Wall Street is moving more calmly this Friday after the previous day’s setback, with many investors already closing their accounts for the year ahead of a long three-day Christmas weekend in the financial markets… S&P 500 resumes 0.37% to 3,836 points , Dow Jones rose 0.35% to 33,125 points, but the Nasdaq fell 0.36% to 10,438 points. Yesterday’s upward revision of US third-quarter growth from 2.9% to 3.2% added to concerns about the Fed’s continued monetary tightening, especially as the Core PCE price index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, was also revised up to 4.7% year-on-year, compared with they announced 4.6% the previous month.
On the labor market, jobless claims rose slightly in the US last week but remain close to their lowest level… Indeed, the US Labor Department has announced that for the week ended December 12, jobless claims reached 216,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week. The market consensus was 222,000. The four-week average stands at 227,750, down from 6,250. Finally, the number of unemployed people receiving compensation for the week ended December 5 reached 1.672 million, down 6,000 over seven days (1.675 million consensus).
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 0.1% last month, the Commerce Department said Friday. October data was revised up to +0.9% from the previously reported +0.8%. Economists had predicted an increase of 0.2 per cent. Some of the moderation in spending last month reflects a shift in demand from goods to services.
On the foreign exchange market, the euro stands at $1.06. On the oil market, the barrel of Brent moves up 3%, above 83 dollars. Russia could cut oil production by 5% to 7% at the start of 2023 in response to price caps for its crude oil and oil products by stopping sales to countries that have provided aid, it said. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday. Alexander Novak indicated during an interview on state television that oil production could be reduced by 500,000 to 700,000 barrels per day.
The G7 countries, the European Union and Australia have agreed to cap the price of a barrel of Russian maritime oil at $60, the idea being to dry up Russia’s income to prevent it from financing the war in Ukraine with its crude sales. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this week that he would issue a decree early next week outlining Moscow’s response to the decision…
* Tesla: +0.1%. Elon Musk has said he won’t sell any more Tesla shares for about two years after selling nearly $40 billion worth of stock since late last year, mostly to finance the Twitter takeover. Tesla stock is down nearly 65% since the start of the year.
On the ground, in a sign of the crisis that is catching up with the US economy, the electric car maker is offering rebates of up to $7,500 on its Model 3 and Model Y delivered in the US this month ($5,000 in Canada) as Elon Musk’s group faces a strong slowdown in demand. In addition to the fear of recession, consumers are also waiting for new fiscal incentives. Tesla, which until now offered a maximum credit of $3,750, is also offering 10,000 free recharge miles on its Superchargers.
* Meta: +3.2%. Facebook’s parent company has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the social network of allowing third parties, including consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, to access its users’ personal data.
According to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, the proposed amount is “the largest ever awarded in a US data protection class action and the largest Meta has ever paid to settle a class action.” But it still has not admitted wrongdoing under the deal, which remains subject to approval by a federal judge in San Francisco. However, the company said in a statement that the settlement is “in the best interests of our community and our shareholders.” “Over the past three years, we’ve revamped our approach to privacy and implemented a comprehensive privacy program,” Meta management said.
* Apple: -0.4%. ‘Apple Watch’ watches with an electrocardiogram function infringe patents owned by medical device maker AliveCor, the US International Trade Commission has announced, which could lead to a ban on their import into the US…
* BioNTech (-1.7%) announced the launch of the Phase I clinical trial of its malaria vaccine candidate, which uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. Trials of this vaccine, called BNT165b1, involve recruiting 60 malaria-free volunteers in the United States for evaluation at three dose levels, BioNTech said in a statement.
BNT165b1 is the first vaccine candidate in BioNTech’s malaria project, which aims to develop a highly effective mRNA vaccine and establish vaccine production in Africa. The company said it will initially evaluate different antigens from the malaria parasite over the next few months to select the multi-antigen vaccine candidate for subsequent trials…
* AT&T (-0.4%) and fund manager BlackRock announce the creation of the Gigapower joint venture to operate a fiber optic platform in the United States.
* Microsoft (stable). In a public statement, Microsoft said its plan to acquire the video game publisher. Activision would benefit “both gamers and other companies in the industry”. Recall that last January, the group announced that it wanted to buy Activision for an estimated amount of $69 billion. However, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the US competition policeman, opened proceedings at the beginning of the month with the aim of blocking this takeover, saying it feared a serious infringement of competition. Microsoft has filed an appeal to convince a court judge to approve its proposed takeover…