European markets advanced Friday as investors around the world assessed inflation and the European Central Bank’s positive surprise while continuing to monitor developments in Ukraine. The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 1.08% by the close of trading, with travel and leisure stocks leading the gains with a 3.5% gain, while most sectors and major bourses closed in positive territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that there had been “certain positive changes” in talks between the Kremlin and Ukraine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell Friday, posting its fifth straight week of losses as investors remain cautious over the war between Russia and Ukraine. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell to 59.7 in March from 62.8 in February, according to the report released Friday. That’s the weakest reading since September 2011, and shares of Rivian fell 7.6% after missing fourth-quarter estimates on both revenue and profit numbers.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed in early morning trading as investors watch a wave of covidation in China. Meanwhile, oil prices remained volatile amid the war between Russiaand Ukraine. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 3.01% in morning trading. The Australian stock market traded sharply higher on Monday, recouping losses from the previous session. Among the major mining companies, BHP Group and Rio Tinto were unchanged.
Didi shares plunge 44%, leaving SoftBank and Uber with dwindling returns
Didi shares plunged 44% Friday, the biggest one-day drop since the Chinese ride-hailing service provider went public in the U.S. in June. The stock is now 87% below its IPO price, leaving its two main shareholders – SoftBank and Uber – facing heavy losses. The shares were already in freefall as the Chinese government cracked down on domestic companies listed in the US. Didi said in December that it would delist from the New York Stock Exchange and list in Hong Kong instead. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Didi had failed to meet data security requirements needed to sell shares in Hong Kong. Softbank owns about 20% of Didi. The Japanese conglomerate’s stake is now worth about $1.8 billion, down from nearly $14 billion at the time of the IPO. Uber’s roughly 12% stake has fallen from more than $8 billion in June to just over $1 billion today.
Pfizer to present data on 4th Covid shot soon
Pfizer plans to submit data for a fourth Covid vaccine to the Food and Drug Administration soon. The company is working on a vaccine that protects against all variants of the coronavirus, CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC on Friday. “I think we will submit to the FDA a significant advance of data on the need for a fourth dose, and they of course will have to draw their own conclusions, and then the CDC as well. Clearly, in an Omicron environment, there is a need to strengthen the immune response,” Bourla said.