North American Morning Briefing: Stock Futures -2- | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate that retail sales rose 0.4% in February from the previous month, easing from January’s strong 3.8% increase. Retail sales figures aren’t adjusted for inflation.

   
 
 

Russia Sanctions Forcing Banks to Quickly Adapt

U.S. banks are treading carefully when it comes to sanctions against Russia, making sure to comply with a growing list of requirements while ensuring lawful payments flow there and to Ukraine.

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, financial institutions spent years beefing up control systems and adding compliance resources as sanctions became an increasingly important tool of U.S. foreign policy. But the pace, volume and varying requirements of sanctions and other restrictions imposed after the invasion pose complex challenges for financial institutions, including cryptocurrency firms.

   
 
 

What to Know About Russia’s Possible Debt Default

The Russian government has a big set of interest payments due to foreign bondholders on Wednesday, setting the stage for the nation’s first default since 1998 and its first default on foreign debt since the Bolshevik Revolution.

Here’s what you need to know about the potential default.

   
 
 

Stock Pickers Watched the S&P 500 Pass Them By Again in 2021

Last year was a great one for the U.S. stock market. It was another disappointment for most stock-picking fund managers.

Fueled by rip-roaring corporate profits and easy monetary policy, the benchmark S&P 500 notched a total return, including price gains and dividends, of 28.7% last year. That was a stronger showing than that of 85% of U.S. large-cap stock-picking mutual funds, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices.

   
 
 

China Covid-19 Lockdowns Rattle Oil Markets, Add to Uncertainty

New Covid-19 lockdowns in China dragged oil prices back below $100 a barrel, casting fresh uncertainty on a global economic expansion hamstrung by the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and the end of stimulus.

New York oil futures dropped 6.4% on Tuesday, extending their decline over the past week to more than 22%. Last week they exceeded $130 a barrel for the first time since the financial crisis, reflecting expectations that a war-related supply shock could be lasting. The trade was unraveled by cease-fire talks, bargain-hunting buyers of Russian oil in Asia and a reminder from China that the pandemic isn’t over yet.

   
 
 

U.S., U.K. to Kick Off Bilateral Trade, Investment Dialogues Next Week

WASHINGTON-The U.S. and the U.K. have agreed to start talks to deepen trade and investment ties, their first broad effort to promote bilateral trade since negotiations to forge a free-trade agreement between the two nations were suspended last year.

The discussions are aimed at closer collaboration on a range of issues including easing supply-chain congestion, decarbonizing their economies, promoting digital trade, supporting domestic workforces and labor rights, U.S. and U.K. officials said.

   
 
 

New U.S. Financial Cyber Rules Focus on Board Oversight

Companies, and their boards of directors, are facing stiffer expectations from financial regulators when it comes to securing their digital defenses.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued two proposals in recent weeks that, if enacted as written, would substantially complicate how thousands of companies track, handle and report cyberattacks.

   
 
 

China’s New-Home Prices Fall Again Despite Efforts to Help Developers

BEIJING-New-home prices in China fell for a sixth consecutive month in February, as authorities’ efforts to ease policy restrictions for developers and boost buyer sentiment have yet to take effect.

Average new-home prices in 70 major cities edged 0.12% lower in February from January-according to Wall Street Journal calculations based on data released Wednesday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics-widening from January’s 0.04% decrease.

   
 
 

Frazier Healthcare Partners Raises $986 Million Biotech Venture Fund

Frazier Healthcare Partners has raised $986 million for its latest venture fund, adding to the firm’s war chest to invest in biotech companies.

Frazier, which also raised an $830 million public-market fund in October, has now closed on more than $1.8 billion over the last few months for biotech investments. Several of the firm’s portfolio companies have either gone public or been acquired recently. Amunix Pharmaceuticals Inc., for instance, was bought by drugmaker Sanofi SA in February, while Lengo Therapeutics Inc. was acquired by biotech Blueprint Medicines Corp. in December.

   
 
 

Russia Softens Iran Demands, Re-Opening Way for Nuclear Deal

BERLIN-Russia walked back recently made demands on Washington related to the Iran nuclear deal, clearing the way for Tehran and Washington to revive the 2015 agreement, senior western diplomats said.

On Tuesday, after Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Moscow with his Iranian counterpart, both Mr. Lavrov and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Russia wasn’t standing in the way of the accord.

