Crude, crypto and global stocks rally even as inflation concerns spike
After a two-day rally, stocks in the U.S. and Europe are now higher for the week, erasing the losses from Monday’s big sell-off. And today they look set to go for three straight. Even Asia is joining in the rally.
Crypto, too, has had a good day, with some help from some influential bulls. Bitcoin has hit a four-day high.
Alas, it’s not clear sailing. Consumer goods giant Unilever issued a big inflation warning this morning. Upshot: your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Dove shampoo and cleaning products will get more pricey. The Unilever stock, though, is cheaper as investors push shares down more than 4% in London.
Let’s see what else is moving the markets.
- The major Asia indexes are finally catching up to the party. In afternoon trading, the Hang Seng was up 1.7%.
- A bit more weather detail from Zhengzhou, the Chinese industrial power that was socked with deadly floods earlier this week. Last week, the city of 10 million was enduring a withering heat wave. The more immediate concern: the damage to local infrastructure will pose a new drag on the global EV supply chain.
- Shares in Japanese homebuilding giant Tama Home bombed 10% lower on Wednesday after the company’s president reportedly warned employees to steer clear of COVID shots. He also went on a rant about 5G.
- The European bourses out of the gates were again climbing with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.8% mid-morning. The benchmark index notched its best session in the past two months on Wednesday.
- The controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will bring Russia‘s gas straight to Germany now has the blessing of the Biden Administration… but there are plenty of hawks in Congress who don’t like the arrangement.
- Shares in ASML, the Dutch semiconductor equipment maker, continues to set all-time-high after all-time-high. The company announced on Wednesday it will return billions to shareholders as order flows soar. You know that analogy about the shovel vendor striking it rich during a gold rush. Well, ASML is the shovel factory.
- U.S. futures have been gaining all morning. That’s after the Big Three indexes all finished higher for a second straight day. The big winner was small-caps, however. The Russell 2000 has gained more than 5% in the past two days even as concerns grow it’s oversold.
- Shares in Chipotle were flat in pre-market on Thursday, but soared more than 11% yesterday, to a new all-time high, following a huge bottom-line beat. The recipe to their success? Fortune‘s Chris Morris reports.
- The big names on the earnings calendar today include Intel, Abbot Laboratories and AT&T.
- Gold is down, trading below $1,800/ounce.
- After a week of gains, the dollar is down a touch.
- Crude is up with Brent around $72/barrel.
- Bitcoin nearly crossed the $33,000 mark at one point overnight after crypto-booster heavyweights Elon Musk, Cathie Wood and Jack Dorsey held a virtual powwow on the pros and cons of crypto currencies. Here are the take-aways. BTC has retreated since.
Why video games matter to NFLX
Inflation remains politically polarising in the U.S. Yesterday, US President Biden said car prices were returning to pre-pandemic levels—which is not true, at least for used cars. U.S. Senate Minority Leader McConnell said inflation was driving the cost of everything through the roof—which is not true, as most goods and services have low inflation and only a very small number of prices are roof adjacent.— Paul Donovan, UBS Chief economist.
Big Sky country
Fortune‘s Lance Lambert breaks down what’s going on in the red-hot U.S. housing market where hotspots are sending home prices to fresh records. Up near the top of the list: Big Sky, Montana. Lovely place!
As was the case in the United Kingdom and now Continental Europe, the Delta variant is the new dominant strain in the U.S., accounting for 83% of all new infections. It’s hitting low-vax states particularly hard.
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Long COVID. There's some worrying new data out of Britain on the lingering after-effects of COVID-19. Nearly 40,000 Britons reported back their symptoms, ranging from fatigue, shortness of breath and difficulty concentrating. But another symptom is raising concerns among public health officials. "30% of COVID-19 long-haulers reported experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of depression," David Meyer reports in Fortune.
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Quote of the day
[Giannis] has shown that anything is possible, that even in a country that gives no opportunities, and often thrives in exclusionary narratives and practices, hard work and dreaming against the odds is the only way forward.
That's Nadina Christopoulou, director of Melissa Network, an Athens-based organization for migrant and refugee women from Nigeria and much of Africa. The Greek capital was in a festive mood after its hometown hero Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA crown in the early hours of Wednesday in Greece. As I mentioned yesterday, the story of Antetokounmpo is one for the ages. He was selling trinkets on the streets of Athens as a kid, only to rise to become champion of the world. Stelios Bouras writes in Fortune from Athens about what Antetokounmpo's latest triumph means for the country, and for the African migrant community there.
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