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Caravan of asylum-seeking migrants reach Mexico-US border



Migrants in a caravan of Central American asylum-seekers board buses in Mexicali, Mexico, Thursday, April 26, 2018, for a two-hour drive to Tijuana to join up with about 175 others who already arrived.

Hans-Maximo Musielik | AP | Getty Images

Migrants in a caravan of Central American asylum-seekers board buses in Mexicali, Mexico, Thursday, April 26, 2018, for a two-hour drive to Tijuana to join up with about 175 others who already arrived.

A caravan of asylum-seekers from Central America arrived at Mexico‘s border with the United States on Sunday, numerous reports showed, with supporters on either side of the fence separating Tijuana and San Diego rallying in sight of each other.

Some demonstrators even climbed the border wall that runs right into the Pacific Ocean, sitting and waving as U.S. Border Patrol agents kept careful watch. Dozens of supporters also watched on the American side, where they were held about 20 yards away.

Twitter was awash with posts of the developing situation.

President Donald Trump, who has been calling the caravan a threat to American, has been tracking the progress of the group, which began the journey on March 25 in the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border.

Many of the migrants, said to be fleeing gang violence and poverty in their home countries, are looking to enter the U.S. by seeking asylum. Some of them plan to seek asylum from Mexico.

Disparaging the caravan multiple times during his campaign-style in Washington, Michigan on Saturday evening, Trump called the developments a “mess.” He added: “Are you watching this?” He then said, “Our laws are so weak, there’s so pathetic, given to us by Democrats, they’re so pathetic.”

Last week, Trump tweeted about the caravan, while making his case for the tighter border security, and the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that’s he’s been promising since the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Central Americans may provide a test for the Trump administration when they begin seeking asylum at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, the nation’s busiest. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the San Ysidro crossing may be unable to take the crush of asylum-seekers all at once, forcing people to wait their turn in Mexico.

Immigration lawyers, who say they want to prepare the migrants for the worst, are warning them they could face possible separation from their children and detention for many months while their petitions for asylum are reviewed.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Asia markets: Coronavirus, currencies and oil



SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan were set to open little changed on Monday as investors continue to monitor the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Futures pointed to a muted open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 28,660 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 28,630. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 28,631.45.

Shares in Australia edged higher in morning trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.24%.

Amid the pandemic, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment, according to a report released Sunday from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

China brought in $163 billion in inflows last year, compared to $134 billion attracted by the U.S., according to the report.

Developments around Covid-19 are likely to be watched by investors, as the world races to adapt against the mutating coronavirus which has produced a number of potentially more infectious variants.

Globally, more than 99 million people have been infected by Covid-19 and at least 2,127,206 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 90.237 after seeing a recent decline from levels above 90.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.79 per dollar following levels below 103.5 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7719, off levels above $0.776 seen last week.

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Stock futures rise ahead of the busiest week of earnings



U.S. stock index futures were modestly higher in overnight trading on Sunday, as Wall Street prepares for the busiest week of earnings, which will include reports from some of the largest tech companies.

Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 56 points, indicating a 73-point jump at the open. S&P 500 futures advanced 0.2%, while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.28%.

Stocks finished mixed on Friday — the S&P 500 and Dow finished in the red while the Nasdaq Composite closed at a record high — although all three posted a gain for the week. The Dow registered its fifth positive week in six while the S&P posted its third positive week in four. The Nasdaq advanced 4.19% last week for its best week since November and fifth positive week in six as shares of Big Tech names pushed the index to a new all-time high.

The move higher came as President Joe Biden tries to push through a $1.9 trillion stimulus program that many congressional Republicans oppose. The fiscal aid includes direct checks to millions of Americans, aid to state and local governments, funding for Covid vaccines and testing, a boost to the minimum wage and enhanced unemployment benefits, among other things.

Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist for Ally Invest, noted any additional stimulus could lead to a surge in inflation.

“Right now, watch for signs of inflation as a temporary or more long-term trend. If it’s just a quick shock, we may see some market weakness without any major Fed action,” she noted. “On the other hand, persistently high inflation may force the Fed to consider raising rates and pulling back their market support.” 

In an inflationary environment, Bell said investors should favor the consumer staples, energy and financials sectors. She added that real estate and gold are among the other assets that can help hedge against inflation.

This coming week 13 Dow components and 111 S&P 500 companies are set to report earnings. Among the quarterly reports on deck include those from Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Tesla, McDonald’s, Honeywell, Caterpillar and Boeing.

According to data from Bank of America, of the S&P 500 components that have already reported earnings, 73% have beaten on both sales and EPS. The firm said this is tracking similar to last quarter when the number of companies beating hit a record.

The number of coronavirus cases continues to tick up in the U.S. and abroad, but many economists are forecasting a return to growth later this year.

“We continue to expect that a reduction in virus risk due to mass vaccination coupled with fiscal support for consumer spending will lead to a mid-year consumption boom and very strong growth in 2021,” Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, said in a note to clients over the weekend. “We currently forecast GDP growth of +6.6% on a full-year basis, 2½pp above consensus,” he added.

However, the firm noted that while risks like insufficient fiscal aid look now look less likely, other risks remain. Hatzius cited consumers remaining more cautious than expected as well as the evolution of a vaccine-resistant virus strain as potential futures headwinds for the market.

Biden’s surgeon general pick said Sunday that the U.S. is racing to keep up as the coronavirus mutates.

“The virus is basically telling us that it’s going to continue to change and we’ve got to be ready for it,” Dr. Vivek Murthy told ABC News’ “This Week.”

“We’ve got to number one, do much better genomic surveillance, so we can identify variants when they arise and that means we’ve got to double down on public health measures like masking and avoiding indoor gatherings,” he added.

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Biden to sign South Africa travel ban to slow spread of new Covid-19 strain



US President Joe Biden signs executive orders for economic relief to Covid-hit families and businesses in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 22, 2021.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden will sign a travel ban Monday on most non-U.S. citizens entering the country who were recently in South Africa, where a new strain of Covid-19 has been identified, two White House officials told NBC News.

Biden will also reinstate travel restrictions that were rescinded by former President Donald Trump in January, which would ban the entry of non-U.S. citizens from the U.K., Ireland and much of Europe. Brazil would also be affected.

Reuters first reported news of the travel restrictions on Sunday. Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the outlet that the agency was “putting in place this suite of measures to protect Americans and also to reduce the risk of these variants spreading and worsening the current pandemic.”

Before Biden took office, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized Trump’s move to lift international travel restrictions even as more contagious variants emerged across the world.

“We plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19,” Psaki wrote in a tweet.

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that available vaccines appear to be less effective against new, more contagious strains of Covid-19, but that they’ll still likely provide enough protection to be worth getting.

The CDC also announced that it will remove the option for airlines with flights from countries that lack Covid-19 testing to apply for temporary waivers for some travelers. The agency will implement the order on Tuesday.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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