European markets closed sharply lower Friday, following the global downward trend in risk assets. The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 1.9%, with basic materials leading the losses, down 3.2%, while all sectors and major bourses slid into negative territory. Retail sales in the U.K. fell 3.7% in December from the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics. That was well below the 0.6% decline economists had expected in a Reuters poll. Britain’s GFK Consumer Confidence Index fell to -19 in January from -15 in December, the lowest reading since February 2021.
U.S. stock markets fell on Friday, capping a losing week and continuing a poor start to 2022. The Nasdaq Composite was hit the hardest. Friday’s selling gave the tech-heavy index its worst week since 2020, with Netflix’s disappointing quarterly report the latest setback for technology investors. Shares of the streaming giant plunged 21.8% Friday after the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report showed a slowdown in subscriber growth. Shares of the company’s competitors also slipped, with shares of Dow component Disney, which operates streaming service Disney+, falling 6.9%.
Asia-Pacific markets traded weaker this morning as investors looked ahead to the monetary policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve this week ahead. In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 0.33%. The energy, materials, and financials sub-indices fell 0.99%, 1.31%, and 0.39%, respectively, as major banks, mining companies, and oil stocks declined. Commonwealth Bank shares, however, rose 0.36%. Mainland China shares also fell, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.44%.
Activist investor Blackwells to urge Peloton to fire CEO
An activist is urging Peloton to fire its CEO and consider a sale as the company’s share price has plummeted, according to a person familiar with the matter. Blackwells Capital, which holds a less than 5% stake in Peloton, believes Peloton could be an attractive acquisition target for larger technology or fitness companies, the person said. Blackwells argues that Peloton is weaker today than it was before the Covid 19 pandemic. The company places much of the blame on CEO John Foley, who is also chairman, according to the person, who requested anonymity to speak about the private matter.
Ukraine: U.S. tells families of embassy staff to leave Ukraine
The U.S. has told the relatives of its embassy staff in Ukraine to leave as tensions rise in the region. The U.S. State Department also gave permission to non-essential staff to leave the country and urged U.S. citizens in Ukraine to consider leaving the country. A statement said there were reports that Russia was planning significant military action against Ukraine. Russia has denied allegations that it is planning to invade Ukraine. The State Department also warned against travel to Ukraine and Russia due to ongoing tensions and “possible harassment of U.S. citizens.”