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Royal Caribbean cruises to sail despite Covid cases on Celebrity ship

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In an aerial view, Explorer of the Seas (front), a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, along with other cruise ships are docked at Port Miami as the cruise line industry waits to begin operations again on May 26, 2021

Joe Raedle | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Royal Caribbean Cruises said Friday it isn’t changing its sailing plans this summer, despite the cruise operator reporting two positive Covid-19 cases aboard its Celebrity Millennium cruise ship on Thursday.

The two guests who tested positive during end-of-cruise testing were asymptomatic and were placed in isolation. On Friday, Royal Caribbean announced that all those who were in close contact with the two guests tested negative for the virus.

The discovery of the cases is an early test of whether the cruise operator’s safety protocols are effective in detecting the virus aboard the ship.

The Celebrity Millennium was one of the first cruises in North America to start sailing last week after being docked for over a year. The company’s first sailing out of a port in the U.S. will be the Celebrity Edge, which departs June 26 out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The ship has a fully vaccinated crew and all guests over the age of 16 are required to show proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before sailing. There was also routine testing throughout the week-long cruise at every port.

The ship will dock at a port in St. Martins on Saturday.

The company’s stock was down less than 1% on Friday. It has risen 20% this year giving it a market cap of nearly $23 billion.

A passenger aboard the ship told CNBC that the mood aboard the ship had not changed and normal activities have continued.

The cruise industry has been among the last sectors to resume operations since the pandemic. There had been several high-profile outbreaks aboard cruise ships last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allowed the ships to resume sailing this year, after placing very strict safety protocols and requirements to prevent the spread of the virus.

—CNBC’s Seema Mody contributed to this report.

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Stock index futures are little changed after Nasdaq closes at record

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U.S. stock index futures were little changed during overnight trading on Tuesday, after the S&P 500 closed just shy of a new record.

Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 28 points. S&P 500 futures were flat, while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.07%.

All three major averages finished Tuesday’s session in the green, reversing losses from earlier in the session amid strength in the technology sector.

The S&P 500 advanced 0.5%, to close just 0.2% away from a fresh all-time closing high. The Dow rose 163 points after earlier in the session falling more than 120 points. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative outperformer, hitting a new intraday all-time high and posting a 0.8% gain on the session for a new record close.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before the House of Representatives on Tuesday, which appeared to lift sentiment as he reiterated that inflation pressures will be temporary.

“Powell outlined how the inflation overshoot is from categories directly affected by reopening,” said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “He noted there is extremely strong demand and that the supply has been caught flat-footed.”

In prepared remarks released Monday evening, the central bank chief reiterated that the economy is growing, although the threat of the pandemic is still present.

For June the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are in the green, rising 1% and 3.6%, respectively. The Dow, however, is in the red for the month amid weakness in Caterpillar and JPMorgan.

Looking ahead, UBS said it maintains a “positive tactical view on stocks,” but that gains will be unevenly distributed.

“We see potential in regional markets that lagged in the second quarter, particularly China and Japan, as well as among those companies and sectors most exposed to economic reopening, including energy, financials, and US small- and mid-caps,” the firm wrote in a recent note to clients. UBS said investors should take profits in some of the year-to-date winners that might have limited upside ahead, including real estate, consumer discretionary and industrial names.

Bitcoin posted another volatile session on Tuesday, with the cryptocurrency at one point dipping below $30,000 and erasing its gains for 2021. But bitcoin ultimately recouped all of the more than 11% loss and finished the session in positive territory, according to data from Coin Metrics.

Earnings season has mostly finished, but Winnebago is set to report quarterly results before the opening bell on Wednesday, while KB Home will post results when the market closes.

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Morgan Stanley to bar workers without Covid vaccinations from offices

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Morgan Stanley on Tuesday told its staff that workers and clients who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 will be barred from returning to New York City and Westchester County offices with a large employee presence beginning July 12, CNBC has confirmed.

All Morgan Stanley staff in the New York metropolitan area are also now required to attest to their coronavirus vaccination status by July 1.

Employees who are not fully vaccinated will have to continue working remotely, the company told workers Tuesday.

The move, which will allow Morgan Stanley to lift mask and physical distancing requirements in its offices, follows similar actions by other financial giants.

Blackstone said last month that U.S. workers in investment divisions could return to their offices full-time on June 7 if they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Goldman Sachs sent employees a memo early this month requiring them to disclose their vaccination status.

Morgan Stanley previously had only required employees certain areas of the company to be fully vaccinated to return to their offices.

The Financial Times, citing a company memo, first reported Tuesday that Morgan Stanley would require employees, clients and visitors in the New York area to attest to being fully vaccinated in order to enter company workspaces in New York City and Westchester County.

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Investors watch tech shares after Nasdaq hits all-time high

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific looked poised for a mixed start on Wednesday following overnight gains stateside that saw the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rising to a record high.

Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 28,850 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 28,790. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 28,884.13. The Bank of Japan is set to release minutes from its April monetary policy meeting at 7:50 a.m. HK/SIN.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia looked set to nudge higher at the open. The SPI futures contract was at 7,248, versus the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 7,342.2.

Investors will monitor technology shares in Asia-Pacific after the Nasdaq Composite touched a new intraday record overnight on Wall Street, climbing 0.79% on the day to 14,253.37. The S&P 500 also gained 0.51% to 4,246.44 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 68.61 points to 33,945.58.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.756 after a recent decline from above 91.8.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 110.65 per dollar, having weakened from below 110 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.755, staying above the $0.752 level that it has traded around for much of the trading week so far.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Japan: Bank of Japan’s April monetary policy meeting minutes at 7:50 a.m. HK/SIN

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