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North American Morning Briefing : Oil Rises, Stock -2-

12/03/2021 | 06:13am EST

Alphabet Inc.'s Google said it is delaying its required return-to-office plans that were scheduled to start Jan. 10 at the earliest for U.S. offices.

The tech company said it would wait until next year to decide when its office-return plan will take effect, according to an email that Chris Rackow, Google's vice president of global security, sent to employees Thursday. Google's shifting office-reopening plans were earlier reported by CNBC.

Didi Global Plans to Delist From New York Stock Exchange

Didi Global Inc. plans to delist its shares in the U.S. and pursue a listing in Hong Kong, a dramatic reversal just months after the Chinese ride-hailing group's ill-fated initial public offering in New York.

The move, which Didi said Thursday was supported by its board, comes as authorities in Beijing wrap up a cybersecurity probe into the company. It would mark an escalation in the financial decoupling between the U.S. and China, which has already seen several Chinese companies expelled from American exchanges.

FTC Challenges Nvidia's Deal for Arm Holdings

WASHINGTON-The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday sued to block U.S. chip supplier Nvidia Corp.'s proposed landmark takeover of semiconductor-design specialist Arm Holdings, arguing the chip-industry deal is anticompetitive.

The lawsuit marks the beginning of what is likely to be an aggressive antitrust campaign by the FTC under the leadership of Chairwoman Lina Khan, a progressive tapped by President Biden in June to lead the agency.

November Likely Saw Strong Job Gains, but Omicron Threat Looms

Lower Covid-19 case numbers likely helped propel the U.S. economy and powered strong job gains in November, economists say, but the new Omicron variant could jeopardize that progress.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate that employers added 573,000 jobs in November, roughly on par with October. The unemployment rate is expected to tick down to 4.5% from 4.6%. The Labor Department is schedule to release November employment figures at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time Friday.

Companies Cling to Libor as Key Deadline Nears

U.S. companies need to give up the London interbank offered rate for new debt at the end of December. Many want to close just one more deal before that.

Come Jan. 1, banks won't be able to issue new loans or other financial contracts using Libor, which underpins trillions of dollars in corporate loans, derivatives and home mortgages. They will, however, be able to keep referencing Libor for debt issued before the year-end deadline through June 2023.

Citigroup Applies for China Securities License

Citigroup Inc. has applied for a securities license in China, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the New York-based banking giant eyes a bigger presence in the world's second-largest economy.

The bank recently submitted its application to the China Securities and Regulatory Commission, the person said. Citigroup is also planning to apply for a futures license in the coming months and intends to hire around 100 people in mainland China in the next two years to support its expansion onshore, the person added.

A Couple Stored IRA Gold at Home. They Owe the IRS More Than $300,000.

It's official: Owners of individual retirement accounts with assets invested in gold and silver coins can't store them in a safe at their home.

So ruled the judge in a recent Tax Court case, Andrew McNulty et al. v. Commissioner. The decision will cost Mr. McNulty and his wife Donna dearly-taxes of nearly $270,000 on about $730,000 of IRA assets, plus penalties likely to exceed $50,000.

Asia-Pacific Nations Use Tougher Tactics to Combat Omicron Variant

Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are creating tougher rules for those infected with the Omicron Covid-19 variant, as governments move more aggressively than they have against all other previous iterations, including Delta.

The modifications come as Omicron begins to reach the Asia-Pacific region, with Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia reporting confirmed cases. The initial moves focused on national travel restrictions and border tightenings.

Eurozone Retail Sales Rose in October, But Missed Expectations

Eurozone retail sales rose in October but failed to meet expectations, the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat said Friday.

The volume of retail sales increased 0.2% in October compared with the previous month, after a downwardly revised 0.4% decrease in September, Eurostat said. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.3% increase for October.

Omicron's Severity Will Take More Time to Assess, Doctors Say

JOHANNESBURG-It is still too early to tell whether Covid-19 caused by the new Omicron variant is milder or more severe than that from other strains of the coronavirus, doctors tracking a rapidly growing outbreak in South Africa said Friday.

The country, which has more known Omicron cases than any other, is likely to be the first to deliver answers to the questions doctors and scientists have been grappling with since the World Health Organization declared the new strain a "variant of concern" a week ago. Key among those are whether Omicron makes those infected sicker, whether it is more transmissible and in how far current Covid-19 vaccines or a past infection protect against the variant.

