EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING : Stocks Rise With ECB -2-

07/22/2021 | 06:13am

BHP Group Ltd. said it has signed a supply deal with Tesla Inc. for nickel, a commodity used in electric-vehicle batteries, from its Nickel West operations in western Australia.

The world's biggest miner by market value said it and Tesla have also agreed to collaborate on sustainability efforts in the battery industry supply chain, such as ways to trace raw materials from pit to product using blockchain.

Givaudan Posts First-Half Profit, Sales Rise

Givaudan SA said Thursday that net income and sales rose in the first half, with positive business momentum and growth across most segments and regions.

The Swiss flavor-and-fragrance company said net profit in the period ended June rose to 481 million Swiss francs ($524.1 million) from CHF413 million in the period a year earlier.

French Manufacturing Sector's Sentiment Improved in July

Sentiment in the French manufacturing sector improved in July, despite supply disruptions and the spread of the Delta variant across Europe.

Manufacturing sentiment rose to 110 in July from 108 in June, the French national statistics office said Thursday. The reading is above a forecast of 107 by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

U.K. Demands EU Renegotiate Brexit Deal's Northern Ireland Clauses

The U.K. government set the stage for a new clash with the European Union after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wants to renegotiate the parts of the Brexit agreement dealing with the politically sensitive question of Northern Ireland.

The government says the agreement, which went into force just months ago, is hampering trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. The EU on Wednesday ruled out renegotiating the deal and the Biden administration is closely watching the dispute, warning against any steps that threaten the Good Friday agreement that brought peace to Ireland more than two decades ago.

Opening Its Economy as Delta Variant Surges, the U.K. Becomes a Covid-19 Test Case

LONDON-The battle between vaccines and the Delta variant of coronavirus is coming to a head in the U.K., closely watched by the rest of the world. At stake is whether advanced economies with high vaccination rates can enjoy something approaching pre-pandemic life in the face of fast transmitting versions of the virus.

The experiment should give a strong signal of whether Covid-19 can be relegated to the status of a manageable, seasonal menace such as influenza and whether lockdowns and social distancing can be consigned to the past.

GLOBAL NEWS

Unemployment Applications Expected to Touch New Pandemic Low

New filings for unemployment benefits are estimated to have declined to another pandemic low, showing the U.S. labor market is steadily recovering.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect that initial jobless claims fell by 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 350,000. The Labor Department will release the latest figures at 8:30 a.m. ET. The number of new applications has fallen by almost 25% in the week ended July 10, from early May. Meanwhile, the number of continuing unemployment payments has steadily declined since the spring.

Fed Ramps Up Debate Over Taper Timing, Pace

Federal Reserve officials are set to accelerate deliberations at their meeting next week over how to scale back their easy-money policies amid a stronger U.S. economic recovery than they anticipated six months ago.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said their discussions are focusing on two important questions: When to start paring their monthly purchases of $80 billion in Treasury securities and $40 billion in mortgage securities, and how quickly to reduce, or taper, them.

Bitcoin Is Failing Its First Inflation Test as Selloff Deepens

Bitcoin's steep selloff is undercutting the argument made by the digital currency's proponents that it's an inflation hedge.

The original cryptocurrency has lost about half of its value since mid-April, fizzling after a spectacular rally that saw it surge above $60,000 from around $7,000 at the start of 2020. It traded Wednesday afternoon at $31,864.

Delta Variant of Covid-19 Isn't Expected to Dent Robust U.S. Recovery

The highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 doesn't pose an immediate risk to the strength of the U.S. economic recovery, with analysts expecting a robust expansion to continue in the second half of the year.

Many economists are maintaining forecasts for solid economic growth due to expectations of steady hiring and continued spending, driven by accumulated savings and Americans' desire to travel and socialize more than a year into the pandemic.

Senate Republicans Block Infrastructure Bill but Talks to Continue

WASHINGTON-Senate Republicans blocked an effort to begin debate on a bipartisan infrastructure deal still under negotiation Wednesday, but lawmakers said they expected to close in on a final agreement by early next week.

The vote failed, with 49 in favor and 51 against, short of the 60 needed to open debate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) switched his vote to no, which he said gave him the option to bring the bill up again.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Says He Personally Owns Bitcoin-and So Does SpaceX

Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk said Wednesday that he and his rocket company, SpaceX, hold bitcoin, a cryptocurrency he generally supports despite having concerns about its environmental impacts.

Tesla disclosed a $1.5 billion investment in bitcoin in February and soon after began accepting the cryptocurrency as payment for its vehicles. The company quickly reversed course, however, suspending that initiative in May as Mr. Musk expressed worry about the source of the electricity being used to power bitcoin mining.

A Tech IPO Boom Is Coming to Unicorn-Rich India

NEW DELHI-India is gearing up for tech IPOs, including two worth more than $1 billion, as startups look to tap a stock market that has proved resilient despite Covid-19.

The initial public offerings reflect the maturing of a generation of e-commerce and digital-economy companies, bankers say, many of which have grown rapidly during the pandemic as well-off city-dwellers turn to them when purchasing products from milk to medicines.

Texas Arrests Migrants at U.S. Border, but Some Counties Aren't on Board

DEL RIO, Texas-Texas has begun arresting and jailing migrants for trespassing, as Gov. Greg Abbott pursues a new plan aimed at illegal border crossers that is dividing counties in the state.

The first three migrants were sent to a state prison Tuesday on the state charges, according to Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens, whose role is an elected executive akin to a mayor. Hundreds of law-enforcement officers from across the state and country have been sent to the Texas-Mexico border in recent weeks to begin arrests. Civil-rights groups have questioned the move, saying that states cannot legally enforce federal immigration law.

China Flood Death Toll Climbs as Rains Continue

HONG KONG-The death toll from severe floods in central China rose to at least 33 people, local authorities said, as they grappled with the fallout from record rainstorms that have ravaged local agriculture and inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

At least eight people remained missing as of early Thursday after rain storms started pelting the city of Zhengzhou and surrounding parts of Henan province late last week, Chinese state media said, citing the provincial emergency-management department.

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

07-22-21 0612ET

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