At the end of January 2021, electronic retail company Gamestop went on a wild roller coaster ride, seeing its share price rise by roughly 640% in just a few days. The cause of this dramatic increase was a concerted effort via social media to raise the value of the company’s stock, intended to negatively affect professional investors planning to ‘short sell’ GameStop shares.
Supporters of Donald Trump stormed US Capitol in Washington during the congressional certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s win, resulting in five deaths and prompting evacuation of lawmakers and vice-president Mike Pence.
Jeff Bezos announced he was stepping down as CEO of Amazon after 30 years in the role. He named Andy Jassy as his successor as he moved into the role of Executive Chair of the Board, focusing on new products and early initiatives.
Facebook blocked users in Australia from accessing news sites in response to proposed new laws for tech companies to pay to show news content. Less than a week after suddenly banning news links for Australian users and shutting down Australian news pages to protest the law, Facebook said it received assurances from the Australian government that it won’t be forced to pay publishers but would instead be given the chance to negotiate agreements with them.
Inflationary fears crept in and continued to hurt bond markets. The U.S. 10-year yield ended the Quarter at above 1.7% for the first time since January/2020 and the sharp sell-offs in bond funds was the main talking point.
Cargo ship “Ever Given” became wedged sideways in the Suez Canal, Egypt, bringing international shipping trade to a standstill and caused an estimated $6-10bn in lost revenues and increased costs for global business. After almost a week causing the blockage, the “Ever Given” was finally pulled free to the relief of many business owners around the world.
Q2 started with general solid corporate earnings and economic data. The stock market improved and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed the month with above 5% performances.
With the UK still in the grip of COVID, Queen Elizabeth II sat alone at the funeral of Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years, as harsh social distancing rules were enforced preventing indoor gatherings of more than 30 people.
The US Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes signalled a shift in paradigm. Continued progress with the economy could finally make it appropriate for the Federal Reserve to (1) reduce fiscal stimulus (in place since the beginning of the pandemic) and (2) start thinking about tapering its bonds purchases. These were the very first steps en route to higher interest rates.
Dominic Cummings, former chief adviser to Johnson, provided evidence to a joint session of the Commons Health, Science and Technology committees. He made a series of allegations regarding the Government’s handling of the pandemic.
A rapid surge in Covid cases led to European governments second-guessing their re-opening plans. Investors took this news as a buy signal for some Tech names and the Nasdaq rose by more than 5%, one of the best months for the index in 2021.
Cristiano Ronaldo removed two Coca-Cola bottles from his press table at the European Championships, prompting the company share price to drop $4 billion.
Part 2 July to December 2021 coming next week.
Advice from Blacktower Financial Management
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Manuela Robinson is the Associate Director of Blacktower in the Algarve, Portugal, with offices in Quinta do Lago and Cascais.
Blacktower Financial Management has been providing expert, localised, wealth management advice in Portugal for more than 20 years. We can help with specialist, independent advice on securing your financial future. Get in touch with us on (+351) 289 355 685 or email us at email@example.com.