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North American Morning Briefing: Tech Stocks Set -2-

01/06/2022 | 05:52am EDT

Hasbro Inc. named Chris Cocks as its chief executive, elevating the head of the toy company's Wizards of the Coast and digital-gaming division to fill the top job following the death of Brian Goldner in October.

Mr. Cocks, 48 years old, is a former Microsoft Corp. executive who joined Hasbro in 2016 to head up the division best known for the Magic: The Gathering card game and Dungeons & Dragons. As president and operating chief, he pushed the unit more into digital gaming, helping it to double revenue during his tenure to over $1 billion in 2021.

Derby's Take: Fed Minutes Flag Importance of Money Markets for Policy Shift

Money-market conditions were very much on the minds of Federal Reserve officials at their meeting last month as they began debating how quickly to withdraw monetary policy stimulus for the U.S. economy.

According to minutes of the mid-December gathering, officials believe they can likely draw down the size of the Fed's $8.8 trillion balance sheet sooner and more quickly after starting to raise interest rates than they did between 2017 and 2019, the last time the central bank worked to reduce the size of its holdings.

Jobless Claims Hold Near Historic Lows in Tight Labor Market

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits is estimated to have held near five-decade lows last week as firms struggle to remain fully staffed amid a resurgent pandemic.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect Thursday's Labor Department report to show initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, totaled a seasonally adjusted 195,000 for the week that ended Jan. 1. That would keep the four-week average for claims, which smooths out volatility, near last month's level, the lowest since 1969. The claims data will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Consumer Demand for Goods Likely Drove U.S. Import Surge During Holidays

U.S. consumer demand for goods and an easing of supply-chain constraints likely drove a surge in imports in November, pushing the trade deficit to a record.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate that the U.S. trade deficit widened in November to $81.5 billion. Backlogs at U.S. ports showed signs of easing in the fall, helping boost imports, while consumer spending was solid early in the holiday shopping season.

Despite Theranos and Other Disasters, Startup Founders Have More Power Than Ever

The verdict in the criminal trial of Elizabeth Holmes completes a chapter in the tangled tale of Theranos. Meanwhile, the power that founders wield over startups-for better or worse-is only growing.

A jury found Ms. Holmes guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy against investors in Theranos, the once-hot blood-testing company she founded and led into disaster.

China Services Activity Improved in December

A private gauge of China's services sector rebounded at the end of 2021 after falling in November, as both supply and demand improved.

The Caixin China services purchasing managers index increased to 53.1 in December from 52.1 in November, Caixin Media Co. and research company IHS Markit said Thursday.

Biden Steps Up Vaccine Push as U.S. Cases Surpass Records

President Biden stepped up his vaccination push as cases reported in the U.S. rose to new records, saying unvaccinated people would suffer the worst of the Omicron-driven surge in infections.

The development came as the U.K. national statistics agency estimated Wednesday that one-in-15 people in England had Covid-19 in the last week of December. The government there said it would try to ride out a record wave of infections without further restrictions. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macronlashed out at unvaccinated people.

German Manufacturing Orders Rose in November, Beating Forecasts

German manufacturing orders increased in November, beating expectations amid continuing supply-chain disruptions.

Manufacturing orders rose 3.7% on month in November in adjusted terms, following a revised 5.8% drop in October, according to data from federal statistics office Destatis released Thursday.

North Korea Says It Tested Hypersonic Missile

SEOUL-North Korea said it hit a target with a hypersonic missile, as the country seeks to put itself in the small club of countries developing the technology.

Pyongyang made that claim in state media on Thursday a day after the launch, which was its first weapons test since October.

Dozens Killed as Kazakhstan Cracks Down on Protest

MOSCOW-Dozens of people were killed in Kazakhstan on Thursday as authorities moved against protesters in the Central Asian nation after several days of unrest and an alliance of troops from former Soviet states arrived to support local forces.

Russian news agency TASS reported that dozens of attackers were killed as they stormed administrative buildings and the police department in Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city.

Russia-Led Force to Help Quell Kazakhstan Unrest

MOSCOW-Mass protests in Kazakhstan over an increase in fuel prices have prompted an alliance of former Soviet states to send troops to help support the country's president after the government of the Central Asian nation resigned and the leader imposed a state of emergency.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led intergovernmental military alliance, would send peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan "in view of the threat to national security...caused [among other things] by outside interference," Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the chair of the alliance's Collective Security Council, wrote Thursday in a statement on Facebook that was also posted on the Kremlin's website.

Anger at Xi'an Lockdown Spreads in China

Authorities in the Chinese city of Xi'an relented in some of their pandemic restrictions after a nationwide outcry over the account of a woman who lost her unborn baby in the eighth month of pregnancy after being denied medical attention for hours.

For two weeks, the city's 13 million residents have been confined to their homes in response to an outbreak in which about 1,800 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19, a big outbreak for China. Most of Xi'an's cases have been mild, authorities say, and no one has died of the virus. Still, the city has closed most public services in measures similar to those in Wuhan, the first epicenter of the coronavirus, two years ago. Only a limited number of Xi'an's hospitals have been open to non-Covid-19 patients.

