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Quest Means Business

WHO Calls For A Moratorium On COVID-19 Booster Shots; Protests In Beirut One Year Since Port Explosion; Trading In Robinhood Temporarily Halted Amid Price Surge; Vanguard Offering Employees $1,000 To Get Vaccinated; El Al To Trial COVID-19 Tests On Flight From New York To Tel Aviv; Europe Stoxx 600 Closes At Record High. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired August 04, 2021 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: We have an hour together, the last hour of trading on Wall Street, and there are little hopes of a record on

the Dow, or the NASDAQ or the S&P. The European stocks were at an all-time -- I look at the market in New York, it shows you why. Oh, dear.

Down nearly one percent. Grim, but not too bad perhaps. The markets and the main events of the day.

The rich countries are now being asked, hold off on boosters, the W.H.O. says. The White House says it doesn't have to listen.

Beirut is boiling over. Angry protests a year after the port explosion.

And Robinhood, a meme in its own right, a lion-hearted rally, as much as 80 percent gain on the day.

Live in New York on Wednesday, it is the 4th of August. I'm Richard Quest and I mean business.

Good evening. A warning tonight from the World Health Organization. The booster shots that many countries are now putting in place will explode the

global vaccine divide. The W.H.O. is calling on wealthy countries to delay offering more doses to those who are already fully vaccinated, at least

until the end of September. The hope is, it will free up supply and continue to allow poorer countries to catch up.

Now, we know already, Israel, the UAE, Germany, the U.K. are all giving or planning to give a third booster shot.

In the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci said there is an effort to make boosters available to people with compromised immune systems very soon.

That's the situation, but the director of the W.H.O. is pleading with these countries to wait saying it benefits no one for rich countries to hoover up

available doses.


DR. TEDROS ADHANOM, DIRECTOR GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the

delta variant, but we cannot and we should not accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines, using even more of it

while the world's most vulnerable people remain unprotected.


QUEST: The White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki has already shot down that advice from the W.H.O. She says it is a false choice and the U.S. can

both give out boosters and donate excess vaccines.

Despite warning after warning from the global health institutions, vaccine inequality remains rampant. Eighty-eight countries fully vaccinated, less

than 10 percent of their people, at least 40, less than two percent.

So, two sides of this. Larry Madowo is in Nairobi; Phil Mattingly is in Washington. I'm going to start with you, Phil, because the White House says

they can do both, but the W.H.O. says hang on, not so fast.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And the White House is sticking with their personal position on this, the President's position

on this. I think Richard, what you noted from what White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said really underscores the position of President Biden

has had since he came into office. His number one priority is vaccinating Americans and ensuring that America has the supply to be able to implement

or utilize any necessary boosters. That has been the primary focus.

Now, over the course of the last several months, you've seen the U.S. start to shift course in terms of its donations of vaccine doses abroad. In fact,

just yesterday, President Biden announcing that the U.S. has now donated 111 million doses to more than 60 countries, another 500 million doses of

the Pfizer vaccine are expected to be shipped out in the coming weeks. That's where the White House is coming from when they are saying they can

do both.

They say, we will prioritize our population, but at this point in time, we have donated more doses than any other country in the world. Here's the

rub, Richard, as you know quite well. Right now, global health institutions are saying they need somewhere between 10 billion and 11 billion doses.

So, if you're sitting at 600,000 to 700,000 doses, that's just a drop in the bucket. And the U.S. by far the most wealthy and with the best access

to the vaccines, there has been significant calls from across the globe to do more. The White House, however, still prioritizing the U.S. population

before the global population -- Richard.

QUEST: Larry is with me. All right, Larry, that's the situation. Phil Mattingly has put it elegantly and the W.H.O. is says, no disrespect to

Phil, but that doesn't hold water.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't because it is a matter of life and death here in Africa where less than two percent of the population is

so far vaccinated, and what the World Health Organization is pointing out is that countries like the U.S. are the biggest producers, the biggest

consumers, but also the biggest donors of COVID-19 vaccines.

