Market Event, General

Week in Review: What Quiet Looks Like In 2021

Annie Charalambous, Friday, 19 February 2021

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Bitcoin aside, markets were quiet this week. UK earnings flooded in from the likes of Barclays, which saw a 38% drop in net profits in 2020, as well as Hermes International, British American Tobacco, and NatWest. We also saw jobless claims come in higher than anticipated, along with a higher revision to last week’s data, curbing a downward trend we started seeing in January.

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the stories that dominated headlines this week.


Walmart misses earnings

Walmart reported its latest earnings on Thursday, pre-market open, only to miss analysts’ forecasts. E-commerce sales were up 69%, while same-store sales (see image below, source: CNBC) were up 8.6% in Q4, compared to 5.8% expected.

Despite sales climbing, partly because of the latest round of stimulus checks, the company’s COVID-related costs also soared to $1.1 billion in the same quarter, and they expect total expenditures of $14 billion in the fiscal year ahead.

Walmart is also America’s largest private employer, with over 1.5 million people on the payroll across the country (and 2.2 million globally). Also announced Thursday was that 425k people would be getting a raise in March, from $11 per hour to anywhere between $13 and $19 depending on location. Read more on what’s fuelled that on via The Wall Street Journal.

Over the past 12 months, $WMT is up 15% overall, and over the past 5 years, it’s gained almost 115%. Shares were down 6.48% by the end of the day’s trading session.

 

Oil rally continues as stockpiles fall

Oil prices hit a 13-month high this week, propelled by a cold wave in Texas that’s halted as much as one third of US production. Millions remained without power and heating, with refineries expected to feel the ripple effect for weeks to come.

Adding to that, the EIA’s latest Crude Oil Inventories on Thursday also showed a decline of 7.258 million barrels in reserve, continuing on from last week’s surprise -6.644 million, and marking a fourth consecutive week of declines, and the lowest volume since March.

Brent Crude surpassed $65 Thursday, before falling to around $63, while WTI is down 2% Friday, trading near $59 (at time of writing).

 

Movers & shakers

🔺 Bitcoin (BTC) gained 10% in the last five days, breaking $50k for the first time and continuing to climb as the first Bitcoin ETF debuts in Canada with $165 million in shares. Read more on Bloomberg

🔻 Albemarle (ALB) was the S&P500’s biggest loser Thursday, falling 10% after announcing its latest earnings after Wednesday’s close. Get the full story via The Motley Fool

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