Oil Futures End Year’s Last Trading Day On A High Note

Palisade Bio Spikes; Announces $2.5 Mln Of Share Offering

Palisade Bio, Inc. (PALI) shares surge more than 77 percent on Friday morning. The clinical biopharma company announced $2.5 million registered direct offering of shares and concurrent private placement priced above market under Nasdaq rules. The company had regained listing with the Nasdaq early this month.

Palisade Bio said it intends to use the net proceeds from the financing for working capital and general corporate purposes. The closing of the offering is expected on or about January 4, 2022.

Currently, shares are at $5.70, up 77.02 percent from the previous close of $3.22 on a volume of 30,137,308.

Rogers Communications Climbs After Competition Tribunal Approves Merger Deal With Shaw

Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI) shares are gaining more than 5 percent on Friday morning trade after the Canadian Competition Tribunal ruled that the merger of Rogers with Shaw Communications Inc. (SJR) is not likely to result in materially higher prices or a decline in service or innovation. The Tribunal also noted that the Federal Antitrust Commissioner failed to prove that the deal would cause significant harm to competition in the industry. The merger deal is worth $14.8 billion

Currently, shares are at $47.47, up 5.38 percent from the previous close of $45.05 on a volume of 341,021.

Futu Holdings Tanks 25% As CSRC Orders To Stop Access For New Onshore Traders

Shares of Hong Kong-based financial services company Futu Holdings Limited (FUTU), slipped nearly 25% on Friday morning after China asked two cross-border brokerages to rectify “illegal” business activities.

FUTU is currently trading at $44.53, down $14.38 or 24.41%, on the Nasdaq, on a huge volume of 13.2 million shares, above average volume of 2.4 million. The stock opened its trading at $44.30 after closing previous day at $58.91. The stock has traded between $21.23 and $72.20 in the past 52-week period.

China’s securities regulator ordered Futu Holdings and Tiger Brokers to stop giving new onshore traders access to global equities.

Existing onshore clients can still trade via the brokerages but additional fund transfers via non-compliant channels to their accounts will be banned, it added.

The two online brokers had allowed China-based investors to transact in offshore equities “for the past few years,” and were deemed to have operated illegally, the regulator said.

Gold Futures Settle Flat

Gold futures settled roughly flat on Friday, despite the dollar losing some ground.

The dollar index dropped to 103.39, losing nearly 0.5%.

Gold futures for February settled at $1,826.20 an ounce, up $0.20 from the previous close, after moving in a very tight range between $1,819.80 and $1,831.80.

Gold futures, which tumbled to more than 2-year low in September, recovered remarkably well after that, and shed just about 0.5% in 2022.

Silver futures for March ended down $0.210 at $24.040 an ounce, while Copper futures for March ended lower by $0.0135 at $3.8105 per pound.

Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst at OANDA, says the outlook for the yellow metal still looks very positive with central banks nearing peak interest rates and the economic outlook rather bleak.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by MNI Indicators showed a bigger than expected slowdown in the pace of contraction in Chicago-area business activity in the month of December.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer climbed to 44.9 in December from 37.2 in November, although a reading below 50 still indicates a contraction. Economists had expected the index to rise to 41.2.

The bigger than expected rebound came after the Chicago business barometer fell to its lowest reading since the 2008/09 global financial crisis, excluding the 2020 pandemic shock.

Traders remained focused on the outlook for China after several countries, including the U.S., have decided to insist on negative Covid tests for travelers arriving from China.

Asian Shares Mixed In Thin Holiday Trade

Asian stocks were mixed on Monday as investors watched the COVID situation in China. Markets in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong remain closed for holidays.

China’s Shanghai Composite index was up 0.4 percent as China reported no COVID deaths on the mainland for the five days through Saturday despite a record surge of cases nationwide.

China will no longer publish daily figures for COVID-19 cases and deaths, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Sunday, ending a practice that began in early 2020.

Seoul stocks declined, with the Kospi average down 0.3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei average was up 0.4 percent as higher oil prices boosted resource stocks.

U.S. stocks eked out modest gains on Friday after data showed consumer spending and inflation slowed in November but not enough to discourage the Federal Reserve from driving interest rates to higher levels next year.

The Dow rose half a percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.2 percent.

European stocks ended a choppy session on a mixed note Friday. The pan European STOXX 600 closed flat with a positive bias.

The German DAX edged up 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 finished marginally higher while France’s CAC 40 index slipped 0.2 percent.

Oil Futures End Year’s Last Trading Day On A High Note

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Friday, the final session of Year 2022, as the dollar dropped to a more than 6-month low.

Optimism about increased demand for fuel from China after the country abruptly ended its Covid restrictions helped as well.

China announced earlier this week that it would reopen its borders from Covid curbs and do away with quarantine restrictions for inbound travelers from January 8.

Oil prices were also supported by recent reports in the media about Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak saying that Russia may cut production by 500,000 – 700,000 barrels per day.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended higher by $1.86 or about 2.1% at $80.26 a barrel.

Brent Crude futures were up $2.54 or 3.04% at $86.00 a barrel a little while ago.

According to a report from Baker Hughes, the total rig count in the U.S. stayed at 779 this week. That is 193 rigs higher than the rig count this time in 2021, and 296 rigs lower than the count before the pandemic.

Oil rigs in the U.S. fell by 1 this week, while gas rigs rose by 1, the report said.