In this recap, U.S. stock markets were lower this week as all 3 major U.S. indexes fell for a 3rd consecutive week, with investors anxious about the prospect of higher interest rates & their effect on valuations. The S&P 500 & Nasdaq wrap up their worst weeks since March 2020. China’s central bank cut interest rates again this week, with the 1-year loan prime rate by 10 basis points from 3.8% to 3.7%. The 5-year loan prime rate was reduced by 5 basis points from 4.65% to 4.6% the 1st cut since April 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. Russian & Ukraine bonds fell further on rising fears that Russia could attack its neighbor. Russian stocks took their biggest tumble since March 2020, dropping -6½%. Stocks on Russia’s major exchange have dropped a total of -13%, in the last 4 trading sessions.
Bitcoin begins a free fall in price over the last 24 hours falling by -7.59% by early Friday morning to $38,984.90 from $41944.00, during a broader Asian market sell-off. Ether is also down by nearly 10%, hitting $2,841. There have been nearly $600M in liquidations during the last 12 hours. Bitcoin led the liquidation pack at $250M, followed by Ether at $163M.
U.K. Prime Minister Johnson announced the end of COVID-19 measures including mandatory face masks in England on Wednesday, as he looks to live with the virus after a peak in cases caused by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. Johnson’s pledge to avoid lockdowns & live with the virus sharply contrasts with a zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 in China & Hong Kong, & tougher restrictions in many other European countries.
The steep rise in U.S. unemployment claims raises investor concerns about the economic impact of the omicron variant, which has weighed on the economy in Q4 2021 & into Q1 2022. Economists say persistent staffing troubles, declines in face-to-face consumer activity & ongoing school closures could well wipe out much of the previous quarter’s growth & job gains.
Increased theft from delivery drivers is the new challenge to maintaining the supply chain; fears at major U.S. airlines over 5G deployment this Wednesday; S&P 500 companies continue to outperform expectations in their Q4; precious metals keep rising higher; crude prices, up over 10% this year, could rise even further, due to tight supplies; shares Netflix crashed -21.79%.