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Futures Slide On Lack Of Stimulus Deal Progress, Vaccine Disappointment

Futures Slide On Lack Of Stimulus Deal Progress, Vaccine Disappointment

Tyler Durden

Tue, 12/08/2020 – 08:02

Global markets dropped for a second day and US equity futures fell as optimism that a fiscal stimulus deal would quickly…



Futures Slide On Lack Of Stimulus Deal Progress, Vaccine Disappointment Tyler Durden Tue, 12/08/2020 - 08:02

Global markets dropped for a second day and US equity futures fell as optimism that a fiscal stimulus deal would quickly pass in Congress fizzled and as investor focused on a rise in coronavirus infections and ever tougher lockdowns threaten to shutdown year-end holidays. A $5 billion "at the market" equity offering announcement by TSLA pushed futures to session lows.

At 7:20 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 148 points, or 0.5%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 19.50 points, or 0.52%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 45.5 points, or 0.38%. Among individual stocks,  Stitch Fix surged 36% pre-market after reporting fiscal first-quarter profit and revenue that beat analyst estimates for the heavily-shorted personal-styling company. Tesla fell 2.8% premarket after it unveiled plans to raise up to $5 billion in a Goldman-led stock offering, just days after Goldman upgraded the stock from Neutral to Buy.

"You saw more than a slight moderation to the S&P 500, and the Dow, but you’re still looking at these markets at record highs," said Tom Piotrowski, a market analyst with CommSec. "It’s a matter of looking out for what the next catalyst is for these markets."

In Europe, travel, retail and health care stocks led declines following a slump in Asia after Hong Kong announced it would start implementing some of its strictest social distancing measures since the pandemic began. The Stoxx 600 dropped 0.5%, with CAC 40 the regional underperformer. German sentiment, as measured by ZEW expectations survey, posted a modest rebound even as current conditions continued its slump deeper into negative territory.

Earlier in the session, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan narrowed its losses from early trade, but was still down 0.07% as anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic capped sentiment. Among Asia’s top markets, Australian shares closed higher for a sixth straight session, lifted by data showing an improvement in business sentiment. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to 6,687.7, adding about 3% in the past six sessions. However, Japan’s Nikkei 225 dipped 0.22% and Seoul’s Kospi lost 1.53%. Chinese blue-chips were down -0.2% with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sliding 0.8%, as Sino-U.S. tensions continued to weigh on the market.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi assured U.S. executives that Beijing remained committed to the Phase 1 trade deal with the United States. That came as a report showed China’s purchases of U.S. goods and services as of October, specified in the Phase 1 deal at $75.5 billion for 2020, was about half the level they should be on a pro-rated annual basis.

The S&P 500 and the Dow fell on Monday, but the Nasdaq closed at record levels as investors unwound the reflation trade and rushed back to technology mega-cap stocks which have thrived from the pandemic-induced shift to work from home. Positive developments related to the COVID-19 vaccine helped investors in recent weeks look past the surge in infections and raise bets on a swift economic recovery next year but late Monday news that Pfizer told administration officials that it cannot supply substantial additional vaccines until late June or July, hurt sentiment.

"Signs that traders have trimmed risk are there, with some focus on U.S. Covid trends,” Pepperstone head of research Chris Weston wrote. Renewed focus on trade tensions and the ongoing Brexit negotiations, suggests “this selective mindset is just the market sitting on its hands waiting for the next shoe to drop.”

Residents in California, the nation’s most populous state, faced new restrictions on Monday after record case numbers and hospitalizations, while officials in New York warned similar restrictions could come into effect soon. Nationwide, COVID-19 infections are at their peak, with an average of 193,863 new cases reported each day over the past week according a Reuters, and health officials warned that the worst is yet to come.

Traders are also closely watching whether Congress will be able to clinch an agreement on a long-awaited COVID-19 relief bill and a $1.4 trillion spending bill, with Friday eyed as a possible deadline to avoid a government shutdown. While hopes for another U.S. stimulus package fanned bullish sentiment, progress has stalled in recent days. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell top priority - federal limits on Covid-19 related lawsuits against businesses - has emerged as the key potential deal-breaker.

Congress will vote this week on a one-week stopgap funding bill to provide more time for lawmakers to reach a deal on both spending and pandemic relief; pressure has been mounting on policymakers to deliver a fresh infusion of aid to families and businesses reeling from the virus outbreak. Lawmakers enacted $3 trillion in aid earlier this year, but have not been able to agree on fresh relief since April.

