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Russian Oil Embargo, China PMIs, Bored Apes


© Reuters

Geoffrey Smith — EU oil ministers gather to plan an embargo against Russian oil. However, crude prices fall and the EU responds to weak Chinese economic data. Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting (NYSE:), promotes value investment in troubled markets, and the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s sale of NFTs temporarily halts the blockchain. What you should know about the financial markets for Monday May 2nd.

1. West presses Russia to increase pressure; Lavrov asserts Hitler was part-Jewish

The U.S. and EU continued to ratchet up pressure on Russia to abandon its invasion of Ukraine, with House Speaker stating during an unannounced visit to Kyiv that the U.S. would support Ukraine “until victory is won.”

Later Monday’s meeting of EU Energy Ministers in Brussels will discuss a planned gradual embargo on Russian oil imports. It is intended to cripple the Russian economy even further. According to Newswire, exemptions could be granted to Hungary or Slovakia in order to secure the required unanimous support. Germany has been a pivotal player in this process and it has now dropped opposition.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to invite the leaders of India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa to the upcoming G-7 summit in an attempt to rally emerging markets behind the West’s pressure tactics, amid widespread reluctance to dance to the tune of the U.S. and former colonial powers.

Russia may have excluded one important player. Israel summoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov and publicly lambasted him after he repeatedly repeated urban myths to Italian media. He claimed Adolf Hitler was Jewish and Jews were the worst antisemites.

2. Yuan is slashed as Zero Covid policy causes havoc in Chinese economy

The scale of the economic damage to China’s economy from its Zero Covid policy become ever more apparent. China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to 47.4 in April, clearly in contraction territory, as a result of the lockdowns in Shanghai, Jilin and elsewhere. Even more dramatic was the decline in PMI for official services.

While Shanghai continues to see a decline in reported cases, the trend is not slowing down in Beijing. Beijing ordered two rounds of mass testing Monday. Capital, home to 21 million people, already shut down cinemas and gyms. It also banned indoor eating during this three-day holiday that ends on Wednesday.

While the news drove the prices down another 0.5% while industrial metals prices crashed due to fears of more disruptive lockdowns. Prices fell by 2.6%, reaching their lowest point since December.

3. Stocks set for modest bounce after Friday rout

The U.S. stock market is expected to start with a moderate bounce following Friday’s horrifying show that ended the worst month of stocks since the heights of the Pandemic in 2020.

By 6:20 AM ET (1020 GMT). They were up 150 points or 0.5% while were also up, with the Nasdaq contract experiencing a sharp dip in overnight sessions earlier.

Outperforming a little in premarket trading was Berkshire Hathaway stock, after Warren Buffett chaired his company’s annual shareholder meeting at the weekend. Buffett spent around $1 billion in U.S. stocks during the first quarter. Chevron (NYSE:) and Allegheny standing out as the group’s biggest conviction plays and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:) the target of some heavy merger arbitrage buying. 

4. Bored Apes harass Ethereum

The Ethereum blockchain ground to a temporary halt as Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Apes Yacht Club meme series, raised the equivalent of $320 million in the digital currency through an auction of ‘virtual land’ in Otherside, a planned metaverse game and the latest extension of the Bored Ape franchise. NFTs can be paid in ApeCoin which is a digital currency made on Ethereum.

The incident does little to support the argument that Ethereum is better adapted to upscaling than , but the robust underlying demand for Yuga’s intellectual property does at least validate some of the sharp rise in ApeCoin in anticipation of the sale, even though that rally has now largely unwound.

ApeCoin trades at $15.68008, down over 41% since last week’s peak, but unchanged from the launch of its cryptocurrency just over a decade ago.  

5. Chinese data show oil falling, setting a gloomy tone at OPEC+ Meeting

Crude oil prices fell sharply in response to the economic data out of China, with the pessimism amplified by perceptions that the country’s leadership is too politically invested in the Zero Covid policy to change course.

At 6:25 AM ET futures had fallen 3.4% to $101.23/barrel, and 2.8% to $104.31/barrel

The prospect of an EU oil embargo has now been largely priced in, with focus turning to Thursday’s meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC energy ministers to discuss production levels. Russia’s inability to produce its full quota under the bloc’s agreement is raising the incentive for other producers to increase their output – insofar as they can.  Libya is an OPEC member that has not been bound by production quotas but saw its output fall to 0.5million barrels per day as a result of fresh instability among warring factions.