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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING: Investors Pause With -2-

JERUSALEM-Israeli police fired rubber bullets at Palestinians trying to disrupt a right-wing nationalist march in Jerusalem, while Hamas militants launched incendiary balloons into Israel that triggered Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, raising the specter of renewed violence in the region.

The Israeli military said it carried out a limited series of airstrikes on the militant group's compounds across the Gaza Strip, marking the first time the rival forces have traded blows since the two sides agreed to a May 21 truce that brought an end to an 11-day conflict.

   
 
 

Iran Election Underdog Contends With Hard-Liner, Voter Apathy

TEHRAN-As Iranians prepare to head to the polls on Friday, the only way for the leading moderate candidate to make any headway against the hard-line presidential front-runner is to convince millions of Iranians to bother voting at all.

Former central bank chief Abdolnaser Hemmati is pitching himself as a reform-friendly centrist to revive Iran's relations with the West and allow more personal freedoms, including a more prominent role for women. He is currently polling in the low single digits, with many Iranians saying they will skip the ballot in protest at the way the country is run.

   
 
 

JPMorgan, Other Major Banks Excluded From Landmark European Bond Program

The European Union excluded some of the world's largest banks from working on a huge new debt-issuance program, citing recent cases in which regulators punished them for forming cartels in the bond and currency markets.

The banks include Barclays PLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Nomura Holdings Inc., UniCredit SpA, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Credit Agricole SA, according to an EU official.

   
 
 

Regeneron's Antibody Drug Cuts Risk of Death in Some Covid-19 Patients

An antibody treatment developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. has been shown to significantly cut the risk of death among certain hospitalized Covid-19 patients, raising hopes for a valuable new tool for tackling severe cases.

A large U.K. trial involving nearly 10,000 patients showed that administering REGEN-COV on top of usual care reduced the risk of dying by a fifth among hospitalized coronavirus patients who hadn't produced antibodies to the virus. The drug had no effect among patients who had already produced antibodies.

   
 
 

Hungary Bill to Restrict How Media Depicts Homosexuality, Transgender Rights

Hungary's parliament approved legislation on Tuesday banning broadcasters, advertisers, and media organizations from promoting homosexuality or transgender rights in any content available to children, a move that drew condemnation from the U.S. and leaders within the European Union.

The bill, first drafted as a series of new measures against pedophilia, was tweaked to include those restrictions on media in the last days before Tuesday's vote, which several parties boycotted. It passed 157-1, mainly with support from the Fidesz, the conservative-nationalist party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

   
 
 
   
 
 

GLOBAL NEWS

Fed Meeting Likely to Signal Possible Policy Shifts

WASHINGTON-Federal Reserve officials are set to provide updated details on their plans for eventually scaling back easy-money policies as they conclude a two-day policy meeting amid signs of accelerating economic growth and inflation.

The Fed on Wednesday is likely to say after the meeting that it will maintain short-term interest rates near zero and keep buying at least $120 billion a month of Treasury and mortgage bonds. The central bank will also release individual policy makers' updated quarterly economic projections.

   
 
 

Derby's Take: Consumer and Market Views on Inflation Diverge as Fed Meeting Looms

Federal Reserve officials are approaching this week's monetary policy meeting at a moment when consumers and markets are diverging on what they think the future path of inflation will be.

On Monday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said respondents to its May Survey of Consumer Expectations believe that a year from now, inflation will surge to a series high of 4%, while three years from now, they see inflation jumping to 3.6%. What is more, consumers expect nearly all the key real-world things people spend their income on-home buying, rent, food, gasoline, medical care-to see big price increases over the next year.

   
 
 

China to Release Metal Reserves in Effort to Tame Commodities Rally

SINGAPORE-China plans to release national reserves of major industrial metals in an effort to rein in surging commodities prices fueled by a resumption of global economic activity.

The state stockpiling body, China's National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, said Wednesday that it plans to release copper, aluminum, zinc and other national reserves in batches in the near future to ensure the supply and price stability of bulk commodities.

   
 
 

Turkey's Troubles Point to Emerging-Market Risks as Economies Recover

Any signal that the Federal Reserve will tighten policy on Wednesday could ripple across emerging markets that are dependent on the U.S. dollar. Prime among them is Turkey.

The Turkish lira has come under pressure in recent weeks as investors try to assess whether the country's central bank will heed the demands of its president to cut interest rates. But a rate cut could drag the lira down further at the same time that the country's high inflation rate is already diminishing the currency's buying power.

   
 
 

China's Economic Growth Moderates in May

China's economic growth moderated in May as the favorable base effect faded.

Industrial production rose 8.8% in May from a year earlier, slowing from April's 9.8% pace, according to data released Wednesday by the National Bureau of Statistics. The growth in industrial production matched the 8.8% pace expected by the economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

   
 
 

Political Summits Signal International Focus on Ransomware

The attention of world leaders to ransomware in a series of high-level meetings highlights how quickly the destructive cyberattacks have climbed the political agenda as a string of recent attacks disrupted companies and critical infrastructure in the U.S. and other countries.

On Wednesday in Geneva, President Biden is expected to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to curb ransomware groups based in Russia. Meanwhile, at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit on Monday and the Group of Seven meeting last weekend, leaders committed to disrupting ransomware networks and holding attackers accountable in documents published at the end of both summits.

   
 
 

Write to sarka.halas@wsj.com

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 16, 2021 06:14 ET (10:14 GMT)

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