In FX, the pound weakened for a third day with optimism for a breakthrough in Brexit talks continuing to fade. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he’s “very hopeful” of securing a trade deal with the European Union, but warned there may come a time to abandon negotiations if progress isn’t made. The dollar initially slid against most currencies as investors eyed potential stimulus and vaccine development, but has since rebounded and was mostly flat. The DXY index was little changed at 90.829, not far from 90.471, its weakest since April 2018.

In rates, the yield on the benchmark 10-year notes rose slightly to 0.9294% on Tuesday, with weakness across the curve before the start of this week’s coupon auction cycle with 3-year note sale, despite weakness in S&P 500 futures. Yields cheaper by about 1bp across long end of the curve, steepening 2s10s, 5s30s spreads slightly; 10-year around 0.93%, within 1bp of Monday’s close. Cash volumes were light during Asia session as buyers remained sidelined. Gilts, bunds outperform as hopes for a Brexit trade agreement fade.

In commodities, oil prices fell extending losses from the previous session. Brent crude fell 0.72% and traded around $48.6 and WTI dipped 0.57% toward $45. Prices came under pressure after Reuters reported the United States was prepping sanctions on at least a dozen Chinese officials over alleged roles in Beijing’s disqualification of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong. Spot gold prices were fractionally higher at $1,863.70 per ounce as investors bet on more stimulus money being pumped into the financial system.

It's a relatively quiet day: we get the latest German ZEW survey for December, which came in at 55.0, stronger than the 45.5 expected and up from 39.0, and from the US there’s the NFIB small business optimism index for November, which dropped to 101.4 from 104.0. Some other key events coming up include the ECB policy decision on Thursday, where economists widely expect the central bank to increase and extend its pandemic bond-buying program. The FDA meets to discuss the vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech on Thursday. If the FDA authorizes emergency use, Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said vaccine distribution could begin within 24 hours.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.4% to 3,677.50
  • MXAP down 0.1% to 193.50
  • MXAPJ down 0.07% to 641.96
  • Nikkei down 0.3% to 26,467.08
  • Topix down 0.1% to 1,758.81
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.8% to 26,304.56
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,410.18
  • Sensex up 0.5% to 45,657.42
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 6,687.73
  • Kospi down 1.6% to 2,700.93
  • Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.1% to 392.41
  • German 10Y yield fell 0.6 bps to -0.588%
  • Euro up 0.1% to $1.2125
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 1.4 bps to 0.499%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 0.2 bps to 0.054%
  • Brent futures down 0.3% to $48.65/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,864.20
  • U.S. dollar Index little changed at 90.77

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • The U.K.’s National Health Service launched what it has called the biggest immunization campaign in its history, starting Covid vaccinations across the country
  • Yoshihide Suga unveiled some of the details of his first stimulus package as Japan’s prime minister on Tuesday amid an increase in virus cases and a slide in support for his cabinet that are an early test of his leadership
  • Poland’s prime minister launched a broadside on the European Union’s push to link funding to democratic values, ratcheting up tension over his country’s decision to derail the bloc’s $2.2 trillion spending package with Hungary. EU officials have given the two countries hours to offer a clear signal that they’ll lift their veto as early as Tuesday, according to people with knowledge of the talks
  • Jake Sullivan, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for national security adviser, expressed guarded optimism for restoring the nuclear accord with Iran even as the country has moved closer to developing nuclear weapons
  • President- elect Joe Biden plans to nominate retired Army General Lloyd Austin as defense secretary, according to three people familiar with the decision, making him the first African American to lead the Pentagon
  • With most funding markets showing rising dollar premiums for the year-end, it may not be long before the benchmark Libor fixing comes under pressure too

A quick look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asian equity markets were mixed after an uninspiring handover from the US where stocks pulled back from record levels amid infection and lockdown concerns with underperformance in cyclicals front-running the declines, although the Nasdaq outperformed and extended on record levels as growth stocks were favoured and with Tesla in the driving seat heading into its S&P 500 inclusion later this month. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was kept afloat by strength in gold miners after recent upside in the precious metal and as tech was inspired by the resilience of the sector stateside, with an improvement in business survey data adding to the tailwinds, while the Nikkei 225 (-0.1%) was subdued by ongoing currency strength although the announcement of a widely flagged JPY 73.6tln stimulus package and better than expected Final Q3 GDP, which grew at the fastest pace since comparable data was available in 1994 at 5.3% Q/Q and 22.9% annualized growth, has cushioned the losses for the index. Hang Seng (-0.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch.) lagged for most the session after the US confirmed new Hong Kong related sanctions on 14 members of the National People's Congress despite warnings of strong countermeasures by China’s Foreign Ministry, with Hong Kong also pressured by increased restrictions and as JD Health’s debut stole the limelight with gains of more than 50% from its IPO price. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher after breaking back above the 152.00 level amid the subdued mood for Tokyo stocks and recent bull flattening in USTs, with further upside seen following stronger metrics at the 5yr JGB auction.