And as long as the pandemic is not eliminated in this part of the world, it is not eliminated anywhere and nobody is safe because this viruses mutate

and they will affect and they will go to every other part of the world.

So far, Richard, four billion vaccines have been disseminated around the world and 80 percent of those vaccines went to high and middle income

countries even though they account for less than half of the world's population.

QUEST: Right. I don't know that this has got a sort of an easy or a gentle solution. Phil Mattingly, we are going to get boosters. If Israel has done

it, Germany, U.K., I am guessing, it really is just a question of when the U.S. announces.

MATTINGLY: Yes, look, when you talk on administration officials, they underscore the inevitability of things. Clearly, things are heading in that

direction. They want to see the data from those countries that are starting first, but it seems very clear they are heading in that direction soon.

And I think, look, this gets that attention that has existed inside the administration, let alone from a geopolitical sense over the course of the

last several months where there have been officials from the State Department pressing the White House to donate more, when there have been

health officials making it clear to the President and his COVID team that Larry's point is spot on. If you don't eliminate the virus globally, other

variants will develop. We're looking at one right now surging throughout the United States.

It is completely incumbent upon the U.S. to do everything they can to try and eliminate the issue globally. I think counter to that, and what I've

heard from White House officials throughout the course of the last six months is, there are political implications here.

The U.S. population cannot see vaccines going by the millions to foreign countries and then have the President stand up and say, well, we don't have

enough for boosters for everybody. That's the constant tension that exists, but the White House has made clear, they are not shifting off their current

position. They believe they can do both, just probably not to the degree that global health officials would like.

QUEST: Good point. Phil -- Larry, final word to you. Is there any hope -- I mean, you're on the ground there. We've talked, you and I, several times

about your family and the situation of who has got what in terms of vaccines. Do you notice more people getting vaccinated?

MADOWO: There is suddenly a big demand for vaccines. I was at a vaccination site in Nairobi today and people are scared of the delta variant,

especially that we saw younger people especially who walked into the vaccination sites and there are a lot more people on social media saying

where can I get vaccinated? And they don't know how.

So, to people here looking at countries like -- in other parts of the world, offering booster shots, they think it is obscene that you're

offering a third layer of protection when there is the majority of populations here who have nothing at all and who are at risk of death if

they do not get these vaccines and get them quickly.

QUEST: Gentlemen, thank you. We won't solve that tonight, but certainly we can put it on the table and see the ways forward. Thank you very much. I

appreciate you both.

Violent protests in Beirut broke out, and it was one year after the catastrophic explosion that rocked the city. Now, a few hours ago, this is

what it is was like. Residents clashing with the Lebanese Security Forces. Many furious at the government's response to the blast, which plunged the

country into an even deeper economic crisis. You wouldn't have thought that was possible when you hear the numbers in a moment.

That explosion last year killed more than 200 people and injured around 6,000. It was caused by a fire on Beirut's water front. That ignited the

cache of ammonium nitrate. Billions of dollars' worth of damage was caused.

As for Lebanon itself, well, you have got to get further back for the economic crisis. Banks ran out of dollars in 2019. An explosion went on to

push the country to the point of economic collapse. The World Bank says the situation ranks among the 10 worst financial crises since the 1850s,

possibly in the top three.

UNICEF last month said 77 percent of households do not have enough food, and the U.N. believes the water system is on the brink of collapse.

Medicines critically short.

So France, Emmanuel Macron today pledging $118 million in aid and the Biden administration has pledged another $100 million on behalf of the U.S.

A year ago, when you and I were talking about this, we heard from Dr. Peter Noun, who was working at St. George's Hospital in Beirut. And he told Zain

Asher what happened at the moment tragedy struck.



