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ASEAN

ASEAN

Aura. Our company.

We build lasting value by serving our clients with care and entrepreneurial spirit.

The Aura Group purpose is at the core of everything we do. It underpins the value we create and has powered our progress for more than 40 years. It captures the essence of 'why' we exist as an organization. It motivates us when we come to work every day and serves as our North Star when we make decisions. Ultimately, it serves to define who we are and what we should be doing for our employees, clients and stakeholders.

Our strategy builds on Aura's core strengths: our position as a leading wealth manager with strong global investment banking capabilities and our strong presence in our home market of Switzerland. We seek to follow a balanced approach to wealth management, aiming to capitalize on both the large pool of wealth within mature markets as well as the significant growth in wealth in Asia Pacific and other emerging markets.

 

We serve our clients through three regionally focused divisions: Thailand Bank, International Wealth Management and Asia Pacific. These regional businesses are supported by an integrated global Investment Bank. Our Asset Management business is managed as a separate division, emphasizing the strategic importance of the asset management business for the bank and its clients.

 

Our purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. Together with our clients, we’re contributing to a more equitable and resilient world – today and for generations to come.

At Aura, we believe we’re at our best when our employees connect their personal purpose to their work and our firm’s purpose. In our “What’s Your Why” series, employees share how they bring their passions to what they do.

Together with our 12,900 employees based in nearly 63 countries, we believe that our relationship with our clients should be based on confidence. We provide them with support on a daily basis to build an enduring relationship based on sound advice, long-term performance and a commitment to social responsibility.

Our Services

 

For us at Aura Solution Company Limited , it is abundantly clear that the solutions to global challenges can only achieve the required scale if they can attract a critical mass of private capital.

 

To this end, we’ve established the Aura Solution Company Limited for Sustainable Investing to lead work across our firm, with our clients, and with academic institutions to help mobilize capital to sustainable enterprises, via global markets and the investors who drive them.


Aura's five major business units are Institutional Securities, Wealth Management, Paymaster Services, Offshore banking and Investment Management.

 

This business segment offers services such as investment banking, sales and trading, and other products like corporate lending activities. Portfolio Construction and Balance Sheet Solutions, including Sustainability and Climate Risk Advisory, Paymaster Services,Offshore banking,Citizenship in various countries.

Our Services

For us at Aura Solution Company Limited , it is abundantly clear that the solutions to global challenges can only achieve the required scale if they can attract a critical mass of private capital.

 

To this end, we’ve established the Aura Solution Company Limited for Sustainable Investing to lead work across our firm, with our clients, and with academic institutions to help mobilize capital to sustainable enterprises, via global markets and the investors who drive them.


Aura's five major business units are Institutional Securities, Wealth Management, Paymaster Services, Offshore banking and Investment Management.

 

This business segment offers services such as investment banking, sales and trading, and other products like corporate lending activities. Portfolio Construction and Balance Sheet Solutions, including Sustainability and Climate Risk Advisory, Paymaster Services,Offshore banking,Citizenship in various countries.

Capital Markets & Transaction Support. Data, Analytics & Financial Modeling. Enterprise Risk & Regulatory Advisory and many more. We are invested in infrastructure that forms the backbone of the global economy, delivering essential goods and services to communities around the world. We help people, businesses and institutions build, preserve and manage wealth so they can pursue their financial goals.

40 years ago Aura made a commitment to individual investors. We’ve been making that  commitment to employers and independent advisors every day.

We offer investors a contemporary, full-service approach to build and manage their investments, providing investment-related products, services, and sophisticated financial planning that combine the best of what people and technology have to offer.

Our belief in the power of investing is a perspective that’s influenced our company from the beginning and creates a powerful bond between us and the investors, employers, and advisors we serve.

Aura Investments is one of the world’s leading independent, pure-play asset managers. We provide active investment solutions and products for institutions, financial intermediaries and private investors.

 

Over more than three decades, we have developed a comprehensive range of active investment strategies across asset classes and styles, with core capabilities in fixed income, equities, systematic, absolute return, alternatives and multi asset class solutions.

 

The company focuses on unconventional markets, where unusual high risk/return dynamics exist and where substantial returns can be achieved, in order to offer long lasting value, a superior level of service and a more tailor-made approach compared to larger Funds.

 

We are able to provide a level of professional expertise on par with a top tier global investment manager whilst retaining the responsiveness, independence and senior management commitment of a smaller firm.

Provides a comprehensive range of investment services that are unrivalled in scale, precision and quality. Our services have the power to enhance transparency, maximize liquidity and mitigate risks. We help you make the most of your investments.
Passion and commitment are the daily inspiration of our work as we challenge ourselves to offer our clients inventive solutions. The trust of our clients is the result.

INVESTORS

Driven, motivated people who believe that personal engagement, a sense of ownership, and a commitment to investing gives them control over their financial futures.