Top Asian News

  • A 562% Stock Rally, a $23 Billion Firm But Zero Analyst Coverage
  • China Fortune Land 2022 Dollar Bond Drops Most on Record
  • Asia’s Markets Are Red Hot And the Money Just Keeps Pouring In
  • Electric Cars Lead as China Auto Sales Rise for Fifth Month

European equities trade with little in the way of firm direction (Eurostoxx 50 -0.4%) in what has been a relatively uninspiring session thus far. Stocks in the region initially resided in modest negative territory with a mildly anti-cyclical bias before heading towards the unchanged mark. Stateside, the initial growth/value divergence between the e-mini Nasdaq and Russell which favoured the former has since narrowed whilst the e-mini S&P trades near-enough flat. From a macro perspective, not a great deal has changed throughout the session with Brexit dominating the focus in Europe, whilst elevated COVID levels and budget/stimulus talks in the US take the fore. On the latter, the House will conduct a vote on a 1-week continuing resolution on Wednesday to provide lawmakers more time to work on government spending and virus relief. Sectors in Europe are currently mixed with travel & leisure names near the bottom of the pile with InterContinentalHotels (-3.0%) a laggard in the sector after being downgraded to underperform from hold at Jefferies. AstraZeneca (-1.5%) are marginally lower on the session with Health Care names faring marginally worse than peers with the UK vaccine task force acknowledging that only 4mln doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered this year vs. the projected production of 30mln by year-end in the UK due to manufacturing delay. To the upside, German-listed auto-supplier Hella (+6.4%) sit at the top of the Stoxx 600 after raising FY20/21 guidance, whilst ASM International (+4.5%) and Lanxess (+1.5%) are also firmer on the session after broker upgrades at JP Morgan Chase and UBS respectively.

Top European News

  • Johnson Set for Brussels Crisis Talks as Brexit Hopes Fade
  • British Businesses Slam Last-Minute Brexit as Talks Sputter
  • Macron and Merkel Agree to Keep Brexit Off EU Summit’s Agenda

In FX, the broader Dollar and Index trade on a modestly softer footing but remain caged - with the latter meandering within a tight 90.750-989 intraday band thus far amidst a lack of fresh fundamental newsflow and catalysts. State-side, government funding and COVID-relief hold onto attention with the former anticipated to see a one-week stopgap resolution as per Senate Majority Leader McConnel, but COVID-19 relief is proving to be tricker with no concrete compromises seen thus far from either side, but with some mild optimism expressed by the Democrats. From a technical standpoint, yesterday’s 90.612 low could prove to be a support level ahead of 90.500 and Friday’s 90.471 low, whilst to the upside, Monday’s 91.241 peak could act as a point of resistance above the 91.00 psychological mark.

