U.S. Equity Markets got slammed yesterday after yet another incredibly volatile trading session, led by the NASDAQ 100 which closed lower by 3.06%. It is strange that despite the aggressive two-way price movement, the VIX barely budged, closing down 1.3%. It is a long time since stocks sold aggressively while at the same time we saw selling in the VIX. The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) data for April rose by 8.3% on an annual basis compared with Wall Street’s projected 8.1% increase and the month prior’s rise of 8.5%. Following the release of these numbers, it is likely we will see stocks come under greater pressure as the lack of noticeable slowing in inflation growth suggests the Federal Reserve may take more aggressive action to raise interest rates than what Wall Street is presently expecting. Within the S&P 500, eight of the 11 sectors finished higher. European Markets closed higher. The European Commission is anticipated to unveil a plan to help Ukraine export agricultural products via roads and rails to block a Russian naval blockade of its Black Sea ports. European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos said it needs to begin normalising monetary policy sooner than later, implying a rate hike could happen as soon as July. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi encouraged the U.S. and its allies to seek a long-term peace solution for the conflict in Ukraine. Bank of France Governor François Villeroy de Galhau said the country needs an “ambitious” debt-reduction strategy to ensure sustainable economic growth. In Asia, Government officials in Shanghai declared that half of the city was COVID-19-free, boosting hopes that Beijing may soon ease lockdown measures. Chinese CPI figures for April rose more than expected due to COVID-19 lockdowns and higher fuel and food prices. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the government will support domestic companies hurt by China’s zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy. Australian Consumer Confidence data for May fell compared with April, hitting its lowest level since August 2020 due to household concerns around rising costs. Elsewhere, Oil rose 5.47% following news that Ukrainian forces halted major Russian energy shipments to Europe while Bitcoin declined 6.45%, closing below $30,000.
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