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Between the lines Week 2 - January 2022

Date: 14 January 2022

UK economy still struggling with pandemic

According to The Economist, by the third quarter of 2021 GDP levels in the UK, Portugal, Spain and Italy still hadn’t recovered from the onset of the pandemic. UK GDP was more than 2% adrift while Spain’s, bereft of tourist income for two years, was 6.6% down.

UK economy among the biggest pandemic losers

Nasdaq index snaps four-day losing streak

With inflation surging, the aggressive rise in interest rates that’s now expected in the US and elsewhere briefly pushed US Treasury yields to a two-year high on Monday (10 Jan). This has created a choppy backdrop for equity markets.

While the S&P 500 Index suffered a fifth consecutive day of losses on Monday with the FTSE 100 Index also losing ground, a rally late in the day lifted the Nasdaq Index after four days of decline. Early losses on Monday had taken the Nasdaq to more than 9% below its record November closing, which left it teetering close to a correction (a move of 10%).

Even so, US equities are still sharply down so far this year. By Monday’s close, the S&P 500 was down some 2% while the Nasdaq had fallen more than 4%.

Markets now expect the Federal Reserve to hike US interest rates four times in 2022, starting in March, after US annual inflation surged to a 40-year high of 7% in December.

Apple breaks $3trn valuation barrier

On Monday 3 January, investors returning from the holidays pushed shares in Apple to another new high ($182.80) making it the first US company in history to be worth over $3trn. The tech giant has tripled in value in less than four years with its shares gaining some 38% between the start of 2021 and the first day of trading in 2022.

Back in August 2018, Apple became the world’s first trillion dollar company and, by August 2020, it had passed the $2trn mark. In passing the $3trn landmark, Apple is now worth more than Boeing, Coca-Cola, Disney, Exxon-Mobil, McDonald’s, Netflix and Walmart combined.

Apple enjoyed 33% revenue growth to generate just over $1bn a day in global revenues in its last financial year (to the end of September) with frenetic growth levels across its portfolio of service offerings such as music, TV and cloud storage.

Meanwhile, analysts also expect Microsoft to pass the $3trn milestone later in 2022.

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Between the lines week 2

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