1. U.S. Tech Stocks Rebound as Global Bond Rout Eases

U.S. assets steadied on the last day of a tumultuous week, with tech stocks posting a modest rebound and the yield on 10-year Treasuries falling below 1.5%. The Nasdaq 100 climbed from a six-week low amid gains for mega-cap tech companies such as Apple and Microsoft. The S&P 500 Index eked out a smaller advance. The dollar strengthened for a second day, helping fuel a slump in commodity prices from oil to gold to copper. Asian shares tumbled in line with Thursday’s rout in the U.S., and European gauges also headed lower. Global bonds stabilized after central banks from Asia to Europe moved to calm a panic.

The S&P 500 Index rose 0.1% as of 9:52 a.m. in New York.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 1.3%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index declined by 3.6%.

The MSCI Emerging Markets index retreated 3.1%.

2. Commodities Boom Can Turn Into a Possible Supercycle

A surge in commodity prices has Wall Street banks gearing up for the arrival of what may be a new supercycle — an extended period during which demand drives prices well above their long-run trend. A major impetus is the massive stimulus spending by governments as they juice up their economies following pandemic lockdowns. The evidence includes surging copper and agricultural prices and oil back at pre-Covid-19 levels. One theory is that this could be just the start of a years-long rally in appetite for raw materials across the board, but the reality is more complicated.

3. EU and U.K. Near First, Small Step for Post-Brexit Finance

Britain and the European Union are nearing an agreement on how to cooperate on financial market rules — a first, limited step toward working together after Brexit. The two sides are proposing a joint forum for discussing regulations and sharing information, though this accord won’t require them to open markets through so-called equivalence decisions, according to a draft memorandum of understanding. The forum would lead to “informal consultations concerning decisions to adopt, suspend or withdraw equivalence,” according to the draft. Each side will keep the power to make and change its own rules.

4. Volkswagen Forecasts Profit Rise as Sales Come Roaring Back

Volkswagen expects profitability to improve this year, banking on continued recovery from the pandemic even as many economies wrestle with high infection rates and a global chip shortage weighs on the industry. Europe’s biggest carmaker is projecting an operating margin of 5% to 6.5% for 2021 and aiming for the higher end of that range.  “We intend to carry over the strong momentum from the significantly better second half into the current year,” Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter said in the statement. “The programs for reducing our fixed costs and in procurement will make us more robust in the long term.”

5. G-20 Moves Toward Consensus on Boosting IMF Firepower

The Group of 20 nations on Friday moved closer to an agreement on boosting International Monetary Fund reserves to help poor nations devastated by the global pandemic, according to officials familiar with the discussions. Talks focused on a proposal for a $500 billion allocation of the IMF’s special drawing rights, but the final decision likely will come closer to the lender’s spring meetings in April. Friday’s virtual meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors was hosted by Italy.

6. Bitcoin Heads for Worst Weekly Slide in a Year Amid Selloff

Bitcoin’s rally this year has hit a speed bump, putting it on track for the worst weekly slide in almost a year amid wider losses in risk assets. The largest cryptocurrency slumped as much as 21% this week, the most since March.  The price earlier dipped to as low as $45,525, nearing a key Fibonacci level at around $45,000, before recovering some losses to about $46,375 as of 6:21 a.m. in London. The rough patch for Bitcoin comes amid wider chaos in global markets, as a surge in bond yields heralds growing expectations that growth and inflation are moving higher and forcing traders to reevaluate their positions across multiple asset classes.

7. Ambani Again Richest Asian as China’s Zhong Loses $22 Billion

India’s Mukesh Ambani is back to being the wealthiest person in Asia. Despite a brutal week for markets, his Reliance Industries was relatively unscathed as it said it would spin off its oil-to-chemicals business into an independent unit. With a net worth of about $80 billion, Ambani is again richer than Zhong Shanshan, whose bottled-water company tanked a record 20% this week. The Chinese tycoon is worth $76.6 billion, down more than $22 billion from a peak just last week.

8. India Beats China at Its Own Game in Vaccine Diplomacy Fight

India’s huge capacity to make coronavirus vaccines is helping the country take on China in the battle to gain political influence across the developing world. Competition among poorer nations to get cheap or free vaccines to fight the pandemic had given China a golden chance to strengthen ties in emerging markets it has been courting for years. And initially, Beijing seemed in a strong position. It suppressed the domestic spread of Covid-19 last year and accelerated the production of shots. But Chinese pharmaceutical companies have been reticent in sharing details of their pivotal vaccine trials crucial for building public trust around the world, and new domestic outbreaks reinforced the urgency of inoculating China’s own 1.4 billion population. Meanwhile, India sent millions of doses to neighbouring Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, allowing them to begin vaccinations earlier than if they had waited for Chinese doses.

9. Saudi Crown Prince Implicated in Khashoggi Murder, U.S. Finds

A U.S. intelligence report expected to be declassified as soon as Friday implicates Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in approving the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The report builds on classified intelligence from the CIA and other agencies after Khashoggi’s murder in October 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. It wasn’t immediately clear how much detail the declassified version of the report will provide on Prince Mohammed’s role. The decision to release the report, compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, reflects the Biden administration’s determination to recalibrate relations with Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, over its human rights record.

10. Canada Approves AstraZeneca Shot; J&J Nears EU Nod

Canada’s health authority approved the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine will probably be approved by the European Medicines Agency in early March. Separately, the EU regulator’s human medicines committee found Regeneron’s REGN-COV2 combination can be used to treat confirmed coronavirus in patients who don’t require supplemental oxygen and are at high risk of progressing to severe Covid-19. Asia-Pacific continues to lead Bloomberg’s measure of the best places to be in the pandemic era, with New Zealand in pole position on the Covid Resilience Ranking for a fourth month in February, followed by Australia and Singapore.

Curated from Bloomberg.com

Latest

At the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference at Glasgow (COP26), India pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. The Centre has committed to installing a non-fossil fuel electricity generation capacity of 500 gigawatts (GW) and sourcing 50% of India’s energy requirement from renewable sources by 2030. The government also aims to reduce 1 […]

Advertisement