The world this week--Business
America’s Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, lifting it to a target range of 0.75% to 1%.
It was the biggest increase since 2000.
The Fed also unveiled a plan to start reducing its nearly $9trn balance-sheet from June, and accelerate the pace of sales in September, intensifying its battle against inflation.
More half-point rate rises are expected this year.
The Reserve Bank of Australia increased its benchmark rate for the first time in 11 years, to 0.35%, amid high inflation.
India’s central bank also unexpectedly raised its main rate, to 4.4%, in an effort to tame prices, especially for food.
With many tech share prices shedding their gains from the pandemic, the Nasdaq stockmarket fell by 13.3% in April, its worst monthly performance since the financial crisis in 2008.
Amazon’s stock struggled to recover from the hammering it took after the company reported a slowdown in quarterly revenue from online sales.
It recorded a net loss of $3.8bn, in part because it wrote down the value of its investment in Rivian, which makes electric vehicles.
Amazon’s cloud-computing division, which provides the backbone of its profits, did well.
The momentum that labour activists were hoping for from the recent decision by workers at an Amazon warehouse to join a union stalled, after staff at a smaller facility voted against unionisation.
Lyft lost 30% of its stockmarket value, after the ride-hailing company forecast a weak outlook.
Uber’s share price also fell, though not as sharply;
its business rebounded in the first quarter because of “strong mobility demand”, but it nevertheless made a $5.9bn loss because of its sinking investments in tech firms.
Underlining a reversal in fortunes compared with the tech sector over the course of the pandemic, the oil industry reported bumper quarterly profits, helped by surging oil prices.
Despite a $24bn write-down from leaving Russia, BP’s headline profit came in at $6.2bn, the best since 2008.
It expanded its share buy-back programme.
Shell’s adjusted profit of $9.1bn was its best ever.
ExxonMobil tripled its stock buy-backs and Chevron recorded its most profitable three months since 2012.
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, agreed to buy Black Knight, a provider of mortgage data and software, for $13.1bn.
Like other stockmarket operators, ICE has been expanding into fintech and other areas outside equities.
Its acquisition of Black Knight comes amid a boom in American house prices.