Highlights of the year 2018 – Brexit, trade talks and green finance

The year 2018 was a year of Brexit, electric cars and trade talks. It included special moments in the financial markets and in the company side. Green Bonds and Green Finance were getting more attention in the markets and trade talks and Brexit were the topics during the year 2018 along. Climate Change and low carbon landed also in the agenda of central banks.

Investors were also asking what is the role of the City as a global financial hub. Should it have its own rules in spite of the Brexit? In the financial hub competition, Frankfurt and Paris were the European cities to get more new financial offices as financial companies were moving some operations to the EU side.

The UK Parliament is expected to vote of the Brexit during Janury 2019 after very intensive debate about the deal during the year.

Climate Change has become part of the everyday life in the financial markets and for example one of the biggest insurance companies in the US, Berskhire Hathaway informed in February 2018, that it has got 3 billion dollars losses of the natural catastrophies, the hurricances in the US. Several central banks, including the European Central Bank and some Asian ones, have also agreed about the co-operation in the climate issues and how to monitor the impact on the markets.

In the tech-side augmented reality and ioT were the themes for the year. Apple, Amazon, Google, Tesla, Intel  and Samsung  were one of the tech-companies to deliver new services related to the new technology. On the other side of the topic, Facebook was dealing with the privacy issues globally. New tech- companies listed in the markets were for example Spotify and Xiaomi.

Year 2018 was a year of electric cars in many countries. The e-cars breakthrough with charging issues was one of the tech topics as well. Telsa founder Elon Musk was the leading industry sector figure as he estimated that Tesla would make one million cars by 2020 in February 2018.

Also the German automakers announced new investments and concept cars. For example the BMW Group launched an autonomous driving campus in Munich in March 2018.

Year 2018 was also a year for luxury goods and services. The Basel World 2018 -fair announced its good selling and for example the CEO of Hublot, Ricardo Guadalupe,  told ComteamPUB+ that the company expects double digit growth for the year and that the Chinese customers will be the leading segment.

In the debt markets the US Uber and Netflix issued their junk bonds to investors. Uber, the ride-sharing company, is said to plan an IPO for the year 2019 according to the secret filings to the SEC.

One of the biggest infrastructure projects ever, the China Silk Road, is getting more attention from the green investors side, while the organization made its first announcement of the green principles for the project co-operation and operators. The ancient Silk Road is expected to rise the GDP growth by 4 % or 240 billion dollars in the countries invlolved according to Credit Suisse analysis.

The aim of the Roman time Silk Road is to connect the western Europe with the eastern coast of China and to renew the infrasturcture in between. This means also that the 10 world largest container ports are located along the route.

Trade talks between different countries have continued lively during the year. US and China have been in the headlines, but also the EU with its agreement with Japan.  The political situation and rising volatility in the financial markets tell the direction for the next year. Geopolitical easing is needed.

Päivi Härkönen, co-founder, ComteamPUB+

 

 

Business Finance Lifestyle

Stocks mixed in Wall Street – Dell returned to the markets

The US stocks were mixed on Friday trading in Wall Street. The Dow Jones index was down 0,52 % to 23018 points, but the Nasdaq-index ended up 0,08 % to 6584 points. Larger S&P 500 index ended down 0,13 % to 2485 points.

Technology-company Dell Technologies (DVMT) returned to the markets, when its listing started again. The shares were listed in NYSE after six years as a private company. During Friday, the banking group Wells Fargo (WFU) announced that it will pay 575 million dollars to the state as settlement of phony accounts and customer abuses.

The e-cars manufacturer Tesla (TSLA) announced two new board members as part of the SEC settlement. The Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and HR director Kathleen Wilson-Thompson will join the board. Tesla shares gained after the news. California is also the first US state to mandate women in boards.

In Europe the stocks gained and for example in London the FTSE 100 -index rose 1,89 % to 6653 points. In Germany the DAX-index ended up 1,71% to 10558 points and in France the CAC 40 index ended up 1,74 % to 4678 points.

In Asia stocks were mixed. In Tokyo the Nikkei-index ended down 0,31 % to 20014 points, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index gained 0,10 % to 25504 points.

Euro was trading slightly up 0,20% at 1,14 dollars and the UK sterling 0,47 % up to 1,27 dollars.

Brent oil, ICE, was up 0,08% to 52,20 dollars per barrell.

The year 2018 has been very downside trend for the global stocks and according to Bloomberg this year has been the worst year since 2008.

The volatility is expected to continue in 2019. On the agenda there is for example the Brexit vote, USChina trade talks, US Goverment shutdowns and the monetary policies of central banks.

Business Finance

Stocks made comeback – Fed planning press calls 2019

The US stock markets made their comeback during Thursday trading. After the morning decline the stocks turned to green at the end of the trading day and for example the Dow Jones -index ended up 1,14 % to 23 138 points.

Investors were worried about the economy outlook related to tradetalks between the US and China, the goverment shutdowns and latest macro data regarding the consumer confidence.  According to the Conference Board ,the confidence index declined to 128,1, while the market estimate was 133,5 (Bloomberg).

Some new insight was given during the day, while it is expected that the US and China negotiators will meet on January the 7th in Beijing to continue the trade talks. One of the biggest issues is  also the tech-company Huawei and its position in the US markets. According to Reuters, President Donald Trump is considering different options related to the company and its security issues.

