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More gunshots have fueled tensions in Hong Kong, Sydney faces a “catastrophic” fire warning, and Boeing soared after providing more detail on how soon the 737 Max will return to the skies. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Fake news is taking a sinister role in stoking violence in Hong Kong. As anti-government protests stretch into their 23rd straight week, the city is being inundated with online rumors, fake news and propaganda from both sides of the political divide. Soon after a 22-year-old student Alex Chow fell off the edge of a parking garage last week, allegations that he was chased — and maybe even pushed — by police began spreading on social media and messaging apps. Never mind that the claims were unsubstantiated: Hundreds of protesters seized on Chow’s Nov. 8 death to engage in clashes with police that resulted in one person being shot on Monday, and another st on fire. Both remain in critical condition. The day’s chaos also showed the strains facing Hong Kong’s police, which the China-appointed government has relied on to suppress increasingly violent protests aimed at securing greater democracy.
Stocks in Asia looked set to claw back some of Monday’s losses as investors awaited further developments on a trade deal and kept an eye on the volatile situation in Hong Kong, while the dollar fell for the first time in six days. Futures pointed higher in Tokyo, Sydney and Hong Kong, where shares dropped as much as 3% Monday to lead a slide in regional markets on continued unrest in the city. In the U.S., the S&P 500 Index dropped for the first time in four sessions on below average volume. Treasuries were closed for the Veterans’ Day holiday, and the pound rallied as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s efforts to leave the European Union got a boost from the Brexit Party. Elsewhere, emerging market shares fell the most in more than two months. Crude oil edged lower.
Sydney in Smoke
After Sydney was issued a “ catastrophic” fire danger warning for Tuesday — the highest level that’s ever been issued for Australia’s largest city — waking up to the smell of smoke came as no surprise to Sydney-siders this morning. As the country’s bushfire season becomes longer and more intense, the threat to lives and homes across the nation has grown. High temperatures and strong winds are expected to fan more than 50 fires burning across New South Wales state, with authorities warning that embers could be blown 30 kilometers from the numerous fire fronts and trigger more outbreaks. With three people dead and 150 homes destroyed in recent days, and almost million hectares of land burned this season, the fires have thrust the threat posed by global warming back into the headlines in a nation that gets the bulk of its energy from burning coal. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has largely sidestepped the issue of climate change when asked about the bushfires.
Boeing surged the most since June after providing more detail on how the 737 Max will return to the skies — even as the company backed away from saying the grounded jet would win full regulatory approval next month. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is on track to certify redesigned flight-control software by mid-December, Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Monday in an email. That could enable the planemaker to begin shipping new jets that have been stashed away across the Pacific Northwest and Texas during a flying ban imposed back in March, after two crashes killed 346 people. While the Max won’t be cleared to resume commercial flights until regulators also sign off on updated training material for pilots — expected to occur in January — the more detailed road map eased investor jitters over Boeing’s prospects.
Farage Forgoes Fight
It’s been all quiet on the Brexit front for a couple of days, but now, Nigel Farage has boosted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chances of winning a majority by dramatically announcing his Brexit Party won’t fight to oust Conservatives at next month’s U.K. general election. The pound rose on the news. The Brexit Party leader told a rally in Hartlepool, northeast England, on Monday that it was a difficult decision to stand down candidates in the 317 seats the Tories won in the last national vote in 2017, but said he’s reassured by Johnson’s plans for a sharper split with the European Union. Farage said he’s “unilaterally” creating an “alliance” for Brexit to stop pro-EU politicians winning seats, as a means of preventing a triggering of a second referendum to keep Britain in the bloc.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
Alibaba smashes last year’s Singles’ Day sales record. Apple Card’s sex-bias issue shows AI hasn’t tackled a ’70s problem. Malaysia’s airline-safety ranking has been downgraded. WeWork is searching for a new CEO to turn around the troubled co-working company. A $100 billion fund manager is debunking stock-bubble theories. A record $173 billion is flowing from Korea into riskier assets. This Patek Philippe watch just sold for $31 million.
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