  • GBP, EUR - Sterling narrowly underperforms G10 peers as eyes remain on Brexit developments after the phone call between UK PM Johnson and EU’s von der Leyen failed to narrow the outstanding gaps in talks, with the two set to meet at some point this week. The timetable for this meeting remains in limbo but is touted to take place tomorrow, in-fitting with Brexit Negotiator Barnier’s Wednesday deadline ahead of the European Council summit on Thursday and Friday. Cable sees itself around 1.3350 having had waned off its current 1.3377 intraday peak, with the 21 DMA seen around 1.3308. Subsequently, the softer GBP has provided the EUR with some reprieve via the cross whereby EUR/GBP continues to inch closer to 0.9100 (vs. low 0.9050) having had notched a high of 0.9140 during yesterday’s session. As such, EUR/USD retains its 1.2100+ status after briefly dipping below the figure on account of early-morning Dollar inflows.
  • AUD, NZD, CAD, JPY, CHF - The non-US dollars all trade modestly firmer against the Buck but with gains relatively broad-based as opposed to idiosyncratic factors. AUD/USD makes headway above 0.7400 (vs. low 0.7405) but remains below yesterday’s 0.7453 high, whilst its Kiwi counterpart meanders around 0.7050 (vs. low 0.7027) as it closes in on Monday’s 0.7064 peak. The Loonie sees some gains in conjunction with a recovery in oil prices, but the currency is not an outlier an in terms of gains vs. its antipodean peers. USD/CAD remains sub-1.2800 as the pair failed to take out support around the 1.2772-74 region which held throughout the prior two sessions. The traditional safe havens meanwhile trade flat vs the Dollar – USD/JPY trades on either side of 104.00 and within recent ranges, whilst USD/CHF sees similar price action on either side of 0.8900.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures have trimmed overnight losses to trade around the unchanged mark at the time of writing despite a distinct lack of fresh news flow for the complex. Earlier modest losses in the complex came alongside some COVID-19 developments whereby Germany is poised to discuss tighter restriction this week, whilst AstraZeneca informed of some manufacturing delays in its COVID-19 vaccine following a similar announcement by Pfzier and BioNTech last week. On the flip side, early trial data from SinoVac's vaccine candidate pointed to an efficacy level of around 97%. WTI Jan resides around USD 45.50/bbl (vs. low 45.14/bbl) whilst Brent Feb sees itself under USD 48.75/bbl (vs. low 48.09/bbl). Looking ahead, ING holds a constructive view with regards to crude markets amid the OPEC+ output reductions coupled with a continued recovery in demand, with the Dutch bank forecasting ICE Brent to average USD 55/bbl over 2021 with prices around USD 60/bbl by the end of next year. The analysts also touch upon the Iranian sanction wind-down under a Biden administration, which sees around 1.5-2mln BPD of supply back in the market, but the timing of this is unknown. "If we were to see a fairly quick return of Iranian supply over 1H21, this could put some pressure on the market, with the market likely finding it difficult to absorb additional barrels. However, if we only see Iranian supply starting to come back in the latter part of next year, the market should be able to digest this oil more easily, given expectations of demand continuing to recover as we move through the year", the bank states. Elsewhere, spot gold and spot silver are relatively uneventful but hold onto a lion's share of yesterday's gains, with the former still north of USD 1850/oz (vs high 1872/oz) and the latter above USD 24.50/oz (vs. high 24.75/oz). In terms of base metals, iron ore prices in China continued to rally amid the ongoing constructive demand outlook. On the other hand, LME copper prices are softer as the red metal tracks the lacklustre risk sentiment in markets.

US Event Calendar

  • 6am: NFIB Small Business Optimism, est. 102.5, prior 104
  • 8:30am: Nonfarm Productivity, est. 4.9%, prior 4.9%
  • 8:30am: Unit Labor Costs, est. -8.9%, prior -8.9%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Having reached all-time highs at the end of the last week, global equity markets fluctuated yesterday as investors waited for more news on both the US stimulus talks as well as the latest Brexit negotiations. By the close, the S&P 500 had retraced slightly from its record close on Friday, with a -0.19 % decline, as cyclicals including energy (-2.44%) and financials (-0.70%) led the moves lower. Tech stocks continued to advance however, with the NASDAQ (+0.45%) hitting yet another all-time high, as the index was supported by strong performances from Tesla (+7.13%), Facebook (+2.10%) and Apple (+1.23%). Tesla’s climb now makes it the 8th largest company in the world with a market cap of $608bn and in the S&P 500 will only be behind Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook when it enters the index on December 21st. It’s now only around $5bn smaller than the next seven largest global auto makers combined, including Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler and GM. It’s a valuation that’s hard to comprehend really. Over the other side of the pond, equities in Europe also saw a slight pullback, with the STOXX 600 down -0.30% from its post-pandemic high on Friday.

In terms of the latest on Brexit there is a high-stakes game continuing but markets at a global level only really have a passing interest, and at the moment it feels that Sterling is going to be the main swing factor in any deal or no deal situation. The latest is that UK Prime Minister Johnson held a call with European Commission President von der Leyen yesterday, but in a joint statement the two “agreed that the conditions for finalizing an agreement were not there due to the remaining significant differences on three critical issues”, with those being the long-standing sticking points of the level-playing field, governance and fisheries. Johnson will now be going to Brussels for emergency talks “in the coming days”, with speculation that this could be as soon as tomorrow since on Thursday a summit of EU leaders is taking place there. Though an in-person meeting was taken by some as a positive sign, along with the fact the two sides are still talking, a UK government source said to journalists that “"Whilst we do not consider this process to be closed, things are looking very tricky and there’s every chance we are not going to get there.”

