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Naveen Soni appointed president of Lexus India

Gold Edges Up In Cautious Trade

Gold edged up slightly on Tuesday after its worst sell-off in six weeks in the previous session amid bets of earlier-than-expected rate hikes.

Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,806.71 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.4 percent at $1,806.35.

The U.S. dollar reached its strongest level in more than a month against the Japanese yen today after Treasury yields jumped overnight on expectations that the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant would have limited economic impact and that the Federal Reserve will raise rates in March soon after completing tapering of its bond purchases.

A string of new studies suggested that the Omicron virus variant might be less severe than initially feared.

The new variant appears to be far more contagious than previous iterations, but data suggests it may be less virulent than Delta, which led to various nations taking strict preventive measures.

Even though coronavirus cases surged in the U.S., Europe and UK, the number of deaths and hospitalizations remain low.

Oil Prices Extend Gains Ahead Of OPEC+ Meeting

Oil prices rose in choppy trade on Tuesday amid growing evidence that the Omicron variant is less likely to lead to severe disease, even as cases surge.

Benchmark Brent crude futures rose half a percent to $79.35 a barrel in European trade, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 0.6 percent at $76.50 per barrel. Both contracts ended up more than 1 percent in the previous session.

Fuel demand concerns from the spread of Omicron ebbed further after early laboratory studies showed the more transmissible Omicron variant replicates less efficiently once inside the lung tissue.

Meanwhile, investors pinned hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies will stick to their plan to raise monthly crude production by the previously decided 400,000 barrels per day, given the current price outlook and no major new Covid-19 mobility curbs.

The group is scheduled to meet later today via videoconference to determine production levels for February.

The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee will meet at 1200 GMT, followed by a ministerial meeting at 1300 GMT, both by video conference.

There is some cheer on the data front, with a private survey showing China’s manufacturing activity rebounded at the end of 2021.

The Caixin China purchasing managers’ index rose to 50.9 from 49.9 in November, ending a two-month contraction and reaching the highest level since June.

China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 50.3 in December from 50.1 in November, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Friday.

Pre-market Movers: FTK, BVXV, PBTS, SPRB, AHPI…

The following are some of the stocks making big moves in Tuesday’s pre-market trading (as of 07.00 A.M. ET).

In the Green

Flotek Industries, Inc. (FTK) is up over 53% at $0.86
BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (BVXV) is up over 45% at $3.40
Spruce Biosciences, Inc. (SPRB) is up over 15% at $4.85
Allied Healthcare Products, Inc. (AHPI) is up over 13% at $6.82
TRACON Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (TCON) is up over 11% at $3.23
ADDvantage Technologies Group, Inc. (AEY) is up over 9% at $2.02

In the Red

Powerbridge Technologies Co., Ltd. (PBTS) is down over 21% at $0.73
Microbot Medical Inc. (MBOT) is down over 10% at $8.00
American Virtual Cloud Technologies, Inc. (AVCT) is down over 9% at $2.33
Amesite Inc. (AMST) is down over 7% at $0.94

NHTSA To Further Probe Hyundai, Kia Engine Fires

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA has stepped up its investigation into engine fires in some vehicles of South Korean car major Hyundai Motor Co. and its subsidiary Kia Motors Corp. for over six years, Reuters reported.

The U.S. auto safety agency, which had opened an investigation in 2019 about the fires, has now started an engineering analysis covering about 3 million vehicles. Among other things, the NHTSA will evaluate the efficacy of recalls initiated by both companies.

In 2016, there were complaints that Hyundai was not repairing a design problem in its Theta II engines, which could easily seize up and even catch fire.

The NHTSA in 2019 opened an investigation covering 3 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles following reports of thousands of fires that injured many. It was later revealed that Hyundai and Kia had wasted lot of time in recalling the affected vehicles and had not provided accurate information to the authorities about the problems incurred.

In November last year, both companies had agreed to a $210 million auto safety civil penalty after the U.S. auto safety regulators said the companies failed to recall 1.6 million vehicles for engine issues in a timely manner.

In early November this year, NHTSA gave more than $24 million to a whistle-blower as the first-ever reward for revealing important information about the safety lapses at Hyundai. Kim Gwang-ho, who is an ex-Hyundai Motors engineer, was awarded the sum for his inside information about the carmaker.

Tracing a Los Angeles Treasure: Its Glorious Sprawl of Sushi

Few locales outside Japan can equal the variety, skill and creativity served at the city’s countless sushi counters.

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By Tejal Rao

Naveen Soni appointed president of Lexus India

Naveen Soni has taken over as the president of Lexus India.

As senior vice president for Toyota Kirloskar Motors through 2020 and 2021, Soni has spearheaded sale and service and has been involved with the development of key models such as the Glanza and Urban Cruiser, which were sourced from Maruti as part of the global agreement between Toyota and Suzuki.

Soni takes charge of Lexus at a time of heightened awareness of global warming, and hopes that the Lexus’ hybrid model line-up will appeal to the environmentally conscious buyer who is keen to make a statement.