You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Article | 05 February 2024 | Investments
Markets reconsidered their rosy economic forecasts of the month before, when the US Federal Reserve (Fed) had given the green light to interest rate cuts. Despite better January PMIs in the US and Europe, the new year brought disappointing data. The World Bank declared the last five years to be the worst on record for economic growth. And consumer prices broadly ticked higher. Shipping routes through the Red Sea were rerouted, causing transport cost pressures. Higher goods price inflation could follow. So much for Fed rate cuts in March. The early January prediction of an 80% chance quickly slipped below 50%.
After a last minute hacking incident at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in New York, eleven spot bitcoin ETFs were finally approved. Some carry household names such as BlackRock or Fidelity, others are sponsored by digital specialists like Ark Securities and Grayscale. The SEC was quick to caveat that, while they have approved these funds, they were neither approving nor endorsing bitcoin itself. What do investors get for their money? Access to movements in the spot price of this highly volatile cryptocurrency. The price of bitcoin raced higher, topping $46,000 before subsiding to $38,500 after approval was granted.
The world’s major technology players are jostling for position on the leader board of largest companies. Microsoft has overtaken Apple as the world’s biggest stock, boosted by its exposure to AI from an investment in research organisation OpenAI. Not to be outdone, Apple leapfrogged Samsung as the world’s biggest mobile phone maker by volume, shipping almost 235 million handsets last year. Meanwhile, Tesla has lost its pole position as the world’s biggest electric car maker to China’s BYD, whose growth has accelerated. Tesla went on to issue a revenue warning, stating its sales growth would be “notably slower” in 2024.