The recent discussion about the Federal Reserve and its interest rates policy has had its impact on the communications of the Central Bank. The Chairman  Jerome Powell is considering having press calls after each Fed meeting, starting next year. This would have its new impact on the trading activities as well, while new comments, and maybe market-moving comments may appear after the meetings.

The tech-index Nasdaq ended up 0,38 % 6579 points and larger S&P 500 -index 0,86 % to 2488 points.

In Europe the FTSE 100 -index declined 1,52 % to 6584 points – in Frankfurt the Dax-index ended down 2,37 % to 10381 points and in Paris the CAC 40 -index declined 0,60 % to 4598 points.

In Asia, Nikkei-index ended up 3,88 % to 20077 points in Tokyo but in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index declined 0,67 % to 25 478 points.

Euro gained 0,72 % against dollar and was 1,114 dollars. The UK sterling gained 0,13 % was was 1,265 dollars.

The Swiss franc gained as safe-haven currency against euro and dollar and was 0,9875 dollars and 1,129 euros.

Brent crude (ICE)  declined 2,92 % to 52,88 dollars per barrel.

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Retail lead the rise in Wall Street

Retail sector was the leading one in Wall Street trading today on Wednesday.  For example Amazon reported record high holiday sales and the stock jumped over 9 % to 1470 dollars. The financial markets in general jumped sharply after the deep decline before the Christmas time.

Dow Jones -index gained 4,98 % and ended at 22878 points. Tech-index Nasdaq jumped 5,84 % to 6554 points and S&P 500 -index 4,79 % to 2463 points.

The Brent Crude (ICE) rose 8,66 % to 54,84 dollars.

Dollar declined slightly to 1,135 dollars and UK sterling 0,25 % to 1,26 dollars.

On Thursday the European markets will also open the trading after the Christmas holidays.

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Trump: Opportunities in the stock markets

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, the Christmas Day, that the US stocks offer now opportunities to buy. He commented the stock market turbulence and information related to Treasury Secretary, Federal Reserve and the US economy in general.

He said that he has the confidence related to the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The fianncial markets were surprised by the information that Mr Mnuchin had called the largest banks related to the market volatility and liquidity issues this week. He also spoke with the market regulators.

President Trump also pointed that there is now opportunities in the stock markets while the US companies are great and they are doing well. News related to the Federal Reserve and its policy and management, the President repeated that the Central Bank has raised intetrest rates too quickly, but in general he is confident with the bank otherwise.

The financial markets were closed on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the 26th December or Boxing Day, the markets will be open in the Nasdaq and NYSE stock exchanges. But on the other hand, the markets will be closed in the London Stock Exchange and in the Nordics on Wednesday.

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US Markets down again – Treasury call

The US financial markets were surprised by the information that the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had called the country´s largest banks.  The question was about the market liquidity. According to the Treasury, the banks have confirmed that they have liquidity available for lending to consumers, business markets and other market operations.

The Treasury also confirmed that they will have a call on Monday, the Christmas Eve,  with the President´s Working Group on financial markets. The reason for this call is the large market volatility.

According to Bloomberg and Reuters business wires, the markets are really surprised and the big questions is, whether there is systemic risk or not.

The financial markets in the US have had several days downside trend and for example the stock markets have fallen over 10 % in December and are now at the lowest level since May 2017. Another issue on the agenda, is the Federal Reserve and its interest rates policy, also the question of the position of the Federal Reserve´s Chairman Jerome Powell.

The US Goverment shutdowns, which have been going on for three days now, are expected to continue, while no news are in sight.

Today, the financial markets are open only for a shorter time and for example Nasdaq will be closing at 1 EST and NYSE will be closing at 4 EST. On Christmas Day, the 25th December, the markets will be closed.

Today, the markets have continued their fall and for example the Dow Jones has fallen 1,97 %  to 22 003 points, S&P 500 -index  1,67 % to 2376 points and Nasdaq  1,16 % to 6259 points.  For example the markets in the Nordic countries and German are closed.

 

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Global stocks down – BoE considering green tests for banks

The global stock market continued the downward trend on Monday. S&P 500 -index ended down 2,08 % to 2545 points and Dow Jones -index 2,11 % to 23592 points. Tech-index Nasdaq ended down 2,27 % to 6753 points.

Global economic growth concerns continued in the markets. Markets were also looking at the Federal Reserve meeting this week about the future interest rates.

France decided to introduce the digital tax, starting from the January 1st. This means that big tech-companies must pay “digital tax” from their revenues. This will be implemented to big tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon. France expects that the tax will be about 500 million euros a year.

In Europe the stocks were also down. In Germany the Dax-index was down 0,86 % to 10772 points, in France, Paris the CAC 40 -index ended down 1,11 % to 4799 points and in London City, the FTSE 100-index was ended down 1,05 % to 6773 points.

The Bank of England´s governor Mark Carney told to FT, that he is considering of green stress tests for banks. This would mean that the national banks would be tested how they  can manage Climate Change risks and opportunities in their operations.

According to the bank survey, only 10 % of the banks were taking long enough view of the climate related issues. The final decision of the green stress test will be made by the central bank´s financial policy commitee.

In the Brexit-update, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May told that the vote about the Brexit-deal would happen in mid January in the Parliament.

In Asia, Nikkei 225 index was among the few indexes to gain on Monday trading. It ended up 0,62 % to 21506 points., In Hong Kong the Hang Seng  index ended down 0,03 % to 26 087 points.

Euro was unchanged at 1,13 dollars.

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