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China's trade slump eased a tad | Two packaging behemoths might be set to merge |


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Today's big stories

  1. China’s trade slump looks like it might be easing up
  2. Here are six stocks that Goldman loves now – Read Now
  3. Two of the world’s biggest packaging companies might be about to join forces

Trading Blows

Trading Blows

What’s going on here?

Data out on Thursday showed that China’s exports dropped again in August.

What does this mean?

China’s trade data might not seem like something worth shouting about: after all, the nation’s still navigating rough waters, with exports declining for the fourth straight month. But delve a little deeper, and things brighten up. The 8.8% drop in exports year-on-year in dollar terms wasn’t as dire as economists expected, especially when compared to July’s steep 14.5% fall. And there’s more good news. Other Asian nations, like South Korea, are also showing signs of recovery in their trade. That trend suggests that global demand might be on the upswing, and that the massive inventory stockpiles accumulated during the pandemic are finally dwindling. Plus, better-than-anticipated import figures hint at a potential turnaround in China’s lagging domestic demand – so while it’s still early days, these indicators hold out hope for a big part of the Chinese economy.

Why should I care?

Zooming in: Trading insults.

While trade with the US seemed to perk up last month, the underlying tensions with China remain palpable. And even though both nations have tried to rekindle dialogue, real-world progress seems elusive. So, in the latest counter to US-led chip controls, China is mulling expanding a ban on iPhones in state companies and government-backed agencies. That could severely dent Apple’s prospects – especially when you consider that a fifth of its revenue springs from China, the world’s biggest smartphone market. Unsurprisingly, then, Apple shares wobbled when the news broke.

The bigger picture: Stuck in second.

While there’s optimism that fresh steps by the government might help China rebound soon, it’s not all rosy. Some economists warn that China’s current dip could delay its quest to outpace the US economy. In fact, Bloomberg Economics predicts that China might only edge ahead by the mid-2040s – and even then, that lead could be short-lived.

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Analyst Take

Goldman Sachs Says To Buy These Six Stocks To Ride Out The Global Doldrums

Goldman Sachs Says To Buy These Six Stocks To Ride Out The Global Doldrums

By Theodora Lee Joseph, Analyst

Global growth is likely to be pretty lackadaisical. So, to pep up your portfolio, you may want to look for stocks that are tightly tied to the markets’ big investing themes.

After all, these long-term “megatrends” are going to keep on keeping on, no matter what the world’s economies do.

And here’s some excellent timing: Goldman Sachs just released a list of six stocks that’ll benefit from those giant trends.

That’s today’s Insight: six thematic stocks that Goldman loves now.

Read or listen to the Insight here


IG’s six most-wanted AI stocks

The tech world moves fast. Really fast. Like, this would be embarrassing on a first date fast.

That means the tech trends of today become the forgotten norms of tomorrow faster than you can say “crypto” or “web3”. 

Artificial intelligence, though, will likely be sticking around – for better or for worse. And hey, even if we decide the robot life isn’t for us, major tech stocks will still feel the love in the short term.

So whether you’re on a mission to shape the future, or simply trying to play a theme while it’s live and kickin’, you’ll want to check out IG’s list of the six AI stocks to watch for the rest of this year.

See which AI stocks IG is keeping a close eye on this year.

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Package Deal

Package Deal

What’s going on here?

Two of the world’s biggest packaging companies are weighing up a merger.

What does this mean?

Cardboard boxes might not be exciting, but packaging is actually big business. After all, almost everything we buy, from e-commerce products to our favorite beers, comes bundled in some form of package or box. And now US-based WestRock and Ireland’s Smurfit Kappa, titans in the space, are discussing a potential union – with a combined value of $20 billion. That heft’s not the only boon: WestRock reckons the deal could lead to serious savings, pocketing over $400 million in the first year alone. Little wonder, then, that the firms are excited about the prospect, which would bring their 500-plus operations together to form the world’s premier packaging provider.

Why should I care?

For markets: Boxing clever.

Each firm currently commands about 20% of the market share for one hot commodity: the standard brown boxes used by retailers and e-commerce platforms. So when these giants talk of merging, it’s bound to send ripples across the industry – if competition regulators don’t object, that is. And this could be a well-timed move: for one, analysts predict a resurgence in demand next year. And for another, the ongoing global shift from plastic to more sustainable paper-based packaging – a niche these companies excel in – means they’re set for a sizable boost.

The bigger picture: London’s burning.

If the deal does go ahead, it would spell more woe for the UK stock market. The tie-up’s set to see Smurfit Kappa cancel its premium listing on the LSE, and it wouldn’t be the first to bid Britain bye-bye: just this month CRH is due to switch to the US from London, and mining giant BHP skedaddled last year too. It’s not hard to see why: the British economy is flailing right now, while valuations on the UK stock market aren’t exactly sitting pretty.

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