Markets end the week, weak… But dollar holds onto its 4 year high
Yesterday wasn’t a good one with US and Asian sell-offs and a sharp drop in Apple’s shares wiping billions of its value after this week’s software update issue. US shares were in the red yesterday and Asia has followed today with some exceptions. Europe has seen some mixed reaction but is largely trending up again this morning. The dollar maintains its four year high and US stock futures are edging higher. Safe havens including the dollar and gold are again popular with investors as caution over the Middle East and monetary policy vagueness weakens sentiment.
US GDP third estimate for Q2 due at 8.30am ET
Consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan at 9.55am ET
Corporate profits report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis at 8.30am ET
Finish Line, Allied Healthcare and Blackberry all report earnings today.
Computer bug could cripple financial and government institutions
A new computer virus is causing major concern among governments, financial institutions and even military operations. The bug could allow millions of devices to be hacked, taking down systems and compromising data. ‘Shellshock’ as it’s been called targets a piece of software called Bash, found in Apple Mac and Linux operating systems and internet servers. The US National Cyber Security Division has given Shellshock its highest rating for severity but rates it as low for complexity, meaning it is easier for hackers to exploit the weakness, which has existed for two decades. With the Bash software being used in so many industrial and infrastructure control systems this vulnerability has the potential for maximum impact and an expert from the University of Surrey in the UK says that hackers are already exploiting the bug but not enough is known of how. This issue could affect 500 million computers and consumers are being advised not to use credit and debit cards online until a solution is in place. Read the full story.
Alibaba stock options go live on Monday
There’s set to be a whole new rush of interest in Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba when its stock options go live on Monday. After the record-breaking IPO raised $25 billion experts are expecting heavy demand for the options but at a price. With share prices currently around the $90 mark, the lower-cost options are not going to be a bargain but there is enough interest to ensure a lot of activity. Read the full story.
US farmers not hurt by Putin’s pressure
Following US sanctions imposed on Moscow, President Putin hit back by banning imports of US poultry but it seems he may only have hit his own people. Poultry exports to Russia were running at $300 million per year but while all US poultry exports were accounting for 40 per cent of producers’ output at one time, it’s now half that. As prices for other meat products has increased in the US, consumers have been buying more chicken and this extra demand has allowed farmers to fill the gap left by Russia without reducing prices. In Russia though, consumers are now faced with less choice and prices for poultry rising by up to 3 per cent every week since the ban was imposed! Read the full story.