Five Minute Finance – The Last Week 24/08/2020

Economic Activity

The US housing market felt a surprising boost in confidence, as recently reported figures saw existing-home sales rise to the highest level since July 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors.

On August 18th and 21st, the S&P 500 closed at record highs continuing the rally in US equities, since the COVID-induced market slump in March.

In the UK, PMI (purchasing Managers indices) manufacturing rose to 55.3 in August, up from 53.3. That’s the highest level in 30 months.

PMI Services jumped to 60.1, up from 56.5, above the expectation of 57.0, a 72-month high.

PMI Composite rose to 60.3, up from 567.0, an 82-month high.

UK inflation rose from 0.6% year on year in June to 1% in July driven mainly by clothing and petrol prices.

China’s industrial production growth stood at 4.8 per cent year-on-year in July 2020, below market consensus of 5.1 per cent, as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.

For the first time, UK public sector net debt surpassed £2tn, according to the office of National Statistics which is a figure equivalent to 100% of GDP.

Politics & International Relations

The US Democratic Party officially nominated Joe Biden as their 2020 presidential candidate.

The Economist’s latest US election model shows Biden winning 54.4% of the vote against 45.6% for Donald Trump, which are similar figures that have been in most polls since Joe Biden won the Democratic primaries.

The US suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in response to controversial national security law.

The leading opposition leader in Russia Alexei Navalny was flown to Germany to receive emergency medical treatment for suspected poisoning.

Mass protests rolled on in Belarus against the disputed re-election of Alexander Lukashenko. The European Union has threatened to impose sanctions on officials involved in election fraud and violence against the protestors.

Business News

Major UK retailer Marks and Spencer has announced it will cut 7,000 jobs over the coming weeks.

The U.S. Commerce Department issued new rules curbing Huawei Technologies Co.’s access to foreign-made chips, expanding the Trump administration’s restrictions on the Chinese telecom company’s link to crucial components.

Large US corporate bankruptcy filings are now running at a record pace and are set to surpass levels reached during the financial crisis in 2009.

Apple hit a market cap of $2 trillion, doubling in valuation in just over two years. It’s the first publicly traded U.S. company to reach a $2 trillion market cap. Apple was also the first publicly traded U.S. company to reach a $1 trillion market cap.

Home-rental company Airbnb Inc. announced Wednesday afternoon that it has confidentially filed to go public.

 

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