Market Event, General

Week in Review: America First

Annie Charalambous, Friday, 29 January 2021

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Between giant earnings reports from the likes of Apple and Microsoft, to falling oil stockpiles and slightly better-than-expected jobless claims data, American markets kept traders busy this week. Apart from record highs and lows, globally, coronavirus cases surpassed 100 million this week, with the United States accounting for ¼ of confirmed cases. 

Let’s drill down into these stories, and explore the week’s biggest (and we’re talking big) movers.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpass 100 million

In the 13 months since the first case was reported in Wuhan, 101 million people the world over have contracted COVID-19. The US ranks highest, with over 25.6 million cases -- about 2.5 times as many as India, second on the list, despite a difference of one billion in population size.

Fatalities near 2.2 million at time of writing, while almost 56 million people have recovered. As the vaccine rollouts continue, the UK appears to be on track to reach its goal of 15 million vaccinations administered by March, with over half already done. According to Sky News, 11 out of every 100 people in the UK have received the first dose, compared with 7 of every 100 in the US.

Source:Johns Hopkins University

America’s largest companies beat earnings 

Tech earnings kicked off this week with Microsoft, followed by Apple and Facebook. Tesla, Boeing, American Airlines, and McDonald’s all posted surprise results. Here’s a quick overview of the two behemoths of tech:

Microsoft beat both earnings and revenue forecasts, attributing it to a surge in video gaming, cloud services, and PC sales – all fuelled by the pandemic and stay-at-home order. Shares are up 6% over the last 5 trading days. 

Apple published their results a day later, not only far surpassing analyst estimates, but posting $100 billion in revenue for the first time ($111.4 billion, to be exact) in a single quarter. Active iPhone users are also now at a record one billion! To put that number into perspective, going off of Statista’s figures of 4.6 billion internet users, this means nearly a quarter of the world’s online users have an iPhone right now. Shares of AAPL, however, are down 4% over the past 3 trading days.

Amazon and Google are expected to publish their results next week, completing the FAANG roundup for this earnings season. Check out our latest Week Ahead blog post if you haven’t already.

Movers & shakers

🔺 Sticking it to the man: Gamestop (GME) has soared over 350% this week (and 950% YTD) thanks to… Reddit? Get caught up on the how and why over on The BBC

🔻 iRobot (IRBT) fell 24% Thursday after gaining 19% the day before. The company has filed an Intellectual Property lawsuit against rival SharkNinja. Read more on Bloomberg

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