DR. PETER NOUN, CHAIRMAN, PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGY, ST. GEORGE HOSPITAL UMC: I am the Chairman of the Pediatric-Hematology-Oncology and we had many cancer

patients on the floor. We are on the ninth floor of the hospital, the last floor, the up floor, and we are just in front of the port, so the port is

just in front of the hospital.

So, the parents had seen like a fire, and then the explosion happened. Many of the parents and kids go to the windows to see more, what is happening.

For this reason, they are much wounded.


NOUN: One of the --


QUEST: Now, the doctor is back with us one year later. Thank you, sir. Good to see you. The situation now for your patients in your hospital is what?

NOUN: Thank you for calling us today. It is a very emotional day. It is Memorial Day. We are all deeply saddened by what happened and we are

saddened because the crisis, as you said, is continuing and it is deepest even.

Because now, we are really back to the hospital. We went back to the hospital three weeks later after the blast. Of course, not in the best

conditions. We have not yet our unit back to normal conditions. It needs six more months to be back in the normal conditions because the blast had

lot of destruction in St. George's Hospital. Really, it was totally destroyed.

So the construction needs a lot of time. We will be back completely after Christmas. But now, we are back with limited places for our patients who

have to continue their treatment.

After the blast, we dispatched our patients in different hospitals, specifically in Byblos, far from Beirut, and three weeks later, the parents

and the kids wanted to go back to the hospital with their conditions.

So we went back but not in very good conditions. Hopefully that after Christmas, we will be back. But the biggest problem now is the economic

crisis. We know that we have a deep crash in the currency in Lebanon, everything is multiplied by 15, while the salaries are still the same.

We have deep shortage in drugs, specifically, essential drugs in cancer.

You know cancer patients, we have pediatrics survival rate about 80 percent, and in Lebanon, we had a very good medical supplies and good

medical care, and we had a very good survival rate. Now, our rate --

QUEST: Doctor, let me interrupt you, if I may, Doctor, just to clarify this point. The economic crisis. I mean, pediatric oncology requires expensive

equipment and expensive drugs in many cases. You don't have access to them, do you have hope that you can get access to them?

NOUN: You know, these drugs and supplies were subsidized by the Central Bank. And now, the Central Bank is saying that no more reserves. So, even

importers are not happy with that and they are saying, we have a shortage due to our crash -- cash crunch. So, we are afraid we will not have enough

drugs in the coming weeks.

We, as NGOs, we have NGOs like Kids First Association, we are helping St. George's Hospital with the parents to get some drugs from abroad, from the

countries who surround us from Europe, but you know, it is becoming very, very expensive because we have to pay in fresh dollars and people here are

paid by Lebanese pound, which now is really nothing.

So, we are very afraid, if not the Central Bank, it will not interact rapidly to get these drugs, we will have a big problem soon.

QUEST: So, I appreciate very much the way you've set out the problem, but bearing in mind the failure of Lebanon's government, to get a government

that is functioning in any real way, I don't want to be more depressing, but can you have hope that there will be an ability for you to do your job

as you would wish to do it?

NOUN: I always keep hope. I have to keep hope for the sake of my 150 cancer pediatric patients, so I am the rock for them. I have to stay beside them.

You really inside me, this is the first time I am really depressed -- I want to use this because term because I don't know, I can see the

government doing nothing or unable to do anything important.


NOUN: So, we are doing all of these by ourselves, NGOs, parents, the hospitals, the private sector, getting the drugs and the supplies and

devices by ourselves with a very expensive cost. So, you can imagine, I don't know how long we can also be like this and sustain all of this. I

don't know.

So, the drugs have to be subsidized by the Central Bank who continue and who give all the necessary drugs to our patients and the necessary hope for

a good survival rate.

QUEST: I promise you, we'll talk more before the end of the year. We will talk several times before the end of the year, Doctor. I promise you, we

will not leave it a year before we speak to you again. I'm grateful to you. Thank you.

NOUN: Thank you.