Staying on Brexit, UK MPs voted yesterday to re-insert the controversial provisions in the Internal Market Bill that the House of Lords had previously taken out of the legislation. However, in a positive development in terms of the likelihood of reaching a deal, the UK government released a statement earlier in the day saying that they would be prepared to remove or deactivate the controversial clauses in the event that the solutions being considered in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee in regard to the Northern Ireland protocol were agreed. This is actually separate to the trade talks since it relates to the application of the already-reached Withdrawal Agreement, but the potential threat to breach this deal had thrown a spanner into the works of the trade talks since the EU felt the UK wasn’t honouring its word on something it had already agreed to.

In terms of the market reaction, sterling lost ground against the other major currencies, weakening -0.45% against the US Dollar (-1.58% at the morning lows), and -0.31% against the Euro, with the moves in turn helping the multinational-dominated FTSE 100 to outperform other European indices, with a +0.08% advance. It’s apparent that investors are pricing in a lot of volatility into sterling in the coming days, with 1-week implied sterling/dollar volatility at its highest levels since March this morning. Meanwhile gilts outperformed sovereign bond markets elsewhere, with 10yr yields down -6.8bps, in their largest one-day decline since June.

Overnight in Asia, equity markets have followed the US lower, with the Nikkei (-0.23%), the Hang Seng (-0.61%), the Shanghai Comp (-0.25%) and the KOSPI (-0.86%) all losing ground. In Japan, Prime Minister Suga announced a new stimulus package worth $708bn as the country grapples with a renewed surge in coronavirus cases, though the measures announced are smaller in size than those seen after two extra budgets earlier this year. It came as revised data overnight showed the country’s economy grew by an annualised +22.9% in Q3, stronger than the +21.4% initially reported. Over in the US meanwhile, S&P 500 futures are also pointing lower, down -0.26%.

On the coronavirus, today the UK will be the first Western country to begin vaccinations, using the Pfizer/BioNTech shot that was cleared in the country last week. The over-80s will be the first to get it, along with workers in care homes and front-line health services. However, though attention will now begin to shift to the distribution of a vaccine, there are still the difficult winter months to get through before widespread vaccinations have taken place. Indeed, Dr Fauci in the US warned yesterday that the Christmas holiday “could be even more of a challenge than what we saw with Thanksgiving”, while Denmark announced a partial lockdown from December 9, with 38 of 98 municipalities seeing the closure of restaurants and bars, while students in grade 5 and above will be sent home. France apparently will not reach the previously set thresholds to lift the country’s lockdown measures, with daily new Covid-19 cases sitting at over two times the targeted level. The Liberation newspaper reported that the government is now considering alternatives to ending the stay-at-home measures on December 15.

There were further stimulus negotiations in the US, where lawmakers from both parties seem set to postpone the originally planned Friday deadline to pass the new bill. The sticking points remain the same as they have been since spring. The delay is also affecting the omnibus bill that would fund the government into next year, though there is a vote set for tomorrow for a one-week continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown. Regardless there was some optimism as House Majority Leader Hoyer noted that “Not getting a deal done, is not on the table from my perspective.”

US Treasuries advanced against this backdrop, and 10yr yields fell -4.3bps to 0.923% having flirted with 1% on Friday afternoon. That coincided with a broader move lower in yields on both sides of the Atlantic, with those on 10yr bunds (-3.5bps), OATs (-3.1bps) and BTPs (-1.5bps) also moving lower. Furthermore, the US dollar (+0.10%) stabilised yesterday after reaching a 2-year low on Friday.

Finally, the only data of note yesterday was German industrial production, which rose by a stronger-than-expected +3.2% in October (vs. +1.6% expected), while the previous month was also revised to show stronger growth. That leaves the year-on-year reading showing just a -3.0% contraction, which is the smallest annual contraction since February, before the pandemic became widespread in Europe.

To the day ahead now, and the aforementioned Brexit negotiations and US fiscal bill will likely remain in focus. Otherwise, the data highlights include the German ZEW survey for December, and from the US there’s the NFIB small business optimism index for November.

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Spread & Containment

Middle-aged Americans in US are stressed and struggle with physical and mental health – other nations do better

Adults in Germany, South Korea and Mexico reported improvements in health, well-being and memory.

Middle age was often a time to enjoy life. Now, it brings stress and bad health to many Americans, especially those with lower education levels. Mike Harrington/Getty Images

Midlife was once considered a time to enjoy the fruits of one’s years of work and parenting. That is no longer true in the U.S.

