COVID refuses to subside as a new variant of concern arises stoking new fear.
With many major U.S. retailers opening their doors to shoppers at 5 a.m. on Friday, early risers ventured out in chilly weather to buy Christmas gifts, finding stores less crowded than in years past. The shift to online shopping, lingering COVID fears and less-steep discounts have thinned crowds on Black Friday, the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday which kicks off the year-end shopping season.
Whether buying computer chips directly from manufacturers, reconfiguring cars, or producing them with parts missing, automakers are having to get creative to cope with the global shortage of semiconductors. The shortage, due to supply problems and a surge in demand for consumer electronics during the pandemic, has hit the auto industry hard, with millions of vehicles worldwide not being produced because important parts are missing.
U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slide at the post-Thanksgiving Wall Street open and oil hit two-month lows as fears of a possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant sent investors scurrying to safe-haven assets. Asian and European countries rushed to tighten restrictions on Friday after a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant was detected in South Africa, with Singapore and India announcing stricter border controls and more rigorous testing.
Bitcoin tumbled over 9% on Friday, dragging smaller tokens down, after the discovery of a new, potentially vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant saw investors dump riskier assets for the perceived safety of bonds, the yen, and the dollar.
Oil prices dove more than 5% on Friday, hitting a two-month low as a new COVID-19 variant spooked investors and added to concerns that a supply surplus could swell in the first quarter.
|Climate activists targeted 15 Amazon depots across Europe on “Black Friday” and the world’s biggest e-commerce company also faced protests by workers and delivery drivers in Germany, France and Italy.|
|Italy’s antitrust regulator has fined Google and Apple 10 million euros ($11.2 million) each for “aggressive practices” linked to the commercial use of user data.|
|Pfizer and partner, BioNTech announced that the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (“CHMP”) has given a positive opinion recommending extended use of their COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, in children five to under 12 years of age in Europe.|