QUEST: Wall Street bets on Robinhood. Shares were halted after shooting up more than 80 percent. In a moment.


QUEST: Poetic justice, they will say. Shares of Robinhood briefly halted on Wednesday as the price soared for a second straight day, up more than 80

percent at one point. It is now 40 percent higher. You can see the number on the screen.

Robinhood went public in the NASDAQ last week at $38.00. It closed lower. Clare is with me. Well, you know, I mean, who is driving -- it is the

memes? Is it the day traders on Robinhood? Is it what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Richard, I think it is a little bit of a case of when the venue for all the recent meme stock

trading becomes the show itself. It does seem that after a bit of a slow start for the stock, you'll remember they only went public last Thursday.

It was a sort of a bit of a damp squid on the first day, they closed down eight percent. It didn't seem like there was as much interest in the stock

as many had thought.

But there has been a turn-around this week. Starting on Tuesday, suddenly, the retail traders are interested again. On Tuesday, according to Vanda

Research, there was a ten-fold increase in retail volume compared to Monday. We don't know the numbers yet for today, but it is the top trading

stock on Fidelity's retail platform, more than double the number of orders of the stock in second place.


SEBASTIAN: So, clearly, the retail traders are coming back, and it is not exactly clear what is driving this. There is a lot of chatter about this

online. Cathie Wood of ARK Invest has been loading up on the stock. She is seen as something of a sort of trading guru by many of the retail traders,

so that might be contributing, and also the fact that options trading has started today. That can also pump up the stock price in some cases.

There are a few different things going on, but it does smack of meme trading because nothing has changed in terms of the fundamentals of the


QUEST: And it is difficult, this one, isn't it, because does it mean they priced it wrong? Did they price it right? Is the market just on a frolic of

its own? All these possibilities there. Certainly, something strange is going on, and this stock is not now trading according to fundamentals.

Would you agree?

SEBASTIAN: Yes, and I think to some extent, perhaps, this was inevitable, Richard, I mean, the sort of invitation to bring in more retail traders

into the IPO, the road show that was streamed online and open to everyone, were they sort of inviting this kind of trading? You know, perhaps, that is

part of the story.

But then again, you know, you could say that this is also an area where we are going to see a lot of growth. There was a lot of negative sentiment

last week around the regulatory issues that the company was facing. They are still facing them, but has sentiment turned a little bit perhaps around

the Cathie Wood purchase, the growth rates that they've been seeing, 245 percent revenue growth last year, another 309 percent in the first quarter.

Could they continue to see that?

Certainly, the kind of market volume that they are seeing around their own stock today is a boon to this business given that they make most of their

revenue through order flow. So, a lot of questions around it, Richard, but clearly these are sort of familiar types of moves that we saw back in


QUEST: Thank you, Clare Sebastian. Good economic date and vaccine activism lifted European markets on Wednesday. The stocks -- Europe STOXX 600 closed

at a record high. Major averages across the continent were up, Europe's vaccine campaign is in high gear. You see the numbers on the screen.

After the slow start. E.U.'s vaccination rate surpassed the United States. The latest retail numbers in the Euro area look good. June sales up 1.5

percent. Ireland, Germany, and Latvia saw the largest increases. We are going to focus on Ireland. You see it there at 9.4 percent.

Francesca McDonagh is the Bank of Ireland CEO. She is with me now from Dublin. It is good to see you. The trading environment from banks. We've

got two things going on here really, haven't we? We've got the bank itself and we've got what your customers are dealing with.

Now, let's deal with the bank itself first of all, because very different to 2008 and that crisis where the banks were the problem. This time, would

you agree, the banks have been able to help solve the issues as a result of COVID or the financial issues?

FRANCESCA MCDONAGH, CEO, BANK OF IRELAND: Well, the short answer to that is yes. Bank of Ireland was the largest lender to the Irish economy and we

want to be part of the solution. We put it in place, over a hundred thousand payment breaks for our market to help customers in their time of

need, and that reflected in our results. We came out with our first results yesterday, and they reflect three things.