Biden Leads Commemorations of Jan. 6 Capitol Riot

WASHINGTON-President Biden and congressional Democrats intend to mark the anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot with a somber day of remembrances at the Capitol, a year after supporters of then-President Donald Trump tried to block the certification of the election.

Mr. Biden intends to use his speech Thursday morning to note the historical significance of the anniversary, honor members of law enforcement who protected the Capitol and discuss steps to strengthen the nation's democracy and institutions, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. She said Mr. Biden will also address what she called the "singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw," citing his false claims of election fraud and actions the day of the attack.

Write to paul.larkins@dowjones.com TODAY IN CANADA

Earnings:

None scheduled

Economic Indicators (ET):

0815 Dec Official International Reserves

0830 Nov International merchandise trade

Stocks to Watch:

IGM Financial Subsidiary Buys 13.9% Stake in China Asset Management for C$1.15B Cash; Mackenzie Financial Acquiring ChinaAMC Stake From Power of Canada; Deal Will Double Mackenzie's Interest in ChinaAMC to 27.8%;

To Partially Fund ChinaAMC Deal, IGM Will Sell 15,200,662 Common Shrs of Great-West Lifeco to PCC for C$575M Cash; IGM's Holding in Lifeco Will Fall to 2.4% After Deal From 4% Now; IGM Will Fund Rest of Purchase With Existing Financial Resources;

IGM Expects ChinaAMC Deal to Be Earnings Accretive in First Year, Expects Transactions to Close in 1H; IGM's Purchase of PCC's Equity Interest in ChinaAMC and Sale of Lifeco Shrs Subject to Approvals in China

Stingray Expands Its Retail Media Network To The United States With The Acquisition Of InStore Audio Network; Acquires InStore Audio Network for Total Consideration of Up to Approximately C$59M Subject to a Specific Earn out Mechanism Set Forth in Purchase Agreement;

Stingray: Will Wholly Own and Operate InStore Audio Network, Under Continued Leadership and Direction of Its Current Management Team

Expected Major Events for Thursday

00:30/JPN: Dec Japan Services PMI

07:00/GER: Nov Manufacturing orders

07:00/GER: Nov Manufacturing turnover

09:00/GER: Dec Baden-Wuerttemberg CPI

09:00/GER: Dec Hesse CPI

09:00/GER: Dec Brandenburg CPI

09:00/UK: Dec UK monthly car registrations figures

09:30/GER: Dec North Rhine Westphalia CPI

09:30/UK: Dec UK Official Reserves

09:30/UK: Dec CIPS / Markit Services PMI

10:00/GER: Dec Saxony CPI

12:30/US: Dec Challenger Job-Cut Report

13:00/GER: Dec Provisional CPI

13:15/CAN: Dec Official International Reserves

13:30/CAN: Nov International merchandise trade

13:30/US: Nov U.S. International Trade in Goods & Services

13:30/US: 01/01 Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report - Initial Claims

13:30/US: U.S. Weekly Export Sales

14:45/US: Consumer Comfort Index

15:00/US: Nov Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories & Orders (M3)

15:00/US: Dec ISM Report On Business Services PMI

15:30/US: 12/31 EIA Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report

16:00/US: Dec Global Services PMI

17:00/US: Dec Monthly U.S. Retail Chain Store Sales Index

21:30/US: Federal Discount Window Borrowings

21:30/US: Foreign Central Bank Holdings

23:30/JPN: Dec CPI (Tokyo), CPI ex-Food (Tokyo)

23:30/JPN: Nov Household Spending

All times in GMT. Powered by Kantar Media and Dow Jones.

Expected Earnings for Thursday

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

01-06-22 0551ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (AUD/USD) -0.77% 0.7046 Delayed Quote.-2.40%
BELIEVE -2.53% 9.055 Real-time Quote.-44.99%
BRITISH POUND / US DOLLAR (GBP/USD) -0.30% 1.25051 Delayed Quote.-7.11%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (CAD/USD) -0.30% 0.77764 Delayed Quote.-1.14%
EURO / US DOLLAR (EUR/USD) -0.66% 1.0661 Delayed Quote.-6.03%
HASBRO, INC. -3.94% 81.61 Delayed Quote.-19.82%
IGM FINANCIAL INC. 0.14% 36.76 Delayed Quote.-19.42%
INDIAN RUPEE / US DOLLAR (INR/USD) -0.10% 0.012895 Delayed Quote.-3.95%
META PLATFORMS, INC. -7.62% 181.28 Delayed Quote.-46.10%
MICROSOFT CORPORATION -0.40% 259.62 Delayed Quote.-22.81%
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (NZD/USD) -0.01% 0.6444 Delayed Quote.-5.73%
POWER CORPORATION OF CANADA 1.54% 35.51 Delayed Quote.-15.05%
S&P 500 0.25% 3951.24 Real-time Quote.-17.30%
S&P GSCI NATURAL GAS INDEX 5.12% 434.5913 Real-time Quote.136.89%
STINGRAY GROUP INC. -1.68% 6.42 Delayed Quote.-8.02%
US DOLLAR / RUSSIAN ROUBLE (USD/RUB) 3.95% 58.601 Delayed Quote.-21.84%
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