European stocks closed lower on Thursday as global markets retreated following the latest U.S. inflation data Inflation data showing consumer prices rose again in December. The pan-European Stoxx 600 fluctuated around the flat line in afternoon trading, but closed 0.2% lower. Household goods fell 1.2%, while motor vehicles rose 1.6%. On a monthly basis, CPI rose 0.5%. Economists had expected the consumer price index to rise 0.4% in December and 7% on a year-over-year basis, according to Dow Jones.
U.S. stocks struggled Thursday as the rally in technology stocks faded, erasing gains from earlier in the week. Tech stocks were volatile at the start of 2022 as the Federal Reserve signalled it will aggressively fight inflation this year, including rate hikes and a possible reduction in its balance sheet. Strong earnings reports provided some positive momentum for the market on Thursday. Delta Air Lines topped earnings and revenue numbers and reaffirmed its full-year outlook, sending the company’s shares up more than 2%. Dow component Boeing rose nearly 3% after Bloomberg News reported that the company’s 737 Max could resume service in China later this month.
Stocks in Japan and Hong Kong led losses in major Asia-Pacific markets this morning, while the recent rally in U.S. equity markets stalled and the Nasdaq ended its three-day winning streak. South Korea’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25%, the highest since March 2020, returning it to the rate it had before the pandemic, Reuters reported. In other corporate news from the region, Citi will sell its retail banking business in four Southeast Asian countries to Singapore-based lender United Overseas Bank.
Hyundai and Daewoo: EU antitrust vetoes deal
The planned acquisition of rival Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd to become the world’s largest shipbuilder was vetoed by the EU on Thursday over fears the takeover would harm competition. Hyundai, one of the world’s largest shipbuilders, had announced the acquisition in 2019 to reduce overcapacity in the industry. The shipyard, which sought EU antitrust approval for the acquisition in November 2019, said it could challenge the EU ban and criticised the regulator’s focus on market share. South Korea’s industry ministry said it regretted the EU’s decision on a deal already signed by China, Singapore and Kazakhstan. The European Commission said the acquisition would create the world’s largest shipbuilder with a combined market share of at least 60%, leaving customers with few alternative suppliers.
Ford’s market capitalization exceeds $100 billion for the first time
Ford Motor’s market value surpassed $100 billion for the first time as the automaker’s stock hit a new 52-week high Thursday. Shares of the company jumped as much as 5.7% Thursday to $25.87, hitting another 20-year high, before closing up 2.3% at $25.02 per share. The company’s market value fell to $99.99 billion. The share price gains can be attributed to Ford’s plans to increase production of electric vehicles. These include the Mustang Mach-E crossover and an upcoming electric version of the company’s best-selling F-150 pickup lorry, which is scheduled for launch this spring. Ford is now worth more than city rival General Motors, at about $90 billion, and electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive, at $72 billion.