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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING: Stocks Led Lower by -2-

Tullow Oil PLC on Wednesday reported a profit for the first half of the year and narrowed 2021 production guidance toward the upper end of the range.

The oil company, which operates in Africa and South America, made a net profit of $92.7 million for the six months ended June 30, swinging from a $1.33 billion net loss a year earlier--when it booked write-offs and impairments of $1.4 billion.

   
 
 

U.K. Bets on Covid-19 Booster Shots to Avoid Winter Lockdowns

LONDON-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented a suite of measures including booster Covid-19 vaccinations for people over 50 as he aims to avoid new lockdowns this fall while keeping social-distancing restrictions to a bare minimum.

In contrast with other European countries that are taking a more interventionist approach to squash infection rates, Mr. Johnson plans instead to lean heavily on vaccines to protect the British population should the virus rapidly spread in the fall.

   
 
 

U.S., EU Seek Global Pledge to Slash Methane Emissions by 2030

Officials in the U.S. and European Union are crafting a pledge to reduce global methane emissions by nearly a third by 2030, and pushing several of the world's largest economies to join them, according to people familiar with the effort.

The agreement would mark the first global commitment to cut emissions of methane, a gas less prevalent than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but far more potent at trapping heat. Dubbed the Global Methane Pledge, the agreement doesn't call for country-specific targets, but rather for the signatories to support an effort to reduce global, human-caused methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 compared with 2020 levels, one of the people said.

   
 
 

Russia's Vladimir Putin Self-Isolating After Covid-19 Exposure in Inner Circle

Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating after being exposed to several people with Covid-19 but was tested for the virus and "is absolutely healthy," his press secretary said Tuesday.

Press secretary Dmitry Peskov said he didn't know whether the people in Mr. Putin's entourage who were sick were vaccinated against Covid-19. Mr. Putin is vaccinated with Russia's vaccine, Sputnik V. He received his second dose in April 2021.

   
 
 

Outgoing U.K. Privacy Regulator Wants Global Consensus on Data Disputes

Elizabeth Denham will step down next month as the U.K.'s data protection regulator, a post she has held since 2016. Ms. Denham has overseen the country's implementation of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation in 2018 and after its exit from the EU last year.

As the U.K.'s top privacy watchdog, Ms. Denham issued multimillion-dollar fines against Marriott International Inc., International Consolidated Airlines Group SA's British Airways and other companies for privacy and security failings. She recently gave an online speech hosted by Oxford University calling for a Bretton Woods-style conference bringing together regulators, academics and other privacy experts from around the world to hash out a global convention on privacy rules. An accord among countries would allow them to more easily transfer data between jurisdictions, an activity currently hampered by legal restrictions.

   
 
 
   
 
 

GLOBAL NEWS

Uranium Heats Up, and Hedge Funds Score

Uranium prices are rising, enriching a handful of hedge funds that have been betting a market laid low by a nuclear disaster a decade ago would rebound.

The price of uranium hit an eight-year high of $44 a pound this week, according to the price tracker UxC LLC. The surge follows the recent launch of an exchange-traded trust by Sprott Asset Management LP, which has bought large stockpiles of uranium after raising money from shareholders and emerged as a favored trading vehicle in its own right, traders said.

   
 
 

China's Economic Recovery Is Looking Gloomier

BEIJING-Growth across a range of Chinese economic indicators pulled back sharply in August, as a new outbreak of the Covid-19 Delta variant and tighter government regulations on the property market hit consumer spending and the housing sector.

Retail sales, a key gauge of China's consumption, rose just 2.5% in August from a year earlier, down sharply from July's 8.5% year-over-year growth, according to data released Wednesday by China's National Bureau of Statistics. The result marked the lowest pace of growth in a year and missed by a large margin the 6.3% increase expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

   
 
 

High Steel Prices Have Manufacturers Scrounging for Supplies

Manufacturers are facing the highest steel and aluminum prices in years, another hurdle for U.S. companies already struggling to make enough cars, cans and other products.

Rapidly increasing metal costs are pushing manufacturers to take what steel they can get and hire more people to seek out available supplies, company executives said. The rising costs are flowing through to some producers of consumer goods: Campbell Soup Co. is paying more to get the cans it fills with tomato soup; Peloton Interactive Inc. is seeing prices rise for parts that go into its stationary bikes; and Steelcase Inc. is paying more to make metal desks and filing cabinets. Car makers like Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are also dealing with rising metal prices.

   
 
 

Derby's Take: Fed Faces Inflation Cross Currents Ahead of FOMC Meeting

As the Federal Reserve ramps up for its monetary policy meeting next week, it faces some tough cross currents on the inflation front.

The Fed has for some time been up against an unexpected surge in price pressures testing its desire to keep monetary policy on an aggressively supportive footing to help the U.S. economy recover from the body blow of the coronavirus pandemic.

   
 
 

Some Oil Majors Back Investor Standard for 'Net Zero' Plans

Some big oil companies have thrown their weight behind new investor-backed guidelines for plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions, a move that could make it easier to compare different approaches among energy providers.

BP PLC, Eni SpA, Repsol SA, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and TotalEnergies SE said Wednesday they would trial next year the new "Net Zero Standard for Oil and Gas," a 30-page set of guidelines put together by investors and energy companies. The U.S.'s Occidental Petroleum Corp. also gave feedback on the standards, but won't participate in the trial as of now.

   
 
 

Supply-Chain Strains Hit Prices, Inventories of Artificial Christmas Trees

Supply-chain disruptions will make decking the halls more expensive than ever for consumers looking for artificial trees this Christmas.

Some U.S. retailers are raising prices by 20% to 25% to keep pace with skyrocketing shipping costs and they are warning that certain trees could sell out early because deliveries from overseas producers have been hit by the congestion that has tied up distribution networks from ports in China to freight yards in Chicago.

   
 
 

Biden to Meet With Top Executives on Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate

WASHINGTON-President Biden is expected to meet Wednesday with executives from companies including Walt Disney Co., Microsoft Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. to advance his Covid-19 vaccination requirements for the private sector.

The White House meeting comes after a plan Mr. Biden announced last week designed to bring the pandemic under control, which includes vaccine requirements affecting roughly 100 million workers. Attendees are expected to discuss how they are expanding requirements at their companies and institutions and how mandates have driven up vaccinations among employees, a White House official said.

   
 
 

North Korea Fires Two Ballistic Missiles Off Its East Coast

SEOUL-North Korea launched two ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korean and Japanese officials said, in Pyongyang's second weapons test in recent days.

The missiles splashed into the waters between Korea and Japan. The distance flown and the precise time of launch weren't immediately released by South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. The projectiles didn't enter Japanese territory and weren't believed to have landed inside the nation's exclusive economic zone, Tokyo's military said.

   
 
 

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

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 15, 2021 06:20 ET (10:20 GMT)

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