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Biden’s Diplomatic Deal Dash in Vietnam: Semiconductors, Minerals, and the Red Carpet Treatment

In a twist of diplomatic flair, U.S. President Joe Biden pulled off a double play on Sunday with Vietnam, sealing deals on semiconductors and minerals while elevating the strategic Southeast Asian nation to Hanoi’s highest diplomatic echelon, a tier shared with the likes of China and Russia.

It’s a move that’s been brewing in the diplomatic teapot for months as the U.S. seeks to embrace Vietnam, not just as a scenic tourist destination but as a vital cog in the machinery of securing global supply chains, all while dodging the shadow of China-related risks.

In a remarkable turnaround, considering the tumultuous history between the two nations, Biden’s arrival in Hanoi was greeted with all the pomp and ceremony that the ruling Communist Party could muster. Picture school children waving the Star-Spangled Banner, and honor guards strutting their stuff with bayoneted rifles – it was a stark contrast to the Cold War-era tensions of yesteryears.

Biden acknowledged the remarkable progress made in fostering these newfound ties, proving that sometimes, even half a century of political frost can thaw into something unexpectedly warm and promising.

Moving Markets

Dow futures edge higher; fresh inflation data, tech sector in focus

U.S. stock futures edged higher Monday, bouncing after the previous week’s losses with investors awaiting the release of key inflation data as well as more earnings from the tech sector.

By 06:30 ET (10:30 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 75 points, or 0.2%, S&P 500 Futures traded 18 points, or 0.4%, higher and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 88 points, or 0.6%.

The three major Wall Street indices posted a losing week last week, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ending around 0.8 lower. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.9% and the broad-based S&P 500 fell 1.3%, their first negative week in three.

Inflation data looms large

Last week’s equity losses were largely caused by rising concerns that stronger than expected economic data will prompt the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates at elevated levels for longer than previously expected.

With this in mind, the focus this week will be on the latest consumer price index and producer price index readings, on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, particularly given the higher energy cost pressures.

The market is widely expecting the U.S. central bank to pause raising interest rates this month, but policymakers still do not appear to be ready to declare victory over inflation.

“Another skip could be appropriate when we meet later this month,” Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan said late on Thursday. “My base case, though, is that there is work left to do.”

Tech sector in spotlight

The tech sector suffered last week as rising U.S. bond yields disproportionately impacted a number of the sector’s richly valued stocks.

This week sees financial updates from Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) on Monday and Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) on Thursday, while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is set to hold a product event on Tuesday, at which the world’s most valuable company is widely expected to unveil the iPhone 15.

Additionally, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) announced earlier Monday that the e-commerce giant’s former group CEO Daniel Zhang has resigned just two months after concentrating his focus on cloud computing, raising concern over the unit’s spin-off plan.

Crude market awaits IEA, OPEC reports

Oil prices edged lower Monday, easing from 10-month highs after a stellar rally in the wake of top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia extending their voluntary supply cuts to the end of the year.

The International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are due to release their monthly reports this week.

Investors will be looking for comments on likely demand growth given a swathe of recent data has shown that the important Chinese economy was cooling despite the lifting of anti-COVID restrictions earlier this year.

By 06:30 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.8% lower at $86.86 a barrel, while the Brent contract traded 0.5% lower to $90.22.

Both contracts have gained in the past two consecutive weeks with the global Brent settling at its highest since November on Friday.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,948.35/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% higher at 1.0729.


Instacart’s IPO: From Grocery Shopping Goldmine to Valuation Rollercoaster

Instacart, the grocery genie of the digital era, is about to rub its IPO lamp, hoping to conjure up a valuation somewhere between $8.6 billion and $9.3 billion, as whispered by a well-informed grapevine.

In a move as carefully orchestrated as a perfectly bagged grocery order, the exact valuation range will be unveiled in an upcoming IPO regulatory filing, set to make its grand entrance on Monday – a teaser worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, if you ask me.

Back in 2021, they strutted around with a $39 billion price tag, but it seems the era of pandemic-induced doorstep deliveries has come to a close, bringing the valuation back down to Earth with a thud.

Crawford Investment Counsel Inc. Plays Financial Jenga with Cardinal Health, Shaves Off 0.3% Stake

In a financial game of Jenga, Crawford Investment Counsel Inc. showcased its strategic prowess by subtly trimming its holdings in Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE:CAH) during the first quarter.

Their moves, as detailed in a recent Securities & Exchange Commission filing, saw the institutional investor deftly part ways with 2,378 shares, ultimately leaving them with a 0.30% ownership slice of the Cardinal Health pie. The value of this calculated maneuver? Approximately $57,178,000 when the curtain fell on the most recent quarter.

Ah, Mondays in the stock market, where optimism battles exhaustion in a cosmic clash. It’s the day when investors wake up, fueled by coffee and ambition, ready to conquer the financial world. With dreams of bullish trends dancing in their heads, they embark on a journey of high hopes and low volatility (or not). For some, it’s a fresh start, a chance to make up for Friday’s questionable decisions. For others, it’s a grim reminder that stocks don’t care about your weekend plans. So, whether you’re a seasoned trader or just dabbling, Mondays in the stock market are like a weekly rollercoaster ride—you either scream in excitement or clutch your portfolio in terror.