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Markets Spotlight
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Share this chart Editor's Remarks: With $16.53bn in net income, Russia’s state-backed gas behemoth, Gazprom, dwarfs its competitors. The European demand for Russian gas has increased enormously in recent years, due largely to the dwindling supply of North Sea oil and the concurrent reliance on burning gas for electricity. Gazprom enjoys a dominant presence in Baltic states as well as Germany and the Netherlands, which gives it indirect access to the UK market. There are clear signs Western states are wary of their increasing dependence on Russian energy - after all, four Russian entities a

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Share this chart Editor's Remarks: As Wall Street’s bull market charges into its ninth year, the S&P 500 has seen a rise of almost 250% since the low in March 2009. But this average masks the wildly different successes that its individual stocks have seen. Counting up the bull market’s return and thus accounting for the importance of dividends, this rise comes to 314% overall - but with a range of performances from its individual companies, the five biggest winners and losers of which are shown in today’s chart. A $100 investment in US real estate investment trust General Growth Pr

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Share this chart Editor's Remarks: Wall Street stocks have raced to yet another record as comments from the top of the Federal Reserve sent traders into a frenzy over growing expectations that US interest rates could go up as soon as this month, with the Dow Jones hitting 21,000. Whilst Fed chair Janet Yellen’s last major speech hinted at interest rates staying low until later in the year, strong US economic performance has prompted her colleagues to see the upcoming March meeting as a turning point in Trump era monetary policy. After influential New York Fed President William Dudley’s c

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Share this chart Editor's Remarks: The Dow Jones Industrial hit the 20,000-point threshold on Wednesday. What led the US stock market index to its highest ever level? The 20k benchmark itself is just a number, of course, but is symbolic of strong share performance in recent months, particularly compared to its mixed experiences over the Jan. '15 - Dec. '16 period shown in today's chart. The ‘Trump rally’, resulting from investor confidence that the new administration will deliver pro-growth fiscal policies, has led the Dow on a path of far steeper growth than it would likely have enjoyed

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Share this chart Editor's Remarks: Central banks are a crucial part of modern economies; around 99.9% of the global population lives under one. Their governors wield enormous influence over interest rates, money supply, and so on - so why might they be paid such vastly different amounts? As government officials, the reasons for their salaries are not often open to scrutiny. It’s difficult to see why the nature of the role would come into play: Lithuania and Belgium, for example, are both in the Eurozone, and so both their Central Banks must play by the Eurosystem rules which determine comm

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Share this chart Editor's Remarks: The UK’s Office for National Statistics publishes the latest Balance of Payments figures this week, updating them to November 2016. The balance on the current account - which tells us whether a country has a trade deficit or a trade surplus - has been the subject of some focus in the context of Brexit given the pointed relevance of the UK’s trade mettle to debates over its future trading relationship with the EU. The UK has not run a trade surplus for over thirty years, though whether this matters depends on a host of economic arguments. Economists and

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Share this chart Editor's Remarks: Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen announced yesterday evening that the US interest rates would be raised from 0.5% to 0.75%. Bond prices have since fallen due to the inverse relationship between bond prices and interest rates. Although it was seen as almost a foregone conclusion, Yellen cited the recent growth in the US economy especially as it is beyond full employment and wage growth is continuing to rise. The Fed is almost at its desired 2% inflation and US economy's momentum should carry it there. The Bank of England's announcement is to follow today and will

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Share this chart Editor's Remarks: Government yields in Europe have climbed since the election of Donald Trump last Wednesday. Whilst the rise is not as fast as that of US bond yields, analysts are gradually raising their forecasts for the critical government bond yields in Europe - notably France, Germany and Italy. As President-elect Trump is beginning to reveal the plans and policies that will define his administration, there are expectations of a major fiscal stimulus, which would increase the supply of bonds and boost inflation. This effect on the global markets is profound due to the s

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Share this chart Editor's Remarks: It started with the majority of final pre-election polls giving Clinton up to 95% chances of winning the presidency. The joy, however, was short-lived when Trump started racking up key states such as North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa and Florida. Clinton won critical states Virginia and Colorado but lost Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which she was counting on. While the dust will take a while to settle on an election riddled with scandals and - as it turns out - surprises, one key takeaway is that assassin voters are becoming more and more important and that polling met

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Share this chart Editor's remarks: The South African Rand got a major boost yesterday as prosecutors dropped charges against the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Although the position has been somewhat of a rotating door recently, investors are content with consistency, reduced internal conflict and the support this lends towards the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling party. However, this seems to be a false dawn for the high-flying currency as protests continue from students around the country and domestic reforms still go missing while the Gordhan still has another investigation


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