First of all, COVID is very much still with us, but there is a path to recovery and we are seeing that amongst businesses and households in

Ireland. Secondly, just as you mentioned, Richard, the vaccination program rollout has been very successful.

It is interesting in Ireland, we have one of the lowest levels of vaccination hesitancy in the free world and that is really, seeing that

sort of vice like grip that we would have seen COVID have over our businesses and our economy and society.

And the third thing is optimism and outlook. Our customers are telling us that their sentiment is as positive as it was pre the pandemic.

QUEST: You look, on your website, some very interesting article -- an interesting blog, by I think, it must be your Chief Economist, in which it

says, the Eurozone will still be behind its pre-pandemic path and may never regain the prior growth trajectory. The U.S. is already back there. Europe

remains five and a half. It is clear the U.S. acted swiftly. Europe is behind in that sense.

So are you worried that even with recovery funds, Europe is not going to recover as robustly as say, the U.S. or the U.K.?

MCDONAGH: I talk from an Irish perspective and I think we are on a -- we have a very positive trajectory. So, GDP growth is expected to be nine

percent this year. In 2020, one of the very few economies in Europe that had positive GDP growth. And we're also seeing -- and we're not alone in

this, just very positive foreign direct investments still coming through to Ireland.

So nine out of 10 of the world's largest financial services companies, pharmaceutical companies, American Fintech companies have operations in

Ireland, and they see Ireland as a gateway to the European Union.


MCDONAGH: We're now only native English speaker in the E.U. given Brexit and that gives us a unique advantage that will support what we see in terms

of economic growth and recovery from COVID.

QUEST: Kind of to you mention Brexit, ma'am. Thank you. Look, how worried are you over this disagreement on the Northern Ireland protocol? Now, at

the moment, everybody is sort of dancing on hot coals because it is -- pardon me, mixing my metaphors -- it is such a hot potato.

The reality is, if this Northern Ireland protocol goes wrong, then Ireland will be hit.

MCDONAGH: So, I'll going to leave, Richard, politics to the politicians. But one thing that the Island of Ireland's businesses that we support have

demonstrated is their ability to adapt to uncertainty. With Brexit and the impact of trade distortion or disruption has been with us since the

referendum result was had.

And I think for Ireland in particular, I mean, back in the '70s, it was all about trade with the U.K. Over 55 percent of exports from Ireland were to

the U.K. But we've changed since then and now, it is less than 11 percent.

So I think we're seeing the Island of Ireland focus far more on Europe. I would hope that the politicians come to a resolution that is good for

businesses and households on both side of the Irish border.

QUEST: Good to have you with us. I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

MCDONAGH: Thank you.

QUEST: A hundred dollars, five hundred, a thousand. How much would it take for you to get vaccinated? If you're a holdout, employers are employees all

sort of things. There is a price for everything and we'll discuss it after the break.




QUEST: The midweek edition of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, delighted you're on board.

Vanguard is raising the stakes on vaccine incentives. It is promising employees $1,000 to get vaccinated and it is not the first company to so

do. Kroger, a grocery store in the U.S., is offering a one-time payment of $100 for proof of vaccination.

Profit employees of McDonald's are eligible for up to four hours of paid time off. And workers of Bolthouse Farms are getting a $500 bonus for

getting vaccinated. Matt Egan is here.

We'll do first of all, Matt, just, you know, who is doing what?

I mean, why?

Why are they doing it?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: Well, they're doing it because they're worried about low levels of vaccination and they're concerned about

the Delta variant. They're also worried about the risk of even worse variants that could evade vaccines.

So Vanguard here, they're going with the shock and awe strategy; $1,000, no questions asked if you get vaccinated. If that doesn't motivate people, I

don't know what will. Vanguard said that it will offer this incentive to employees that show proof of vaccination by October 1st.

