Thursday 19th May 2022

US

  • Stock markets in Asia and the US have fallen over concerns that rising prices could send the global economy into a slowdown. US shares saw their biggest one-day drop since 2020 after downbeat earnings reports from some of America’s biggest retailers. That came after the S&P 500 index, which tracks shares of a wide swathe of America’s biggest companies, plunged more than 4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 3.5%.
  • The S&P 500 booted electric vehicle maker Tesla from its ESG Index as part of an annual update to the list. Meanwhile, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and even oil and gas multinational Exxon Mobil were still included on the list.
  • Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce his political switch from Democrat to Republican, trashing ESG and replying to several users of the social-media website he’s agreed to buy. The billionaire tweeted that ESG was “a scam” after Tesla lost its spot on the ESG version of the S&P 500 Index. 
  • Google’s Russian subsidiary plans to file for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank account, making it impossible to pay staff and vendors, but free services including search and YouTube will keep operating, a Google spokesperson said on Wednesday. The Alphabet unit has been under pressure in Russia for months for failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal and for restricting access to some Russian media on YouTube, but the Kremlin has so far stopped short of blocking access to the company’s services.
  • Melvin Capital Management is giving up and shutting down, more than a year after the $7.8 billion hedge fund was grievously injured in a short squeeze by amateur traders who organized on Reddit. Gabe Plotkin’s abrupt decision, announced in a letter to clients Wednesday, ends his attempt at a long-shot comeback funded by some of Wall Street’s biggest players.

Europe

  • European shares were down yesterday as inflationary fears remained apparent. In the UK, the FTSE 100 lost 1.07% and Germany’s DAX Index lost 1.26% over the course of Wednesday’s trading.
  • UK inflation soared to a 40-year high of 9% in April as food and energy prices spiraled, official figures revealed Wednesday, escalating the country’s cost-of-living crisis. Consumer prices rose by 2.5% month-on-month, fractionally below expectations for a 2.6% climb in a Reuters poll of economists, which had also projected a 9.1% annual increase.
  • Europe’s governments and central bankers are moving toward a mix of economic policies that hasn’t been seen since before the global financial crisis, potentially opening up a new era of fretting about markets. As the European Central Bank considers raising interest rates as soon as July to quell inflation, capitals are acting to support demand via expansionary budgets. But while the central bank can rein in stimulus now as governments step in with more support, higher borrowing costs will ultimately strain public finances in countries such as Italy.
  • Ministers are facing growing calls to bring forward large increases in benefits and the state pension which will be paid from next April. Charities want benefits to increase now to help people struggling with the cost of living, particularly energy bills. A well-established system means the annual increase in benefits will match this September’s inflation rate – but will only be paid from April 2023.
  • Marks & Spencer has written to the chancellor warning that an online sales tax would damage the High Street. A three-month government consultation on whether to introduce an online sales tax closes on Friday. The Treasury said the proceeds would go towards funding a reduction in business rates for shops.

Asia

  • Asian markets are mixed this morning. The Nikkei 225 is down 1.89% this morning and the CSI 300 is up a marginal 0.19%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng is down 2.36%.
  • There are only two major indexes across Asia-Pacific which stand in positive territory so far in 2022, and both of them are in Southeast Asia. As of the Wednesday market close, Singapore’s Straits Times index is in first place regionally, having risen 3.25% year-to-date. Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite is in second place regionally, with 3.22% year-to-date gains.
  • The blistering heat wave in northwest India and Pakistan was made over 100 times more likely because of human-caused climate change, according to a new study published Wednesday by the United Kingdom’s national weather service.
  • Singapore Airlines on Wednesday posted a narrower annual loss of $694.08 million, at a time when demand remained low due to the pandemic, but said the outlook was improving as travel restrictions were lifted.

Bonds

  • 10yr and 30yr US treasuries are currently trading at 2.85% and 3.05% respectively.
  • 10yr UK gilts trade with a yield of 1.81%.
  • German 10yr bund yields trade at 0.97%.
  • 10yr Italian and Spanish bond yields trade at 2.94% and 2.07% respectively.

Commodities

  • The WTI crude oil price is $110.26
  • Brent crude is $110.45
  • The gold price is $1,812.94
  • The silver price is $21.37
  • The COMEX copper price is $4.19

Currency

  • The Yen is trading at 128.12 against the US dollar.
  • The pound is trading at 1.24 against the US dollar.
  • The pound is trading at 1.18 against the Euro.

 

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