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UN urges G20 to ensure finance sector’s climate pledges are solid

By Simon Jessop

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UN urges G20 to ensure finance sector's climate pledges are solid
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An anti-exhaust emission traffic sign is pictured in Copenhagen, Denmark April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

By Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) – The United Nations called on Wednesday for the world’s biggest economies to ensure net zero commitments made by financial institutions were robust, backed by science and ended financing for new fossil fuel projects.

The call is the first time the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has directly given guidance to the G20 on the issue and comes days before the start of crunch climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

In a report for the G20 as it meets ahead of the talks, UNEP FI laid out 11 recommendations for policymakers as they consider how best to oversee the industry efforts to help cut greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century.

There are concerns some of the current pledges are too weak after a landmark report from a U.N. climate panel in August that issued a “code red for humanity”, urging faster action from countries to curtail emissions.

“In the last two years we’ve just seen an incredible explosion of net-zero commitments,” Jesica Andrews, investment lead at the UN EPFI, told Reuters.

“This is really the first time we’ve done a state of the art assessment and put forward really concrete recommendations on how a financial institution, specifically, sets a net-zero target that is credible.”

Against that backdrop, the UNEP FI said financial institutions needed to align with a science-based scenario or scenarios and be transparent about which ones were used.

“What is challenging is how you define that science, and that’s what this paper does; it lays out how the science should be applied to make sure that commitment is credible,” Andrews said.

“If policymakers want to get behind this and they want to see more comparability, this is what we need to be asking financial institutions to do,” she added.

Once the scenario was set, firms needed to begin aligning lending as soon as possible to have any hope of hitting the global target of capping global warming at no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“This would include, for example, the immediate cessation of any new fossil fuel investments, and rapid decommissioning of remaining fossil fuel production as indicated by the scenarios,” the report said.

Institutions should also set, ideally, five-year targets and report annually on progress, applying appropriate pathways to net zero that incentivise their underlying companies to act.

“We have a lot of portfolio level targets, a lot of commitments to net zero at the high level, but (they are) not drawing that down to the sector level, which is what’s going to make a difference in the real economy,” Andrews said.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Omicron already taking over in S.Africa as countries tighten borders

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Omicron already taking over in S.Africa as countries tighten borders
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Passengers wait in line inside the terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

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By Promit Mukherjee

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -The heavily mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly becoming dominant in South Africa, less than four weeks after being identified there, authorities said on Wednesday, as other countries tightened their borders against the new threat.

The United States told airlines to hand over the names of passengers from parts of southern Africa hit by Omicron, which the World Health Organization (WHO) said had now reached at least 24 countries, with cases ranging from mild to severe.

Early indications suggesting that Omicron may be markedly more contagious than previous variants had already rattled financial markets, fearful that new restrictions around the world could choke off a tentative recovery from the economic ravages of the pandemic. [MKTS/GLOB]

South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said Omicron’s profile and early epidemiological data suggested it was able to evade some immunity, but that existing vaccines should still protect against severe disease and death.

It said 74% of all the samples it had genetically sequenced last month had been of the new variant, which was announced a week ago but was first found in a sample taken on Nov. 8 in Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous province.

The number of new cases reported in South Africa doubled from Tuesday to Wednesday.

WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove told a briefing that data on how contagious Omicron was should be available “within days”.

BioNTech’s CEO said the vaccine it makes in a partnership with Pfizer (NYSE:) was likely to offer strong protection against severe disease from Omicron.

The president of the European Union’s executive Commission said there was a “race against time” to stave off the new variant while scientists establish how easily it can spread and whether it can evade vaccine protection. The EU brought forward the start of its vaccine rollout for five-to-11-year-olds by a week to Dec 13.

‘PREPARE FOR THE WORST’

“Prepare for the worst, hope for the best,” Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference.

She said that, according to scientists, full vaccination and a booster shot provided the strongest possible protection.

But WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan was critical of developed countries pushing booster shots for large parts of their fully vaccinated populations when even vulnerable people in many poorer regions had had no vaccination at all.

“There is no evidence that I’m aware of that will suggest that boosting the entire population is going to necessarily provide any greater protection for otherwise healthy individuals against hospitalisation or death,” he said.

Britain and the United States have both expanded their booster programmes in response to the new variant, highlighting the disparity between massive vaccination pushes in rich nations and sparse inoculation in the developing world.

The WHO has noted many times that the coronavirus will keep producing new variants for as long as it is allowed to circulate freely in large unvaccinated https://www.reuters.com/world/vaccine-coverage-below-10-seven-eastern-mediterranean-nations-who-2021-12-01 populations.

Ghana, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia and South Korea were among the most recent countries to report cases of the variant. Britain said its total of 22 cases was certain to rise.

Australia said at least two people had visited several places in Sydney while likely infectious and Denmark said an infected person had taken part in a large concert.