This is only for U.S. employees. But they have 16,500 U.S. employees. If all of them take advantage of this offer, that would be like $16.5 million

in vaccination bonuses, which I guess, when you're a company the size of Vanguard, which manages more than $7 trillion globally, it's a drop in the


But it does show a concern about the direction of the pandemic.

QUEST: But to those who have already been vaccinated, can you still get the bonus by showing your card?

EGAN: Yes, yes, you can. You can get this incentive. Vanguard said they're doing it to reward people for doing what they were supposed to be doing to

protect the community.

QUEST: Hang on. Hang on, Matt, isn't it slightly perverse that companies are having to pay people to get a vaccine that will save, arguably save

their lives and others?

And essentially, people are going to have to be incentivized or bribed to do so?

EGAN: Yes. I don't know if I would use the word perverse. I think it shows that businesses are, in some cases, willing to take a bold action here.

They feel like it is their responsibility to do so.

And of course, you know, the Delta variant is not good for business for anyone, really. I mean, there are real worries about what this would do to

financial markets and the economy.

QUEST: But if you are somebody who has a moral objection or you believe it is a scientific objection, you're basically saying that objection, that you

don't believe in the science, can be bought off for $100.

EGAN: Well, they're clearly taking a different approach from some other companies. We've heard from other parts of corporate America. They're

basically saying, get vaccinated or get out.

Those companies, which include some Silicon Valley companies, like Microsoft, Facebook and Google, they're allowing for some exemptions around

religious and moral concerns. In this case, this is not a punishment; this is an incentive.

QUEST: Matt Egan, thank you. I don't believe we're getting $1,000. Thank you, Matt.

Israel's El Al airline is to be among the first to test passengers for COVID on the plane. The scheme is to be tried between New York and Tel


It is aimed at speeding up the process on arrival. Even as it gives out booster shots, foreign tourism to Israel is still largely banned over the

Delta variant. The country says many travelers who do make it will have to self-isolate for at least a week after landing.

Leehu Hacohen is El Al's chief operating officer and joins me from New York.

This is interesting. Essentially what you're doing is collecting the specimens before people arrive in Tel Aviv, then speeding them through


LEEHU HACOHEN, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, EL AL: Hello, Richard. That's true. Actually, what we are doing, regulation demands that people from taking a

first sample at 72 hours prior departure and the second one upon landing in Ben Gurion.

So what we are doing, we are taking the sample, instead of Ben Gurion, in the gate or in the plane itself, cutting people the time standing in line

while they are, upon ending in Ben Gurion. This is the first thing.

And second, when we are going to land, we take sample directly to the lab.


HACOHEN: So cutting another few hours from getting the result, obviously faster than the other way. This is all --


QUEST: Are they obliged to stay in the airport until they get results?

HACOHEN: Actually, no. What today is vaccinated people are taking the test, going home and only they need to be in quarantine of 24 hours or less until

they got their results. So actually.

But this is the exactly the case. We can cut a couple of hours. Instead of standing in the line and doing the test and then going home just directly

from the plane, you can go home. And the test will get sooner to the lab and this is how you get the result sooner.

But this is all just one part of a plane or a model in order to harness the technology and a new concept, in order to bring back, to make the journey

of the -- our passenger safer and easier.


QUEST: El Al, of course, new owner last year; new CEO; slowly building back. I see the planes that you've still got in, that you've still got in

storage. And I'm wondering where you see the airline, from an operation point of view.

Where do you see it going?

As the Delta variant, it's -- Israel is very difficult in terms of -- besides people returning, it is very difficult to leave in some cases. It's

certainly very difficult to go visit.

Where does this place El Al?

HACOHEN: Obviously, it is very hard to foresee, to see ahead, you know, airline can usually plan five years ahead. Now we are planning a couple of

weeks or a couple of months.

Now obviously with all this, with hard time, we signed -- Israel signed the Abraham accord so we did succeed to open a new route to Dubai and Morocco

and Seychelles and others. So yes, there are challenges here.

