Biden Unveils Major Asia Economic Alliance

• 4 min read
Biden Unveils Major Asia Economic Alliance

MARKET MOVERS

  • The U.S. announces a major Asia economic deal in an effort to boost its profile and counter China. The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is an alliance with Asian nations including Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. It’s designed to help expand the U.S.′ economic leadership in the Indo-Pacific region. The group wants to set international rules on the digital economy, supply chains, decarbonization, and regulations applying to workers. Read more here.

  • GameStop launches wallet for Cryptocurrencies and NFTs. The digital asset wallet will allow gamers and others to store, send, receive and use cryptocurrencies and NFTs across decentralized apps, without having to leave their web browsers. The wallet extension, which can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store, will also enable transactions on GameStop’s NFT marketplace, which is expected to launch in the second quarter.

  • Starbucks will exit Russia after 15 years. The company has 130 locations in the country, which account for less than 1% of its annual revenue. They are all licensed locations, so the Seattle-based company itself doesn’t operate them. Starbucks said it will pay its nearly 2,000 Russian workers for six months and help them transition to new opportunities outside of the coffee chain.

  • The housing shortage is the biggest driver in demand. The largest housing formation in history is happening. We are still in an over tenure catchup period of a shortage of homes. The US is still short 4.5 million homes. It's what's driving demand and why inventory has been so low. The demand is coming mostly from Millenials and Gen Zs whose preferences have changed to a bigger house with more space because of remote work and a change in lifestyle. Source(2:06)

  • Signs of slowing down in every market. The Fed is destroying demand by raising interest rates. $15 trillion of household net worth has been destroyed. Consumer confidence is the lowest in 10 years. Used car prices have been trending lower for two months sequentially. Same with airline tickets. Same with home prices. The number of new home searches on Zillow is going down because people's ability to buy houses is going down. Source(7:38)

  • Gas prices jump 33 cents in the past 2 weeks. Prices over the past two weeks to $4.71 per gallon, according to the Lundberg Survey, which comes as some analysts predict prices will climb above $6 a gallon by the end of the summer. Some analysts predict that prices might rise a full $1 per gallon higher on Memorial Day. The price jump comes amid higher crude oil costs and tight gasoline supplies. Read more here.

WHAT TO WATCH

  • Apple looks to boost production outside China. The company is citing Beijing’s strict anti-Covid policy among other reasons. India and Vietnam, already sites for a small portion of Apple’s global production, are among the countries getting a closer look as alternatives to China. More than 90% of Apple products are manufactured in China which is a potential risk. Read more here.

  • Broadcom is reportedly in advanced talks to buy VMware. Chipmaker Broadcom, with a market value of about $222 billion, is negotiating to buy VMware, with a value of about $40 billion. A price for the cash-and-stock offer wasn’t mentioned, and it is still possible that no deal will be reached. Broadcom has been looking for a deal for a while after buying Symantec Corp.’s enterprise security unit for $11 billion in 2019. Read more here.

  • US dollar could reach parity with the euro this year. It's because of the Fed moving aggressively to tame inflation, a potential energy crisis simmering in Europe due to the war in Ukraine, and stagflation concerns all over the world. Investors are ducking for shelter in the US dollar, which, despite the existence of dogecoin, remains the currency of choice when things get hairy.

  • Look out for shrinkflation. Since companies do not want to show declining gross margins - suggests no pricing power and commodity business - they will likely do Shrinkflation + Opex cuts. With this type of increase to COGs, most firms won’t have pricing power which means the combination approach is the only real solution. The only two solutions are to raise prices by 10% (offset the COGs) or cut operating expenses to offset the COGs increase. Read more here.

  • The sell-off could be headed for another leg down. Initially, this was a sell-off based on interest rate fears and based on financial conditions tightening. Today, it has all the elements of also being a growth scare. The stock market has been declining because investors are taking down the multiple (P/E ratio). There could be another leg down based on concerns about growth and earnings.

  • The trends that existed for 20 years still exist. They were interrupted temporarily by us saving ourselves from Covid. It's just a transient trend that can be a year, two years, or even three. Inflation will eventually roll over and it won't last for the next decade. Markets abhor uncertainty and the trend is we have peak uncertainty right now. There's a war and a supply chain issue but both can be fixed sooner than everyone thinks. Source(39:39)

  • SpaceX looks to raise $1.7 billion in new funding. It's boosting the company's valuation to $127 billion. The space venture is looking to bring in up to $1.725 billion in new capital, at a price of $70 per share, according to a company-wide email. SpaceX is also conducting a secondary sale to company insiders and existing shareholders for up to $750 million in common stock. Read more here.
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