Japan, which had already barred all new foreign entrants, reported its second case https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/japan-expand-travel-ban-some-foreigners-with-resident-status-2021-12-01 of the new variant and said it would expand travel restrictions.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Some 56 countries were reportedly implementing travel measures to guard against Omicron as of Nov. 28, the WHO said.

Hong Kong added Japan, Portugal and Sweden to its travel restrictions, while Uzbekistan said it would suspend flights with Hong Kong as well as South Africa. Malaysia temporarily barred travellers from eight African countries and said Britain and the Netherlands could join the list.

“Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” the WHO said https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/officials-offer-vaccine-reassurance-who-advises-against-travel-bans-2021-11-30, while advising those who were unwell, at risk or 60 years and over and unvaccinated to postpone travel.

The United States has barred nearly all foreigners who have been in one of eight southern African countries.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directed airlines to disclose names and other information of passengers who have been to those countries.

Shares https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/global-markets-repeat-wrapup-2-2021-12-01 around the world came off lows plumbed on Tuesday after remarks by the head of the drugmaker Moderna (NASDAQ:) raised questions about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against Omicron. [MKTS/GLOB]

But Fitch Ratings said it had lowered its global air passenger traffic forecasts for 2021 and 2022, with the emergence of new variants highlighting the unpredictability of the situation.

“It feels a little bit like we are back to where we were a year ago,” said Deidre Fulton, a partner at consultancy MIDAS Aviation, at an industry webinar https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/global-airlines-prepare-omicron-induced-volatility-2021-12-01. “And that’s not a great prospect for the industry and beyond.”

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Krispy Kreme Shares Plunge Following Goldman Sachs Downgrade

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Krispy Kreme Shares Plunge Following Goldman Sachs Downgrade
© Reuters

By Sam Boughedda

Investing.com — Krispy Kreme Inc (NASDAQ:) stock fell 8% after Goldman Sachs analyst Jared Garber downgraded it to sell.

Garber cut it from neutral, setting a $14 price target. That did represent a 4% downside from Tuesday’s close. However, the stock has now fallen below that level, trading around the $13.28 mark. 

The analyst cited rising cost pressures across many key areas for Krispy Kreme’s company-owned model, which Garber feels presents risks for margins. 

In addition, he explained that consumer data implies that the brand may have limited pricing power to react to inflation, and with the indulgent food category only expected to grow 1.1% per year to 2025, it forced Garber to lower estimates for the company.

 There is “limited clarity on the underlying drivers of top-line growth,” according to the analyst.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Stock Markets

European shares rebound from Omicron-spurred rout

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European shares rebound from Omicron-spurred rout
© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 30, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

By Anisha Sircar and Susan Mathew

(Reuters) -European shares posted their best session in almost six months on Wednesday, as investors picked up beaten down stocks that were hammered in the past few sessions by fears of the spread of a new and highly infectious strain of the coronavirus.

The pan-European rose 1.7%, recovering from a sharp sell-off in the previous session that had sent it to a seven-week low. The index ended November with a 2.6% drop and is 4% away from the record high it hit in the middle of last month. [MKTS/GLOB]

“Europe was already imposing lockdowns before Omicron. Since valuations are still elevated, earnings need to do the heavy lifting from here; that task has now become harder in the EU …. relative to the U.S.,” TS Lombard research head Andrea Cicione said.

A recent Reuters poll of strategists and brokers suggests that European stocks may hit record highs in 2022, boosted by a recovery in corporate profits.

The poll also says that and 40 indexes would hit uncharted peaks by mid-2022, while the STOXX 600 would gain 7% and reach 500 points by July.

“In the short term, uncertainty and therefore market volatility will continue until we get greater clarity on the resistance to vaccines and the lethality and transmissibility of Omicron,” TS Lombard’s Cicione said.

Industrial stocks were the biggest boost to the STOXX 600 on Wednesday. Among sectors, autos as well as travel and leisure rose 3.8% and 3.1%, respectively.

Miners gained 2.3% after prices rebounded on easing concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant, while oil stocks jumped 2.1% as crude prices rose as OPEC meets. [MET/L] [O/R]

The European Union could greenlight COVID-19 vaccines tailored to target the new variant in three to four months, the region’s drug regulator chief Emer Cooke said on Tuesday, adding that existing shots would continue to provide protection.

A survey showed manufacturing growth in the euro zone accelerated slightly last month, but supply chain bottlenecks worsened.

Among individual stocks, Husqvarna, the world’s biggest maker of power gardening tools, jumped 5.4% after raising its overall financial targets and growth ambitions for robotic lawn mowers and other battery-powered products.

Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena surged 16.7% after saying it had begun a dialogue with the Ministry of Economy and Finance to restart discussions on its plans to raise capital.

Battered German property group Adler’s shares surged 34.5%, pulling up from all-time lows, after announcing divestitures.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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