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US stocks rebound, tech stocks perform

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Wall Street stocks finished a volatile week on a positive note following strong new home sales data.

New home sales surged more than 20 percent in March, pushing the annualized sales rate to a 15-year high.

The strong data helped the market shrug off weakness seen elsewhere much of the week.

The Dow finished up 0.7 percent, while the S&P 500 advanced 1.1 percentand the tech-rich Nasdaq umped 1.4 percent.

The S&P500’s 1.09 per cent rally was led by materials and financial stocks, with defensive sectors lagging the pack, in part owing to a little lift in bond yields in response to the strong economic data.

The gains were fairly broad-based though, with US-tech stocks also performing well, as the NASDAQ ran 1.44 per cent higher. It was the small-cap Russell 200 that topped them all, with the index gaining 1.76 per cent for the day’s trade.

There proved a pro-risk tilt in FX markets too on Friday night.

The US Dollar markedly underperformed, falling right across the G10 currency space, as it continued to weaken against its fellow G4 safe-havens, while the high-beta plays proved the strongest performers across the entire pack.

The EUR/USD extended its resurgence, somewhat on budding hopes of its vaccine drive to, close in on the 1.21 handle, with US Dollar Index grinding into support below the 91.00 level.

The AUD/USD also popped on the little in sentiment and commodity prices, to currently fetching a touch below 0.7750.

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Management shake up at under fire Qantas

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There’s been a management shake up at Australia’s flag carrier airline Qantas, which has come under fire for cancellations and delays

Jetstar CEO and longtime Qantas executive Gareth Evans has resigned.

He was touted as a potential replacement for controversial Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

Gareth Evans has been with Qantas for 23 years.

He has been chief of Jetstar since 2017, but has worked across the group and has now “decided this is the right moment to move on”.

This comes as the aviation grapples with the higher fuel prices and staffing issues at airports that are affecting much of the industry globally.

Strong demand

Qantas has also updated the market, saying it’s on track to record second half earnings of just over 500 million dollars.

Underlying profit is set to return in FY23, while debt levels are now well below pre-pandemic levels.

Qantas says this is due to continued strong domestic and international travel demand.

Qantas has come under fire for long delays and cancellations
Qantas has come under fire for long delays and cancellations

After peaking at more than $6.4bn at the height of the pandemic, net debt is expected to fall to around $4bn by June 30, an improvement of around $1.5bn in the past six months.

The airline has come under sustained pressure, with many passengers complaining about long queues, cancellations and delays.

Qantas is calling for patience ahead of the winter school break rush as it hires more staff to manage increased demand at airports.

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Nike to fully exit Russia

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U.S. sportswear maker Nike is making a full exit from Russia, three months after suspending its operations there, the company said in an emailed statement Thursday

The sportswear giant had said back in March that it would suspend operations at all the stores it owns or operates there.

On Thursday (June 23) the firm said it would leave the country altogether.

In a statement, Nike said it would scale down over the coming months.

The move is largely symbolic for the company, which gets less than 1% of its revenue from Russia and Ukraine combined.

It says any stores that are still open there are run by independent partners.

In May, Russian media reported that Nike had not renewed agreements with Inventive Retail Group, its largest franchisee there.

Now the full exit lputs Nike in line with other major western brands such as McDonald’s and Google.

Foreign companies seeking to leave face the prospect of new laws being passed that will allow Moscow to seize assets and impose criminal penalties.

That has prompted some businesses to accelerate their departure plans.

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U.S. orders vape company Juul to cease sales

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Juul has been an industry leader in the vaping sphere since its establishment in 2015, controlling 75 per cent of America’s market by its third year of operations.

This is just the latest crackdown on the Tabacco industry by the Biden administration, all part of a sweeping effort to regulate the sector after years of delay.

The White House has also announced a rule to establish a maximum level of nicotine in tobacco products in an attempt to make them less addictive.

After a nearly two-year-long review, the FDA said Juul submitted insufficient and conflicting data to show that its e-cigarettes met public health standards.

The regulator also said the findings raised “significant questions,” including whether potentially harmful chemicals could leach out of Juul pods.

The decision potentially deals a fatal blow to the once high-flying San Francisco company.

Juul did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The FDA had to judge whether Juul’s products, which have been sold for years without being officially authorized by the agency, were effective in getting smokers to quit and, if so, whether the benefits to smokers outweighed the potential health risks to new e-cigarette users, including teenagers.

“They prey on children.”

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin hailed the decision by the FDA on Thursday, but said “they’re in for a legal battle for sure.”

Earlier this week, the Biden administration said it also plans to propose a rule establishing a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes and other tobacco products to make them less addictive.

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