Andrew Cuomo Under Federal Investigation Over Sexual-Harassment Allegations

The Justice Department opened a civil-rights investigation into former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive chamber after a state report found that he sexually harassed multiple women, people familiar with the matter said.

Lawyers working for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York's Civil Division sent a letter to state officials before Mr. Cuomo left office in August that said they were examining employment policies in the executive chamber, according to people who reviewed the letter. The executive chamber includes the governor and his or her top aides and advisers.

U.S. to Lead Global Effort to Curb Authoritarians' Access to Surveillance Tools

WASHINGTON-The U.S. plans to work with other countries to limit exports of surveillance tools and other technologies that authoritarian governments can use to suppress human rights, an alleged practice in China.

The Biden administration said Thursday that it would launch an initiative with friendly nations to establish a code of conduct for coordinating export-licensing policies. The effort would also see participating nations share information on sensitive technologies used against political dissidents, journalists, foreign government officials and human rights activists, administration officials said.

Biden Administration Issues Cybersecurity Directives for Freight and Passenger Rail

WASHINGTON-Nearly all U.S. freight and passenger rail systems will be required to report certain cybersecurity incidents to the Department of Homeland Security within 24 hours of discovery under new directives published Thursday by the Biden administration.

The orders, issued under congressional authority given to the Transportation Security Administration, will affect about 90% of passenger rail systems in the U.S. and 80% of freight rail systems that are considered "higher risk," a senior Department of Homeland Security official said, meaning they are considered vital to economic and national security.

Senate Approves Spending Bill Averting Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON-Congress passed a short-term extension of government funding and sent the legislation to President Biden's desk, averting a partial shutdown after resolving a standoff over vaccine rules.

Top Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement on the spending plan Thursday morning to extend funding through Feb. 18, then quickly maneuvered the legislation through both the House and Senate before the expiration of current funding at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The legislation also includes $7 billion for assisting evacuees from Afghanistan.

Write to sarka.halas@wsj.com TODAY IN CANADA

Earnings:

Bank of Montreal 4Q

Canadian Western Bank 4Q

Economic Indicators (ET):

0815 Nov Official International Reserves

0830 Nov Estimates of production of principal field crops

0830 Nov Labour Force Survey

0830 3Q Labour productivity, hourly compensation & unit labour cost

Stocks to Watch:

Canfor Pulp Products Announces Production Curtailments in Response to Supply Chain Challenges; Pulp Shipments Have Declined as a Result of Weather-Related Transportation Disruptions; Canfor Plans Minimum 2-Week Curtailment of NBSK Production at Northwood Pulp and a Minimum 4-Week Curtailment of Production of BCTMP at Taylor Pulp

Expected Major Events for Friday

00:01/UK: Nov BRC-Sensormatic IQ Footfall Monitor

00:30/JPN: Nov Japan Services PMI

06:00/RUS: Nov Russian Services PMI

07:45/FRA: Oct Industrial production index

08:45/ITA: Nov Italy Services PMI

08:50/FRA: Nov France Services PMI

08:55/GER: Nov Germany Services PMI

09:30/UK: Nov CIPS / Markit Services PMI

09:30/UK: Nov UK Official Reserves

09:30/UK: 3Q Bank of England external business stats

13:15/CAN: Nov Official International Reserves

13:30/CAN: 3Q Labour productivity, hourly compensation & unit labour cost

13:30/CAN: Nov November estimates of production of principal field crops

13:30/CAN: Nov Labour Force Survey

13:30/US: Nov U.S. Employment Report

14:45/US: Nov US Services PMI

15:00/US: Nov ISM Report On Business Services PMI

15:00/US: Oct Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories & Orders (M3)

16:00/US: Nov Global Services PMI

All times in GMT. Powered by Kantar Media and Dow Jones.

Expected Earnings for Friday

ASA Gold & Precious Metals Ltd (ASA) is expected to report for 2Q.

Bank of Montreal (BMO,BMO.T) is expected to report $3.18 for 4Q.

Big Lots (BIG) is expected to report $-0.16 for 3Q.

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

12-03-21 0612ET

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