But I think that -- and this is the concept of this pilot, of being a combination of really a unique cooperation between the minister of health

and the Israeli airport authority and express check American company and (INAUDIBLE) company. And all together, to bring or to try to bring this,

the passenger back to a safer flight in the air, actually.

QUEST: Talking about the Abraham accords and the arrangements that you've got, it is fascinating. I mean, you are now partners with the airlines that

were your principal competitors in many ways, the Etihads and the Emirates of this world.

Do you -- how important is it, having that relationship with those other -- particularly Emirates or particularly going to Dubai and with Etihad in the


HACOHEN: I think we are in an historical time, I would say. Having the chance to fly to Dubai or to Morocco, it's a new basis (ph) for us. And I

think for the (INAUDIBLE) and all the Middle East, this is a new chance.

So we see it as a strategic partnership, historical at times and this is what balance now the -- all the challenges that we have with the COVID-19.

Obviously, the COVID-19 is here to stay for a couple years at least.

And this is exactly how we try on one hand to bring a new concept or technology in order to make the flight safer or to maintain the health of

the people in order to build there, to build there on Morocco on -- and Dubai and to have this unique partnership with those companies.

QUEST: Good to see you, sir. Thank you. We'll follow more on the way things go with El Al. Appreciate it.

HACOHEN: Thank you.

QUEST: I need to look at the markets to update you because we did yesterday at this time. We had a record on the SNP. They have the Dow. You have the

Dow down 270. I wouldn't be too concerned about that, A, because we've had great gains but also it has been down heftily throughout the day.

It's been down; it's in a bad mood. And you look at the triple stack, you will see that that is not doing much better although the Nasdaq has eked

out a small gain but I'm just looking now to make sure. I don't think, no. The Nasdaq's closing record is 840. So we're still some way off that. And

no records elsewhere.


QUEST: That's where the markets are looking. That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Well, I still find it a rum business that we're paying people to have vaccines when it saves your life and others. And there people out there --

we heard from Larry Madowo earlier -- who can't even get the vaccines.

(INAUDIBLE) such is life. Not as careers focus, as they said where I grew up. I'll be back at the top of the hour. We'll make a dash for the closing

bell. Coming up next, "MARKETPLACE ASIA."








QUEST: I'm Richard Quest. Together, let's have a dash to the closing bell. It's two minutes away. The Delta variant is the story of the day. The World

Health Organization says it has now spread to 135 countries.

The Dow is near the session lows. You can see it is off nearly 1 percent. I think we are in the session lows, although somebody may correct me. More

U.S. companies are offering vaccine incentives.

The S&P 500 the triple stat, let's reveal all. The Nasdaq is holding on to gains but barely. Certainly, no records. Markets in Europe were in the

green. On the day, the euro Stoxx 600 at a record high amid optimism. The Bank of America's (sic) chief executive Francesca McDonagh told me

confidence levels were rising.


FRANCESCA MCDONAGH, CEO, BANK OF IRELAND: First of all, COVID is still very much still with us but there is a path to recovery and we are seeing that

amongst businesses and households in Ireland.

Secondly, as you mentioned, the vaccination rollout has been very successful. It is interesting in Ireland, we have one of the lowest levels

of vaccination hesitancy in the free world.

And that is releasing that viselike grip that we would have seen COVID have, over our businesses and our economy.

And the third thing is optimism and outlook. Our customers are telling us that their sentiment is as positive as it was pre the pandemic.


QUEST: Interesting from the Bank of Ireland there.

Not much optimism in the U.S. Look at the Dow 30. You can see it's more, well, a lot more red than green. Down 6 percent. The Amgen (ph), that

cannot be Salesforce just over 1 percent. Nike and United Health Care are efforting the green.

And that's the dash for the bell. I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable. The closing bell is ringing.

"THE LEAD" with Pamela Brown starts now. Ooh, look at that number.