Market Outlook – May 25, 2018

Main U.S. Benchmarks Finish in the Red

 

After a rebound on Wednesday, U.S. stocks finished in red territory on Thursday. There was as a sharp decline in energy-related shares led by Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Chevron Corp. (CVX). U.S. President Donald Trump also canceled a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un saying there is “open hostility” from the country.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 75.05 points (-0.3%). Seven of the eleven major sectors in S&P 500 closed lower too with the index falling 5.53 points (-0.2%). The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index finished less than -0.1% at 7,424.43.

Mexico Makes New Offer on NAFTA Retooling

 

President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico remains hopeful that all three countries involved in NAFTA talks would achieve a beneficial Free Trade Agreement. He expressed optimism on Thursday despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s order to probe and explore auto tariffs.

 

According to sources, Mexico had made a new offer to seek a deal particularly on the auto industry. The issue has hindered progress on the ongoing negotiations. Nieto said he is in close coordination with Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau.

But Eduardo Sanchez, Nieto’s spokesman, said Mexico would not buckle to pressure to conclude the long-stalled renegotiation. He said, “Mexico is not going to negotiate on the basis of pressure, Mexico is very clear about what works and what doesn’t work for us.” Meanwhile, the new offer shows some flexibility with regards to autos.

Lawsuits Filed as Data Protection Law Takes Effect

 

On Friday, Europe’s sweeping data protection law takes effect and legal experts are saying that the big tech companies are already violating the new rules. Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) and Facebook, Inc. (FB) including its subsidiaries Whatsapp and Instagram are facing lawsuits for failure to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

If the European regulators confirm that these companies failed to comply, billions of dollars in fines are forthcoming. The amount of fines can be up to 4% of global annual sales each time the companies violate the new law.

The lawsuit against Alphabet was filed with French regulators while the case versus Facebook was filed with Austrian data regulators. For WhatsApp and Instagram, the cases were filed with German and Belgian regulators respectively.

Jury Orders Samsung to Pay Apple $539 Million

 

A U.S. jury decided on Thursday then ordered ordered Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. to pay Apple Inc. (AAPL) $539 million for copying their patented smartphone features. The world’s top smartphone rivals have been engaged in a legal battle over patents since 2011.

Apple’s lawsuit against the South Korean firm alleges that Samsung smartphones and tablets “slavishly” copied its products. In the 2012 trial, Samsung was found to be liable but a disagreement arose over the amount of damages to be paid to Apple.

Meghan Markle Boost Sales of Yellow Gold

 

Because she favors yellow gold, jewelers pointed to The Meghan Markle effect as to why sales of yellow gold jewelry in the U.S. have risen by 30%. Sales of gold jewelry in America during the first quarter of 2018 were the strongest since 2009.

According to the World Gold Council, the increase in demand was due to the public’s fascination with Meghan Markle. The American actress is now the Duchess of Sussex after marrying Britain’s Prince Harry last Sunday.

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