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Kremlin says Elon Musk's Clubhouse invitation to Putin came to nothing

U.S. Manufacturing Index Rises More Than Expected In February

U.S. manufacturing activity grew at an accelerated rate in the month of February, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Monday.

The ISM said its manufacturing PMI rose to 60.8 in February from 58.7 in January, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in the manufacturing sector. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 58.8.

“Manufacturing performed well for the ninth straight month, with demand, consumption and inputs registering strong growth compared to January,” said Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

He added, “Labor-market difficulties at panelists’ companies and their suppliers continued to restrict manufacturing-economy expansion and will remain the primary headwind to production growth until employment levels and factory operations can return to normal across the entire supply chain.”

The bigger than expected increase by the headline index came as the new orders index jumped to 64.8 in February from 61.1 in January.

The production index also climbed to 63.2 in February from 60.7 in January, while the employment index rose to 54.4 from 52.6.

The report said the prices index also surged up to 86.0 in February from 82.1 in January, which Fiore said indicates “continued supplier pricing power and scarcity of supply chain goods.”

On Wednesday, the ISM is scheduled to release a separate report on activity in the service sector in the month of February. The services PMI is expected to come in unchanged at 58.7.

Abercrombie & Fitch Q4 Profit Beats Estimates

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) reported fourth quarter adjusted income per share of $1.50 compared to $1.31, prior year. On average, ten analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report profit per share of $1.22, for the quarter. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

Fourth quarter GAAP net sales were $1.12 billion, down 5% from previous year, reflecting the adverse impact of COVID-19. Analysts expected revenue of $1.12 billion, for the quarter. Net sales on a constant currency basis was down 7%, for the quarter.

Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch were up 2% in pre-market trade on Tuesday.

China says door to Xinjiang 'always open' but UN rights boss should not prejudge

  • China said on Tuesday that it was discussing a visit to its Xinjiang region by United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet.
  • Bachelet said reports about arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, sexual violence and forced labour in Xinjiang necessitated a thorough and independent assessment of the situation.

China said on Tuesday that it was discussing a visit to its Xinjiang region by United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, but that she should not set out with the aim of condemning its practices.

Bachelet said on Friday that reports about arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, sexual violence and forced labour in Xinjiang necessitated a thorough and independent assessment of the situation.

"The door to Xinjiang is always open, and we welcome the High Commissioner
to visit Xinjiang. Communication is kept up between the two sides, but the aim
of the visit is to provide exchanges and cooperation rather than … so-called
investigation based on 'guilty before proven'," China's delegation told the U.N.
Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Q4 adjusted earnings Beat Estimates

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) revealed earnings for fourth quarter that dropped from last year.

The company’s profit totaled $82.39 million, or $1.27 per share. This compares with $83.13 million, or $1.29 per share, in last year’s fourth quarter.

Excluding items, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. reported adjusted earnings of $97.33 million or $1.50 per share for the period.

Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.22 per share, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

The company’s revenue for the quarter fell 5.1% to $1.12 billion from $1.18 billion last year.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. earnings at a glance:

-Earnings (Q4): $97.33 Mln. vs. $83.89 Mln. last year.
-EPS (Q4): $1.50 vs. $1.31 last year.
-Analysts Estimate: $1.22
-Revenue (Q4): $1.12 Bln vs. $1.18 Bln last year.

Telecom spectrum auction ends with ₹77,815 crore bids; Jio top buyer with ₹57,122 crore

Vodafone Idea Ltd picked ₹1,993.40 crore worth of airwaves

India’s first auction of telecom spectrum in five years ended on Tuesday with ₹77,814.80 crore of airwaves being bought, mostly by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio.

Over 2,250 MHz of spectrum, that carry telecom signals, in seven bands worth nearly ₹4 lakh crore at the reserve or start price, was offered for bidding in the auction that began on Monday.

Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said 855.60 MHz of spectrum was bought for ₹77,814.80 crore in the two-day auction.

Reliance Jio bought ₹57,122.65 crore worth of spectrum while Vodafone Idea Ltd picked ₹1,993.40 crore worth of airwaves.

Bids were received in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands but there were no takers for the airwaves in the premium 700 and 2500 MHz bands.

About one-third of the spectrum being auctioned is in the 700 MHz band, which was completely unsold during the 2016 auctions.

This, analysts said, was mostly because operators are unlikely to diversify into a new spectrum band that would require incremental investment in equipment, when other sub-GHz bands are available at lower prices.

Kremlin says Elon Musk's Clubhouse invitation to Putin came to nothing

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that an invitation from Tesla boss Elon Musk for President Vladimir Putin to join him for a chat on social network Clubhouse had come to nothing and that Moscow had not received a response after seeking further details.

Musk last month invited Putin to join him for a chat on Clubhouse, a proposal that the Kremlin described as very interesting, though it said at the time it needed to hear more details.

On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters they had not received any response, however, and that the matter had probably been a misunderstanding.

Peskov said the matter was now probably closed.