   
 
 

Russia Bombards Kyiv as European Leaders Arrive in Ukraine’s Capital

KYIV, Ukraine-A delegation of European leaders traveled to Kyiv and met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky as Russia lobbed more missiles at the embattled capital amid heightened fighting in the city’s outskirts.

One missile destroyed a building associated with an arms maker in central Kyiv in a predawn strike Tuesday, blowing the windows out of buildings in a one-block radius. Separately, two apartment buildings were hit, setting fire to one of them.

   
 
 

China Covid-19 Lockdowns Rattle Oil Markets, Add to Uncertainty

New Covid-19 lockdowns in China dragged oil prices back below $100 a barrel, casting fresh uncertainty on a global economic expansion hamstrung by the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and the end of stimulus.

New York oil futures dropped 6.4% on Tuesday, extending their decline over the past week to more than 22%. Last week they exceeded $130 a barrel for the first time since the financial crisis, reflecting expectations that a war-related supply shock could be lasting. The trade was unraveled by cease-fire talks, bargain-hunting buyers of Russian oil in Asia and a reminder from China that the pandemic isn’t over yet.

   
 
 

U.S., U.K. to Kick Off Bilateral Trade, Investment Dialogues Next Week

WASHINGTON-The U.S. and the U.K. have agreed to start talks to deepen trade and investment ties, their first broad effort to promote bilateral trade since negotiations to forge a free-trade agreement between the two nations were suspended last year.

The discussions are aimed at closer collaboration on a range of issues including easing supply-chain congestion, decarbonizing their economies, promoting digital trade, supporting domestic workforces and labor rights, U.S. and U.K. officials said.

   
 
 

China’s New-Home Prices Fall Again Despite Efforts to Help Developers

BEIJING-New-home prices in China fell for a sixth consecutive month in February, as authorities’ efforts to ease policy restrictions for developers and boost buyer sentiment have yet to take effect.

Average new-home prices in 70 major cities edged 0.12% lower in February from January-according to Wall Street Journal calculations based on data released Wednesday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics-widening from January’s 0.04% decrease.

   
 
 

China Reports Lower Covid-19 Numbers Amid Nationwide Restrictions

HONG KONG-China reported 3,054 domestic coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with numbers falling from a day earlier, as authorities worked swiftly to contain outbreaks by ordering lockdowns and severely restricting the movement of people in the most affected areas.

Close to half of the reported cases were found in northeastern Jilin province. Since Monday, its 24 million people haven’t been allowed to leave the province as authorities race to halt the outbreak and prevent it from spreading.

   
 
 

Russia Softens Iran Demands, Re-Opening Way for Nuclear Deal

BERLIN-Russia walked back recently made demands on Washington related to the Iran nuclear deal, clearing the way for Tehran and Washington to revive the 2015 agreement, senior western diplomats said.

On Tuesday, after Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Moscow with his Iranian counterpart, both Mr. Lavrov and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Russia wasn’t standing in the way of the accord.

   
 
 

Biden to Announce $1 Billion in New Military Aid to Ukraine

WASHINGTON-President Biden is expected to announce a total of more than $1 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine’s government as early as Wednesday, according to U.S. officials, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to make a plea to Congress for more aid to defend his country against Russia’s invasion.

The $1.01 billion is expected to include more of the same kinds of military equipment the U.S. says the Ukrainians need the most: antiarmor and antiair systems, including portable air defenses such as Javelins and Stingers. The money would come from the roughly $13.6 billion allotted for Ukraine in the omnibus budget bill Mr. Biden signed Tuesday. The package Mr. Biden will announce includes the more than $200 million in support sent over the weekend and about another $800 million in new funding, for a total of more $1 billion.

   
 
 

Frazier Healthcare Partners Raises $986 Million Biotech Venture Fund

Frazier Healthcare Partners has raised $986 million for its latest venture fund, adding to the firm’s war chest to invest in biotech companies.

Frazier, which also raised an $830 million public-market fund in October, has now closed on more than $1.8 billion over the last few months for biotech investments. Several of the firm’s portfolio companies have either gone public or been acquired recently. Amunix Pharmaceuticals Inc., for instance, was bought by drugmaker Sanofi SA in February, while Lengo Therapeutics Inc. was acquired by biotech Blueprint Medicines Corp. in December.

   
 
 

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

March 16, 2022 06:00 ET (10:00 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.



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