Summary: US stocks bounced back this morning to recover some of Monday night’s losses after positive results from Nike and Micron. Air NZ announced flight cancellations for 27,000 travellers overnight after the reopening of the border for MIQ-free travellers was delayed six weeks to the end of February. A bumper year for M&A is wrapping up, with StraitNZ the latest local firm to change hands. 

The fallout – Air NZ announced overnight it would cancel 120 flights because of the government’s move yesterday to delay the start of MIQ-free travel from Australia until the end of Feb, with upwards of 27,000 travellers likely to be affected. (1News)

New waters – Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners is reported to have bought Bluebridge ferry operator StraitNZ for more than $500 million in one of the last M&A deals of the year. The freight company has been on the market since June, marking five years under the ownership of Australian private equity firm CPE Capital. (AFR

‘Go to Plan B’ – Sweden ordered workers to work from home if they could in an attempt to slow omicron’s spread, while Portugal closed its bars and nightclubs, despite having the world’s highest vaccination rate. (Reuters)

‘Stay home’ – The WHO warned of a significant surge in omicron cases fuelled mostly by circulation between young adults and called for people and businesses to cancel holiday events that could spread the virus. (Reuters)

Joe Biden is set to announce up to half a billion off-the-shelf Covid test kits will be sent for free to US households in an attempt to control omicron. (Guardian)

‘No worries…’ – US stocks bounced 1.5% this morning, with Nike and Micron rising after strong profit results, while the NZ dollar recovered a bit from 14-month lows to be 67.50 US cents by 7.45am NZT. (Reuters)

Turkish delight – Turkey’s lira rebounded sharply after President Tayip Recep Erdogan announced a guarantee for term deposit returns to stop a flight of savers desperate to swap lira for US dollars in the wake of a 50% fall in the currency. (Reuters)

Early adopters The CDC reported omicron was now the dominant US strain with sequencing showing 73% of cases were the latest variant. (CNBC)

Fresh on BusinessDesk this morning

Jenny Ruth reports that RBNZ Chair Neil Quigley and Finance Minister Grant Robertson have no concerns about a recent exodus of execs from the Reserve Bank.

Dan Brunskill reports on how NZ Growth Capital Partners wants to see a VC industry here with billion-dollar-plus funds.

David Chaplin’s weekly column is a non-fiction account of Santa Claus’ engagement with brand consultants, ETFs of NFTs, and non-disclosure agreements.