Deaths of despair and chronic pain among middle-aged adults have been increasing for the past decade. Today’s middle-aged adults – ages 40 to 65 – report more daily stress and poorer physical health and psychological well-being, compared to middle-aged adults during the 1990s. These trends are most pronounced for people who attained fewer years of education.

Although these trends preclude the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19’s imprint promises to further exacerbate the suffering. Historical declines in the health and well-being of U.S. middle-aged adults raises two important questions: To what extent is this confined to the U.S., and will COVID-19 impact future trends?

My colleagues and I recently published a cross-national study, which is currently in press, that provides insights into how U.S. middle-aged adults are currently faring in relation to their counterparts in other nations, and what future generations can expect in the post-COVID-19 world. Our study examined cohort differences in the health, well-being and memory of U.S. middle-aged adults and whether they differed from middle-aged adults in Australia, Germany, South Korea and Mexico.

A middle-aged woman looking sad sitting in front of artwork.
Susan Stevens poses for a photograph in her daughter Toria’s room with artwork Toria left behind at their home in Lewisville, N.C. Toria died from an overdose. Eamon Queeney/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

US is an outlier among rich nations

We compared people who were born in the 1930s through the 1960s in terms of their health and well-being – such as depressive symptoms and life satisfaction – and memory in midlife.

Differences between nations were stark. For the U.S., we found a general pattern of decline. Americans born in the 1950s and 1960s experienced overall declines in well-being and memory in middle age compared to those born in the 1930s and 1940s. A similar pattern was found for Australian middle-aged adults.

In contrast, each successive cohort in Germany, South Korea and Mexico reported improvements in well-being and memory. Improvements were observed in health for each nation across cohorts, but were slowed for Americans born in the 1950s and 1960s, suggesting they improved less rapidly than their counterparts in the countries examined.

Our study finds that middle-aged Americans are experiencing overall declines in key outcomes, whereas other nations are showing general improvements. Our cross-national approach points to policies that could could help alleviate the long-term effects arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will COVID-19 exacerbate troubling trends?

Initial research on the short-term effects of COVID-19 is telling.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the fragility of life. Seismic shifts have been experienced in every sphere of existence. In the U.S., job loss and instability rose, household financial fragility and lack of emergency savings have been spotlighted, and children fell behind in school.

At the start of the pandemic the focus was rightly on the safety of older adults. Older adults were most vulnerable to the risks posed by COVID-19, which included mortality, social isolation and loneliness. Indeed, older adults were at higher risk, but an overlooked component has been how the mental health risks and long-haul effects will likely differ across age groups.

Yet, young adults and middle-aged adults are showing the most vulnerabilities in their well-being. Studies are documenting that they are currently reporting more psychological distress and stressors and poorer well-being, compared to older adults. COVID-19 has been exacerbating inequalities across race, gender and socioeconomic status. Women are more likely to leave the workforce, which could further strain their well-being.

A older women hugs her daughter.
Middle-aged people often have parents to take care of as well as children. Ron Levine/Getty Images

Changing views and experiences of midlife

The very nature and expectations surrounding midlife are shifting. U.S. middle-aged adults are confronting more parenting pressures than ever before, in the form of engagement in extracurricular activities and pressures for their children to succeed in school. Record numbers of young adults are moving back home with their middle-aged parents due to student loan debt and a historically challenging labor and housing market.

A direct effect of gains in life expectancy is that middle-aged adults are needing to take on more caregiving-related duties for their aging parents and other relatives, while continuing with full-time work and taking care of school-aged children. This is complicated by the fact that there is no federally mandated program for paid family leave that could cover instances of caregiving, or the birth or adoption of a child. A recent AARP report estimated that in 2020, there were 53 million caregivers whose unpaid labor was valued at US$470 billion.

The restructuring of corporate America has led to less investment in employee development and destabilization of unions. Employees now have less power and input than ever before. Although health care coverage has risen since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, notable gaps exist. High numbers of people are underinsured, which leads to more out-of-pocket expenses that eat up monthly budgets and financially strain households. President Biden’s executive order for providing a special enrollment period of the health care marketplace exchange until Aug. 15, 2021 promises to bring some relief to those in need.

Promoting a prosperous midlife

Our cross-national approach provides ample opportunities to explore ways to reverse the U.S. disadvantage and promote resilience for middle-aged adults.

