Global stock markets posted a week of solid performance despite tensions over the United States’ decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Markets in the U.S. had a particularly good week, with the S&P 500 closing +2.25% in its best week in two months while the Dow Jones index finished up +2.1%. Meanwhile, volatility fell -16.8% as measured by the VIX index. European markets also rose as reflected in the EuroStoxx 50 index and Dutch AEX index ending +0.56% and +1.87% higher, respectively. Overall, the MSCI World ETF rose +1.87% for the week.
In the United States, the Bureau of Labour Statistics reported on Tuesday 6.6 million job openings in the nation’s economy –the highest number ever recorded as the country continues growing at full-employment. However, this good news was overshadowed by President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would pull out of the Iran nuclear deal entered by the Obama administration. According to Trump, the deal would soon have led to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, something which he intends to avoid by re-imposing sanctions despite pressure from European allies. As Iran is a member of OPEC, many believe it will be forced to reduce oil exports by one million barrels per day –boosting share prices of U.S energy companies for the week. On Thursday Trump announced his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would take place in Singapore on June 12th. The aim of the meeting is to improve rocky U.S-North Korea relations and in anticipation of the event, North Korea has released three U.S prisoners as a gesture of goodwill. Trump is the first U.S. President to meet with a North Korean leader since Jimmy Carter in 1994.
In Europe, meanwhile, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis has admitted to paying President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen a total of $ 1.2 million in exchange for information on the Trump administration’s healthcare agenda. In other news, one person was killed and four injured in a knife attack in the centre of Paris last Saturday. The attacker was shot dead at the scene and is suspected of being linked to terrorist group IS. In Italy, populist parties Five Star Movement and League, led by Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, respectively, are negotiating a deal to form a new government after their recent victories in the national elections. Both parties have expressed discontent with the European Union and have vowed to defy its budget rules and austerity measures. Additionally, both have promised to boost public spending and cut taxes in Italy.
It was an excellent week for Investment Groups, with only three posting a loss for the week. Batavia Investments is the new challenger for Rising’s lead, gaining two places thanks to solid results from ExxonMobil. Midas is the riser of the week, leapfrogging five groups thanks to its investments in Alibaba and Apple. Invequity, on the other hand, is the loser of the week having lost five places from third position and just over 4% on their investments. With the end of the competition coming ever closer, let’s hope these good times will continue!
Written by Jasper Thouin