Market Loop - Investors rattled over China lockdowns

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26th April 2022

Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
Good morning Breaking news overnight, after a two-week public tussle Elon Musk has struck a deal to buy Twitter for $44bn. In a statement Musk, the world’s richest man, said he wants to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, which could include a much anticipated 'edit' button.
Today's stories
  • Beijing jitters – Investors rattled over China lockdowns
  • Facebook v the UK – Meta fights regulator ruling
Investors rattled over China lockdowns

What’s going on?
Yesterday European stock markets fell sharply as investors remained uneasy about the surging Covid cases in China which could slowdown the world’s second largest economy.

Why is this important?
Emmanuel Macron’s presidential victory in France on Sunday was supposed to ease investor concerns and lead to a bounce in the stock market on Monday. 

But that didn’t happen. The news was overshadowed by the fact that China is battling its worst Covid outbreak since Wuhan more than two years ago at the start of the pandemic. The commercial centre Shanghai has been in strict lockdown for weeks and there are fears that similar restrictions could be imposed on the capital Beijing.

China’s zero-Covid approach has caused concern among investors about a global economic slowdown

The FTSE 100 fell by 2% with similar falls in the French and German stock markets. Shares in oil companies and miners bore the brunt of the selling as China is a major consumer of their products.

Investors also had to grapple with recent suggestions from the head of the US central bank that interest rates could rise quicker than first thought. Rising interest rates makes investing in the stock market less attractive.

Like most Western countries the US is experiencing soaring inflation and the Federal Reserve, like other central banks, is under pressure to ramp up the cost of borrowing to bring prices under control. 

Zooming out
There could be more choppy waters ahead for the stock market this week with the big tech companies reporting first quarter results.

After Netflix’s disappoint earnings last week (where they reported the first drop in subscribers in 10 years), investors will be hoping for more encouraging trading from Amazon, Facebook and Apple.
Other stories to keep you in the loop
Meta fights regulator ruling

This week a four-day trial kicks off between Meta and the UK competition regulator, the CMA, to decide whether the Facebook owner can overturn the order to sell Giphy.

Giphy is one of the largest GIF sites on the internet, offering tools for creating and sharing animated images (popular here at Market Loop). Its user-uploaded library of GIFs is already integrated and used widely by Meta's family of social media apps including Facebook and WhatsApp but can also be used on other platforms such as Twitter.

Meta announced it was buying Giphy for $400m in 2020 but since then CMA has launched an investigation into the deal. It's concerned that Facebook could behave anti-competitively and hurt consumers by cutting off the supply of GIFs to rivals and demanding more data from Giphy’s customers to keep using the service.

Last year the CMA ordered Meta to sell Giphy. It was the first time a global regulator had forced a big tech company to undo a completed acquisition and the CMA was the only major regulator to take a stance on the deal.
Stat of the day

A recent survey has found that 43% of Brits say they would not be able to save money in the next 12 months due to the cost of living crisis
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