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Jan 28: Health Insurance companies won’t cover war, Warren Buffett hits record, Stocks Surge (Recap Ep263)

In this week’s recap, global markets experienced mostly positive trends across the board. In 2024, health insurance policies were updated to include new exclusions and expenses not covered, notably citing “treatment of an injury or sickness due to war, declared or undeclared, riot, or insurrection.”

Oil prices rallied to their highest in two months on Friday after a fuel tanker was struck near Yemen, highlighting once again the geopolitical risks to global crude supplies. In contrast, lithium futures prices plummeted as demand for electric vehicles slowed in China, falling more than 80% from its December 1, 2022, high of $85,000 per metric ton to $14,627.73.

China took steps to boost liquidity by cutting the number of reserves banks are required to hold early next month. The reserve ratio requirement for banks was reduced by 50 basis points from February 5, providing 1 trillion yuan ($139.8 billion) in long-term capital. Meanwhile, Turkey’s central bank increased interest rates by another 250 basis points to 45%, with inflation in Turkey reaching 64.8% year-on-year in December.

Florida Governor DeSantis suspended his presidential campaign on Sunday, endorsing his bitter rival Donald Trump. The US revised its sanctions policy against Venezuela after a court upheld a ban preventing an opposition candidate from holding office, sparking debates about negotiating with dictators.

The manufacturing sector in the US hit its highest level in 15 months in January, and the services sector also outperformed expectations. South Korea’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the fourth quarter of 2023, with GDP expanding by 2.2%. The US Commerce Department reported that the US economy grew at a much more rapid pace than expected in the final quarter of 2023, avoiding a recession that many forecasters had deemed inevitable.

LVMH exceeded forecasts with a 13% organic growth, reaching $86.15 billion (equivalent to $93.34 billion USD). The conglomerate owns renowned brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Givenchy, Bulgari, and Sephora. Spirit Airlines appealed a Federal Judge ruling blocking its planned merger with JetBlue, and there are indications that JetBlue may terminate the $3.8 billion merger with the company. Berkshire Hathaway reached all-time highs on Wednesday, achieving a record high of $572,325.80 per share.

Neuralink, a company associated with Elon Musk, faced fines for violating US Department of Transportation rules regarding the movement of hazardous materials. DOT investigators found that the company failed to register itself as a transporter of hazardous materials and engaged in improper packaging of hazardous waste, including flammable liquid Xylene.

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