The nations we studied vastly differ in their family and work policies. Paid parental leave and subsidized child care help relieve the stress and financial strain of parenting in countries such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Research documents how well-being is higher in both parents and nonparents in nations with more generous family leave policies.

Countries with ample paid sick and vacation days ensure that employees can take time off to care for an ailing family member. Stronger safety nets protect laid-off employees by ensuring that they have the resources available to stay on their feet.

In the U.S., health insurance is typically tied to one’s employment. Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic over 5 million people in the U.S. lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs.

During the pandemic, the U.S. government passed policy measures to aid people and businesses. The U.S. approved measures to stimulate the economy through stimulus checks, payroll protection for small businesses, expansion of unemployment benefits and health care enrollment, child tax credits, and individuals’ ability to claim forbearance for various forms of debt and housing payments. Some of these measures have been beneficial, with recent findings showing that material hardship declined and well-being improved during periods when the stimulus checks were distributed.

I believe these programs are a good start, but they need to be expanded if there is any hope of reversing these troubling trends and promoting resilience in middle-aged Americans. A recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concluded that paid family leave has a wide range of benefits, including, but not limited to, addressing health, racial and gender inequities; helping women stay in the workforce; and assisting businesses in recruiting skilled workers. Research from Germany and the United Kingdom shows how expansions in family leave policies have lasting effects on well-being, particularly for women.

Middle-aged adults form the backbone of society. They constitute large segments of the workforce while having to simultaneously bridge younger and older generations through caregiving-related duties. Ensuring their success, productivity, health and well-being through these various programs promises to have cascading effects on their families and society as a whole.

[Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.]

Frank J. Infurna receives funding from the National Institute on Aging and previously from the John Templeton Foundation. The content is solely his responsibility and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

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Euro 2020 – a football tournament where the big players come from China and the US

Much of the money that pays for the competition is spent to build global brands.

Simon Lehmann / Alamy Stock Photo

With Euro 2020 now under way after a year of pandemic delay, football fans will be hoping for great performances from Europe’s finest players. Some of us will watch the tournament unfold on our Hisense televisions, and many will choose to order in some half time refreshments, maybe via the Just Eat delivery service, possibly sent using a Vivo mobile phone.

Sustained by cans of Heineken, as goals are scored, supporters will upload celebration clips on to TikTok. And after the final, what better way to recharge than by arranging a holiday on, perhaps flying on Qatar Airways.

For while fans will have their eyes firmly fixed on the efforts of players worth billions of pounds on the field, another big money game will be taking place off it. The Euros is one of the world’s biggest sport events, and a bonanza for corporate sponsors and partners (just a few of which are mentioned above).

In return for being exposed to the eyes of the world, Euros sponsors pay huge amounts of money. Just how much is difficult to say, as fees are commercially sensitive data. But in one case – that of Alipay (part of the Alibaba empire) – it is believed the Chinese company paid £176 million for an eight year deal.

UEFA has sold these deals in three ways: National Team Football Official Sponsors, Euro 2020 Official Sponsors, and Euro 2020 Official Licensees. And the origins of the companies and brands sponsoring this year’s event are a clear indication of how the beautiful game is valued by the corporate world.

Alongside UEFA partners such as FedEx and Konami, each of the national teams bring their own roster of sponsors, which makes for quite a cluttered selection of brands competing for attention. There’s England’s £50 million, five-year contract with BT, for example, while the Germans will bring Lufthansa to the tournament, Carlsberg will promote its association with Denmark and South Korea’s Hyundai will be represented by the Czech Republic.

The list goes on (and on). To capture the complex network of sponsors at Euro 2020 we created a network graphic of some of the most prominent and significant deals on show over the coming weeks. For reasons of clarity, we wern’t able to include every sponsor, but the range on display is revealing.

Graphic of Euro 2020 teams and sponsors.
Euro 2020 teams and associated sponsors. Paul Widdop and Simon Chadwick, Author provided

What becomes immediately clear is that although the UEFA European Championship is a continental tournament, its commercial reach is truly global. A significant number of sponsors are either not European or else have divisions that operate way beyond the borders of Europe.

At the same time, the sponsorship portfolio shows us that football is at the heart of the entertainment, lifestyle and digital economies. Gone are the days of motor-oil and office photocopier sponsorships. Instead we see a profusion of drinks brands, confectionery products and airlines.

In addition, the sponsorship of teams appears to go hand-in-hand with the promotion of national identity and national industry. “Brand Germany” for instance, is strongly represented by some of the country’s most important corporations, including Adidas and Volkswagen.

