Most markets higher 2nd day…Obamacare in court
BEIJING (AP) – Most Asian stock markets have risen for a second day on hopes progress toward a possible coronavirus vaccine might allow the world to revive manufacturing, shopping and normal life. The Nikkei gained 0.3% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.9%. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4%. In early trading, London and Frankfurt are higher. U.S. stock futures are higher.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – Joe Biden is championing the Obama administration’s signature health care law as so-called Obamacare goes before the Supreme Court in a case that could overturn it. The president-elect is delivering an Affordable Care Act speech today, the day the high court will hear arguments on its merits. The Supreme Court ruled eight years ago to leave intact the essential components of the law. But the court is now controlled 6-3 by a conservative majority. Biden’s speech reflects the importance he is putting on health care as he prepares to take office in January amid the worst pandemic in more than a century.
LONDON (AP) – The UK unemployment rate rose to its highest level since 2016 in the three months through September as the COVID-19 pandemic forced employers to shed workers. The rate increased to 4.8% in the period, up 0.3 percentage points from last month and a full percentage point from a year earlier. The figure is still well below the peak of 8.5% reached in late 2011 after the global financial crisis. That is largely thanks to a government furlough program that at one point supported a third of the workforce. The number of people on company payrolls has dropped by 782,000 since the start of the pandemic.
LONDON(AP) – The British government is refusing to withdraw legislation that breaks a legally binding Brexit treaty, despite a resounding rejection of the bill by the upper house of Parliament. The House of Lords voted by large margins late Monday to strip from the Internal Market Bill clauses that give the government power to break sections of the divorce agreement it signed with the European Union before the U.K. left the bloc in January. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government acknowledges that the bill breaches international law, and the legislation has been condemned by the EU, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and scores of British lawmakers, including many from Johnson’s Conservative Party.
SAO PAULO (AP) – Brazil’s health regulator has halted clinical trials of the potential coronanvirus vaccine CoronaVac, citing an “adverse, serious event.” The decision posted on Anvisa’s website did not give any details on what happened, but the action elicited surprise from parties involved in producing the vaccine. The potential vaccine is being developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac and would be produced locally by Sao Paulo’s state-run Butantan Institute. Sao Paulo state’s government says it “regrets being informed by the press and not directly by Anvisa, as normally occurs in clinical trials of this nature.”