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International Market Update
- European stocks fell Friday after better-than-expected U.S. inflation data and aggressive comments from a Federal Reserve official raised expectations for more aggressive rate hikes. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 0.6%, with technology stocks leading the losses, down 2.2%, while most sectors and major bourses slipped into negative territory. The U.K. economy grew 7.5% in 2021, official figures showed Friday. That rebounded from its historic 9.4% slump in 2020, when the pandemic hampered economic activity.
- U.S. stock markets slipped Friday as rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia sent oil prices soaring and prompted investors to dump risky assets such as equities. U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said at a White House briefing that there were signs of Russian escalation on the border with Ukraine and that an invasion during the Olympics was possible despite speculation to the contrary. Some defence stocks gained after headlines about Ukraine. Northrop Grumman jumped 4.5%. Lockheed Martin gained 2.8%.
- Stocks in Japan led losses in Asia-Pacific this morning as investors monitor developments from the Covid situation in Hong Kong to tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.86%. The city’s medical capacity is reportedly overstretched following a recent spike in covid infections. Over the weekend, Hong Kong’s chief secretary announced that mainland China will assist the city in areas such as testing and quarantine facilities.
In International news
Under Armour profit beats estimates
Shares of Under Armour fell Friday despite the retailer reporting fourth-quarter profit and revenue above analysts’ estimates as supply chain bottlenecks clouded its outlook. The company also warned that increased freight costs will weigh on profits in the coming months. Under Armour reported net income of $109.7 million, or 23 cents per share, compared with $184.5 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, profit was 14 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimates of 7 cents. Revenue rose to $1.53 billion from $1.4 billion a year earlier. This beat analysts’ expectations of $1.47 billion. Within total sales, apparel sales rose 18% and footwear sales rose 17%, while accessories sales slumped 27%.
Omicron fades, but no one knows when pandemic will finally end
Senior U.S. health officials have sought to reassure a pandemic-weary public that the country is nearing a time when Covid-19 will no longer dominate our daily lives as an unprecedented wave of infections and hospitalizations recedes in many parts of the country. White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview this week that the U.S. is moving past the “full-blown pandemic” phase of Covid-19. Fauci has made it clear that the U.S. will not eradicate Covid, but he is confident that the nation can bring the virus under control so that it no longer threatens to push hospitals to their breaking point or disrupt the economy. At that moment, people could return to a semi-normal life after two years of disruption and uncertainty following repeated waves of infection.