European markets advanced Wednesday as commodity prices took a breather amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 4.7%, its best day since March 2020, and auto stocks gained 9.5% to lead the gains, while most sectors and major bourses ended the session in positive territory. Oil and gas stocks fell nearly 2.5%. Shares of Adidas rose nearly 13% after the German sporting goods maker announced results.
U.S. stocks posted strong gains Wednesday as recently surging commodity prices, especially oil, cooled as the war in Ukraine continues. Some consumer-related stocks rebounded Wednesday after weakening on concerns that higher gas prices would hurt consumer spending. Nike rose 4.7% and Starbucks gained 4.3%. Treasury bond prices fell and yields rose as investors pulled out of bonds after entrenching themselves in fixed-income securities over the Ukraine war.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region rose this morning after oil prices fell sharply overnight on Wall Street following their recent surge. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.26%. Shares of Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio began trading in Hong Kong today as a secondary listing. The shares were last up 5.65% from their issue price. In contrast, shares of Rio Tinto, a major mining company, slumped about 8%. The company told CNBC on Thursday that it is “in the process of terminating all business relationships with Russian companies.”
Amazon announces 20-for-1 stock split and $10 billion buyback
Amazon announced its first stock split since the dot-com boom, telling investors Wednesday that they will receive 20 shares for every share they currently own. The stock rose 6% in extended trading. The company also said its board has authorized it to buy back up to $10 billion worth of shares. Stock splits are cosmetic in nature and do not change anything fundamental about the company, other than making the shares available to a larger number of investors due to their more favorable price. If the stock split occurs at Wednesday’s market close, the price per share would drop from $2,785.58 to $139.28, and each existing holder would receive 19 additional shares for each share they own.
Adidas expects 2022 slump in Russia, but recovery in China
Adidas warned of sales losses from plant closures in Russia and COVID disruptions in Vietnam, but a brighter outlook for China sent shares in the German sportswear group up 10% on Wednesday. For 2022, Adidas forecast currency-adjusted sales to rise 11-13%, including risk to its business in Russia and Ukraine, with sales in Greater China expected to rise in the mid-single digits after a consumer boycott in 2021. The closure of factories in Vietnam due to COVID -19 means a shortage of products will reduce sales by 600 million euros ($658 million) in the first quarter before recovering strongly in the second quarter.