Yellen on Inflation, Astra Pushes Back, and TechnoKing Musk; What's up in Markets

  • Economy News
Yellen on Inflation, Astra Pushes Back, and TechnoKing Musk;  What's up in Markets
Credit: © Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith -- Janet Yellen plays down the fear of inflation at the start of a big week for central bank meetings. Big emerging market central banks may not be as indulgent later this week. Chinese data for the first two months of the year were strong. AstraZeneca (LON: AZN ) pushes back as more countries suspend the use of its Covid-19 vaccine. And Elon Musk crowns himself Technoking in a Tesla stock exchange filing as Bitcoin hits a new record high of $61,000. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Monday, March 15th. 

1. Yellen downplays inflation fears

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen tried to frame the week’s big debate on her own terms, telling ABC’s “This Week” that the risk of inflation is “small” and “manageable”.

“I don’t think it’s a significant risk,” Yellen said. “And if it materializes, we’ll certainly monitor for it but we have tools to address it.”

Yellen’s comments come at the start of a big week for central bank meetings. After the Federal Reserve on Wednesday,  the Bank of England and Bank of Japan both hold their policy meetings on Thursday and Friday, respectively. BoE Governor Andrew Bailey told the BBC on Monday that he didn’t expect inflation to rise excessively.

Those looking for a real reaction to the upturn in inflationary pressures should monitor the central bank of Brazil on Wednesday, Turkey ’s central bank on Thursday, and Russia’s on Friday.

2. Chinese data strong; Xiaomi's case may help ADRs

China’s monthly data barrage showed industrial production and fixed asset investment rising strongly, as expected, from a year ago. Output was up 35% on the year in first two months of 2021, against a comparative base that reflected China’s lockdown. Retail sales were up by a similar amount.

Base effects were also responsible for Germany’s wholesale price inflation turning positive for the first time in a year.

Economists say that the next few months are bound to generate some extreme-looking data because of the huge distortion to demand and prices caused by lockdowns in the U.S. and Europe a year ago. As such, month-on-month changes may assume more market importance in the near term.

In other China-related news, Chinese ADRs may be supported later by phone-maker Xiaomi (OTC: XIACF )'s (OTC: XIACY ) legal victory against ex-President Trump’s attempts to ban U.S. investors from holding its stock. On the downside, Chinese state media quoted President Xi Jinping as saying that the government intends to step up its monitoring of the Internet platform economy, confirming fears that were sparked last week by a raft of token antitrust fines.

3. Stocks set to open higher; Dow at new record

U.S. stocks are set to open higher later, with risk appetite well supported after Yellen’s intervention at the weekend.

By 6:45 AM ET (1145 GMT), Dow Jones futures were up 122 points, or 0.4%, building on Friday’s record close, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures contracts were lagging slightly with a gain of 0.2%.

Bitcoin-focused stocks are likely to be in focus later after the digital currency rose to a new record high of over $61,000 at the weekend, fired by last week’s eye-catching sale of digital art by Christie’s, where a non-fungible token created by the artist Beeple sold for over $60 million. The sale was executed using Ethereum .

Also in focus will be DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG ), after rival FanDuel’s owner, U.K.-based Flutter Entertainment (OTC: PDYPY ) said it’s looking at listing the business.

4. AstraZeneca pushes back as vaccine doubts grow

AstraZeneca  (NASDAQ: AZN ) pushed back at the weekend against growing fears that its Covid-19 vaccine may cause blood-clotting problems. 

The company said in a statement that over 17 million doses have been administered in Europe and the U.K., with no evidence that the shot increased the risk of blood clots.

 According to Bloomberg, as of March 8, there have been 15 reports of clots in the legs and 22 cases where they reached the lungs, known as pulmonary embolism. On Monday, the Netherlands and Ireland joined the list of countries that have suspended distribution of the vaccine. The EU meanwhile is still heaping pressure on the U.S. to release for export unused stockpiles of the drug, which U.S. regulators are yet to approve.

5. TechnoKing and Master of Coin

Tesla  (NASDAQ: TSLA ) CEO Elon Musk continues to troll the po-faced legions of baby-boomer analysts and journalists by adopting new titles straight out of the lexicon of Reddit subculture.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Tesla said that: “Effective as of March 15, 2021, the titles of Elon Musk and Zach Kirkhorn have changed to TechnoKing of Tesla and Master of Coin, respectively. Elon and Zach will also maintain their respective positions as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer.”

Make of that what you will.

Drop an image here or Supported formats: *.jpg, *.png, *.gif up to 5mb

Error: File type not supported

Drop an image here or