European stocks end choppy session higher on vaccine hopes

By Sruthi Shankar and Julien Ponthus

(Reuters) – Hopes of a COVID-19 vaccine pulled European stocks from losses earlier on Wednesday, after fears of a no-deal Brexit and anxieties relating to the European Union’s recovery fund had weighed on sentiment.

Ending a choppy session, the pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose 0.2%, with blue-chip indexes in Paris <.FCHI>, Milan <.FTMIB> and London <.FTSE> down about 0.2%

Markets on both sides of the Atlantic got a boost as a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc <PFE.N> and German biotech firm BioNTech <BNTX.O> showed promise and was found to be well tolerated in early-stage human trials.

A series of business surveys released earlier showed broad improvements in manufacturing across Europe and Asia as economies opened up, with IHS Markit’s final euro zone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) moving closer to the 50-mark separating growth from contraction in June.

Improving economic data out

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Southwest adds service in Chicago, Houston, other seasonal locations

Southwest Airlines has its sights on Chicago and Houston.

Residents from these two cities will soon get extra opportunities to book flights with the commercial airline now that Southwest has announced its plans to expand travel routes.

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“We decided to see how our north side looks in Chicago and Houston,” Southwest wrote in a tweet on Monday. ”Keep your eyes here in the coming months for route specifics.”

The airports Southwest is adding service to include Chicago O’Hare International Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and will likely begin operation in the first half of 2021.

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Southwest already had established routes at the Midway International Airport in Chicago and the Houston Hobby International, which employ 4,800 and 4,000 people, respectively.

The airline noted that

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Ponzi-style schemes to pay bookings

The Grand Palladium resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, was a swank respite in March for Leigh Anne Belcher and her daughter until they got a call to stop by the front desk about a billing question. 

Their travel agency, swamped with coronavirus cancellations, had abruptly closed its doors and disconnected its phone lines – and refused to pay the hotel for the room even though Belcher had paid the agency in full for the trip.

On the spot, Belcher had to come up with thousands of dollars to pay the upscale hotel, which threatened to call authorities and advised the front-gate attendants to make sure no one escaped without paying. When she and her daughter tried to head home to Lexington, Kentucky, they had to shell out more money; their flight had been canceled, and the airline wouldn’t allow them to change it since it, too, was booked by

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Explaining the market rally in Wall Street’s terms

By April Joyner and Kate Duguid

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Risk assets such as stocks and high-yield corporate bonds have climbed over the past two-and-a-half months despite a dire global economic outlook in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The rally has left some market observers scratching their heads but has also given rise to a bundle of jargon – some old, some new – attempting to explain recent trends. Here’s a guide to what’s driving financial markets now, in Wall Street’s own words.

DON’T FIGHT THE FED

One key factor in Wall Street’s climb, strategists say, is the unprecedented monetary support from the Federal Reserve, including purchases of corporate bonds and exchange-traded funds. The Fed’s balance sheet has expanded by some $3 trillion since March. Those actions have revived the slogan “Don’t fight the Fed,” as the liquidity supplied by the U.S. central bank has fueled an upward

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