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Good morning. U.S. tech stocks surged, the U.K. introduced new virus curbs and Johnson & Johnson halted a vaccine study. Here's what's moving markets.

Tech Rally

U.S. stocks climbed to an almost six-week high amid a rally in some of the world's largest technology companies. The NYSE FANG+ index jumped 3.3% for its best session in a month, with a little help from the options market, ahead of Amazon Prime Day and an Apple Inc. product unveiling. Apple is expected to reveal four new 5G-enabled iPhones which will also come in more screen sizes. It's Apple's "most important product cycle" since 2014's iPhone 6, according to broker Wedbush. Keep an eye on shares of suppliers such as AMS AG and Infineon Technologies AG.


U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced bars and pubs will be closed in the worst-hit parts of England to control a surge in coronavirus cases, and his top health adviser warned more measures might still be needed. Households in the Liverpool region will be banned from mixing indoors and in private gardens and people will be advised against traveling into and out of the area. Elsewhere, France is hoping to avoid another general lockdown, while Italy and the Netherlands are considering new restrictions. The Czech government closed schools, restaurants and bars through early November. Finally, China has recorded its biggest Covid-19 cluster in months.

Study Halted

Johnson & Johnson said its Covid-19 vaccine study has been temporarily halted after a clinical trial participant experienced an unexplained illness. The participant's condition is being evaluated, and J&J says it will share more information after further investigation. While pauses in late-stage testing are routine in the pharmaceutical industry, the interruption may contribute to concerns over safety with vaccine research progressing at an unprecedented speed. European stock futures trimmed gains on the news while U.S. futures are lower after Monday's rally.

Belarus Clashes

Belarus police threatened to start using combat weapons after protests in the capital of Minsk took a violent turn. Unidentified people in balaclavas used stun grenades and pepper spray on those participating in a march of pensioners against the authorities, Tut.by website reported. A day earlier, police detained over 700 people, the Interior Ministry said. The protests follow a disputed August election, with European Union foreign ministers signaling on Monday they are ready to add leader Alexander Lukashenko to a blacklist of Belarusians who have impeded voting.

Coming Up…

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. kick off earnings for large-cap U.S. banks, while in this region we'll get an update from construction giant Vinci S.A. Elsewhere, the International Monetary Fund publishes its World Economic Outlook and we'll get data on U.K. unemployment and U.S. inflation, along with the latest reading of the German ZEW economic survey. Statistics earlier showed U.K. retail sales rose in September at their fastest annual pace since 2009, while China's exports gained for the fourth straight month.

What We've Been Reading

This is what's caught our eye over the past 24 hours. 

And finally, here's what Cormac Mullen is interested in this morning

It seems the options froth that pushed U.S. tech stocks to a euphoric all-time high in September is having its own second wave. The Nasdaq 100 had its best day since late April on Monday -- up at one stage over 4% -- and conspicuously implied volatility in the gauge climbed right along with it. Bullish Apple calls accounted for four of the 10 most-traded options contracts and Amazon call volume was almost double the average over the prior five days. That makes sense given it coincides with Amazon Prime Day and the expected unveiling of the new iPhone. But open interest for bullish call options on the pair has been creeping higher all month and traders noted the so-called Nasdaq whale resurfaced again in early October. Re-energised options bulls still have this week's expiry to navigate and the looming election could make a mockery out of short-term wagers in any direction should volatility soar. And they surely couldn't have forgotten that the last Nasdaq options rush ended in a sharp correction and 11% three-day plunge just a month ago. Could they?

Cormac Mullen is a Cross-Asset reporter and editor for Bloomberg News in Tokyo. 

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