The appearance of Gazprom meanwhile, reflects the increasing use by nations of sponsorship as a geopolitical instrument. Indeed, the state owned Russian gas company has recently put its associations with UEFA and others to influential use.

Europe’s own goal

Equally, “Brand China” is now a major industrial and political power, and home to five of UEFA’s biggest tournament sponsors (Alipay, Antchain, Hisense, TikTok and Vivo).

Corporate America continues to endure too, represented by the likes of Coca Cola and IMG. The US has always been the home of contemporary sport sponsorship, and the country’s businesses continue to derive significant commercial value from it.

In fact, the underdogs in this big-money corporate competition appear to be the Europeans themselves. For an event being staged in countries including England, Italy, Spain and Romania, UEFA draws very few of its sponsors from the continent. Instead, it is clear that organisations from China and the US have both the financial muscle and the tactical brains to successfully dominate the tournament.

This reflects broader global trends which indicate the declining presence of European industry. European companies account for a falling percentage of global output. The market capitalisation of European firms is way behind that of American corporations and is fast being caught by Chinese firms. And the world’s technological hot spots are found in places such as Shenzhen and Silicon Valley, not in Europe.

Whether the footballing squad from France, Portugal or Switzerland lifts the trophy in July, there is no doubt that the UEFA tournament will be an on field triumph for Europe.

But the forces of globalisation, digitalisation and politico-economic change, reflected in the Euros’ portfolio of sponsors, will keep on playing long after the final whistle blows. And European industry could pay the penalty with a swift exit from the global industrial competition.

Simon Chadwick works with UEFA on its Certificate in Football Management programme.

Paul Widdop ne travaille pas, ne conseille pas, ne possède pas de parts, ne reçoit pas de fonds d'une organisation qui pourrait tirer profit de cet article, et n'a déclaré aucune autre affiliation que son organisme de recherche.

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EU adds another rare blood condition as side effect of AstraZeneca shot

Europe’s drug regulator on June 11 identified another rare blood condition as a potential side effect of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and said it was looking into cases of heart inflammation after inoculation with all coronavirus shots.



EU adds another rare blood condition as side effect of AstraZeneca shot

(Reuters; )

Europe’s drug regulator on Friday identified another rare blood condition as a potential side effect of AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine and said it was looking into cases of heart inflammation after inoculation with all coronavirus shots.

The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) safety committee said that capillary leak syndrome must be added as a new side effect to labelling on AstraZeneca’s vaccine, known as Vaxzevria.

People who had previously sustained the condition, where fluids leak from the smallest blood vessels causing swelling and a drop in blood pressure, should not receive the shot, the EMA added.

The regulator first began looking into these cases in April and the recommendation adds to AstraZeneca’s woes after its vaccine was associated with very rare and potentially lethal cases of blood clotting that come with a low platelet count.

Last month, the EMA had advised against using the second AstraZeneca shot for people with that clotting condition, known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

The committee reviewed six validated cases of capillary leak syndrome in people, mostly women, who had received Vaxzevria, including one death. Three had had a history of the condition.

A vial of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is seen at a vaccination centre in Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, February 18, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

AstraZeneca declined to immediately comment.

More than 78 million Vaxzevria doses have been administered in the European Union, Liechtenstein, Iceland & Norway and Britain.

Britain’s regulator, the MHRA said on Thursday it had received 8 reports of capillary leak syndrome in the context of more than 40 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine given, and currently does not see a causal link.

Separately, the EMA said it was continuing its probe into cases of heart inflammation known as myocarditis and pericarditis, primarily following inoculation with the Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), (22UAy.DE) and Moderna mRNA shots, but also after the J&J (JNJ.N) and AstraZeneca vaccines.

U.S. health officials said on Thursday they had registered a higher-than-expected number of heart inflammation cases in young men who received a second dose of the mRNA shots, though a causal relationship could not be established. read more

Israel’s Health Ministry said this month it had found a likely link to the condition in young men who received the Pfizer/BioNTech shot. read more

Both Pfizer and Moderna have acknowldged the observations but said a causal association with their vaccines has not been established.

BioNTech said adverse events, including myocarditis and pericarditis, are being regularly and thoroughly reviewed by the companies and regulatory authorities.

“More than 300 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been administered globally and the benefit risk profile of our vaccine remains positive.”

The United States and Israel have been months ahead of the EU in vaccinating men below 30, who are particularly prone to heart inflammation, giving them potentially more cases to analyse.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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