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20 August 21

J & J says veteran Duato to replace Gorsky as chief executive

Johnson & Johnson on Thursday appointed Joaquin Duato as chief executive officer to replace veteran Alex Gorsky to steer the healthcare conglomerate through the remainder of the coronavirus pandemic.

Duato, the current vice chairman of the executive committee, will take the reins and a seat on the board from Jan. 3. Gorsky, who was at the helm for nine years, will become executive chairman.

The transition will put the world’s largest drugmaker by market value in the hands of a company veteran who took a leading role in J&J (NYSE:JNJ)’s COVID-19 response and helped shape its pharmaceutical business strategy.

Gorsky said in a statement it was the right time to make the switch for both the company and him personally as he focuses more on family due to “family health reasons.”
Gorsky oversaw massive growth during his tenure, establishing J&J as a major player in the rare diseases market and leading its development of the first single shot COVID-19 vaccine.

Oil Up, but Set for Weekly Decline as COVID-19 Continues to Restrict Fuel Demand

Oil was up Friday morning in Asia, climbing up from three-month lows. However, the black liquid was set for a weekly decline of around 6% as the restrictive measures in place to curb the latest COVID-19 outbreaks globally continue to dampen the fuel demand outlook.

Decreasing risk appetite, with the dollar at a nine-and-a-half month high thanks to signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin asset tapering later in 2021, also weighed in on oil.

Brent oil futures were up 0.45% to $66.75 by 11:24 PM ET (3:24 AM GMT), falling 2.6% to its lowest close since May 2020 on Thursday. WTI futures gained 0.58% to $63.87 after sliding 2.7% on Thursday.

“With vaccination levels relatively low, the deteriorating situation across Asia has already seen mobility fall. This will lead to a fall in crude oil demand in the region in the second half of 2021 and take the shine off an otherwise positive backdrop elsewhere,” ANZ commodity analysts said in a note.

Dollar Up, Remains Near Almost-Ten Month Highs Due to Risk Aversion

The dollar was up on Friday morning in Asia, remaining near a nine-and-a-half month high, as persistent COVID-19 concerns continued to give the safe-haven asset a boost.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched up 0.01% to 93.602 by 10:33 PM ET (10:33 AM GMT).

The USD/JPY pair inched up 0.01% to 109.73.

The AUD/USD pair edged down 0.17% to 0.7134 and the NZD/USD pair was down 0.29% to 0.6882.

The USD/CNY pair edged up 0.14% to 6.5032. The People’s Bank of China released its latest loan prime rate (LPR) earlier in the day, with the one-year LPR remaining unchanged at 3.85% and the five-year LPR at 4.65%.

The GBP/USD pair inched down 0.10% to 1.3624.

The minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, which hinted that asset tapering could start as soon as 2021, also continued to give the U.S. currency a boost.

Investors will now look ahead to the Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium, taking place from Aug. 26 to 28, for more clues to an asset tapering and interest rate hike timetable.

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