Dr Fauci warns South African ‘super-covid’ is the variant to worry about.

22/01/2021 Dr Anthony Fauci warned that the South African ‘super-covid’ variant is the one he and health experts around the world are most worried about because it might make vaccines less effective.
The South African variant is ‘a little bit more concerning but not something that we don’t think we can handle,’ Dr Fauci said.

Stocks have dipped from all-time highs as restrictions to curb escalating coronavirus infections dented some of the optimism around earnings and the prospect of additional stimulus. President Joe Biden, who is pushing for nearly $2 trillion in additional fiscal spending, unveiled a national strategy to combat the coronavirus while warning the pandemic will worsen before it improves.

Elsewhere, Bitcoin tumbled below $30,000 as the controversial boom in digital coins fizzles. The world’s largest cryptocurrency reached a record of almost $42,000 in early January.

Locally the JSE and the rand rose after the Reserve Bank held interest rates at a record low of 3.5%, the rand touched R 14.77/$ before selling off to around R 14.95, the AllShare closed up just 0.1 % with EXX up 6.38%. IG Top 40 is 200 points lower despite Tencent been up 1.32%.

• S. Africa Holds Key Rate and Signals Hiking May Start Sooner.
• Rand Gives a Nod to SARB’s Cautious Approach.
• Where Are Our Coronavirus Vaccines? South Africans Ask.
• S. Africa Stocks Set Fresh Record as CEO News Boosts Gold Fields.
• Gold Fields Names Ex-Amplats Chief Griffith as New CEO.
• Barloworld to Sell Motor-Retail Business for Est. 947.3m Rand.

ECONOMIC DATA:
10am: Bloomberg Jan. economic survey

European stocks closed mixed yesterdayas traders monitored the European Central Bank’s latest meeting and the beginning of Joe Biden’s presidency. The ECB kept interest rates unchanged Thursday but said it stands ready to act as coronavirus infection rates rise across the euro zone, leading to renewed lockdown measures. The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session flat, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions. Tech stocks were the biggest gainers, up 1.6%, while oil and gas shares lost 1.3%. DAX – 0.14%, CAC – 0.37%, FTSE – 0.37%.
Overnight in the US the Dow and S&P 500 both had more muted sessions, with the former dipping 12 points and the latter up less than 0.1% to eke out another fresh high. The Nasdaq rose to another record as investors set bets for strong tech earnings next week. The tech-heavy benchmark climbed 0.6% to close at a new high in large part thanks to a 3.7% pop in Apple shares. Apple and Facebook have risen 7.7% and 8.6%, respectively, this week ahead of their quarterly results next week, while Microsoft has gained 5.8%.
Asian markets trade slightly lower across the region.
Gold eased on Friday as U.S. Treasury yields edged higher and some dollar strength, although prices were set to post their best week in five helped earlier in the week by a weaker dollar and further stimulus bets. For the week, spot gold was up 2.2%, it’s biggest increase since the week of Dec. 18. Spot Gold is at $ 1862, Silver shed 0.2% to $25.89, but was set to register its best week in five, up 4.6% so far this week. Platinum was flat at $1,126.78 and was up 4.9% for the week, its best since early December and Palladium gained 0.1% to $2,364.41.
Oil is softer this morning Brent – 1.1% $ 55.48, WTI – 1.20% $ 52.49.