the face of a demand boom.

“If this is a footrace, supply chains are still tying their shoes,” said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York City. “But they will catch up with demand fairly quickly.”

But on Thursday, investors appeared to be focusing on the glass-half-full side of the demand/supply equation.

This was evidenced by the outperformance of small caps, chips and transports, economically sensitive stocks that stand to gain as the US emerges from the coronavirus pandemic recession.

“Sectors and stocks that were hurt most significantly by yesterday’s selloff rebounded strongly today given that economic growth is expected to remain strong throughout the year and any inflation is likely to be temporary,” Carter added.

New applications for unemployment insurance continue to fall, according to jobless claims data from the US Department of Labor (DOL) that hit a 14-month low.

DOL data also showed producer prices swelled last month, building on the inflation surge narrative of Wednesday’s consumer prices report.

“The inflation boogeyman is back right on cue,” Carter said. “And will continue to spook markets for the coming months.”

But rising prices were widely anticipated, and the US Federal Reserve has provided repeated assurances that it does not foresee those spikes morphing into sustained, long-term inflation.

Energy stocks lost ground, weighed by a drop in crude prices.

Dating app owner Bumble Inc tumbled below its initial public offering price, as investors remained cautious about how quickly users will return to in-person meetings.

Shares of Walt Disney Co oscillated throughout the session ahead of the company’s quarterly results, expected after the closing bell.

Boeing Co advanced after gaining approval from US regulators for a fix of an electrical grounding issue.

Tesla continued its slide after boss Elon Musk doubled down on his sudden rejection of cryptocurrency Bitcoin.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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