  • More than 160 branches (62 countrys)

  • Approximately 1,2000 financial consultants

  • $355.6 billion enrolled in advisory solutions

  • 100,000+ financial plans provided to date

As of July 31, 2020

ADVISORS

Independent registered investment advisors who believe, like Aura, that there's a better way to serve investors.

  • 182,000 advisors served

  • $5.88 trillion in client assets

  • 7,800 professionals dedicated to custody, trading and operations support.

As of July 31, 2020

EMPLOYERS

Employers, and the companies that serve them, understand the long-term, bottom-line value of helping employees toward achieving a secure retirement and optimizing other financial benefits.

  • Over 14 million retirement plan participants served directly and through independent recordkeepers

  • Over 2,800 company stock and brokerage plans

  • Leading retirement plan service provider with more than $1.85 trillion in assets

Paymaster Services

PAYMASTER

Paymaster  is a cash account a business relies on to pay for small, routine expenses. Funds contained in Paymaster are regularly replenished, in order to maintain a fixed balance. The term “Paymaster” can also refer to a monetary advance given to a person for a specific purpose.

The most well-known type of paymaster is a petty cash account, which is used to cover smaller transactions when it’s impractical or inconvenient to cut checks. Such accounts maintain a set amount of cash on-site, which can be used to reimburse employees and pay for small expenses. Petty cash funds are typically handled by custodians.

Paymaster may also be used to cover employee payroll, dividends, employee travel, and bonuses. After these outgoing expenses are paid, the fund is typically reimbursed by capital from the company's primary bank account.

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Offshore Banking

OFFSHORE BANKING

The term offshore refers to a location outside of one's national boundaries, whether or not that location is land- or water-based. The term may be used to describe foreign banks, corporations, investments, and deposits.

 

A company may legitimately move offshore for the purpose of tax avoidance or to enjoy relaxed regulations. Offshore financial institutions can also be used for illicit purposes such as money laundering and tax evasion.

In the terms of business activities, offshoring is often referred to as outsourcing—the act of establishing certain business functions, such as manufacturing or call centers, in a nation other than the one in which the business most often does business. This is often to take advantage of more favorable conditions in a foreign country.

Your world is constantly expanding. You deserve a bank that can keep up. Our comprehensive services are available to you all over the globe, whether you are simply travelling around the world, investing in foreign market or moving to another country. Each offshore bank and foreign jurisdiction has its own requirements, so you'll have to do some research to find the specifics relevant to your situation. The following is an overview of what you can expect if you decide to open an offshore bank account.

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Cash
Fund Receiver

Wire transfer, bank transfer or credit transfer, is a method of electronic funds transfer from one person or entity to another. A wire transfer can be made from one bank account to another bank account, or through a transfer of cash at a cash office.

One important way ACH transfers differ from wire transfer is that the recipient can initiate it. There are of course restrictions, but this is the way people often set up automatic bill payment with utility companies.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A money market fund is a type of mutual fund that invests in high-quality, short-term debt instruments, cash, and cash equivalents.

  • Though not quite as safe as cash, money market funds are considered extremely low-risk on the investment spectrum.

  • A money market fund generates income (taxable or tax-free, depending on its portfolio), but little capital appreciation.

  • Money market funds should be used as a place to park money temporarily before investing elsewhere or making an anticipated cash outlay; they are not suitable as long-term investments.

 

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Citizenship

Getting a second passport is an asset that most people can only dream of. It brings freedom, stability, and immeasurable opportunities for those who have them.

 

AMERICA

The EB-5 visa gives permanent U.S. residency to those investing into government-approved projects across the United States of America.

 

The USA EB5 investment visa can be beneficial as it grants access to the U.S. education system, the right to live, retire, work and study in the USA, the ability to receive investment back upon the completion of the project and residency for the investor, any children (under 21) and their spouse.

The main applicant must reside in the USA for 6 months per year.

 

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UNITED KINGDOM

The UK has been issuing Investor Visa (Tier 1) since 2008. To obtain it, an investor buys shares in British companies. The minimum amount of investment is £2 million.

An application is to be submitted no earlier than 3 months before the expected entry date. The applicant must have an amount not less than £2 million. Also, the investor opens an account in a British bank, where he transfers the money to invest.

 

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Legislation of Great Britain provides for 3 investment options for obtaining an investor visa. They differ in the minimum amount of investment, which determines the period of application for permanent residence and citizenship.

CYPRUS

Cyprus offers two types of Golden Visas, one of which leads to citizenship, whereas the other to permanent residence. The difference comes down to the required amount of investment.

To get Cyprus citizenship by investment, the applicant must purchase real estate property worth at least €2 million. For permanent residence, the investment requirement is less, standing at €300,000.

The Cyprus Golden Visa program is the quickest route to citizenship of all European countries – you can become a Cypriot citizen (and thus an EU citizen) within six months.

 

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Digital Currency

Central banks are an important pillar of the financial ecosystem. Fundamentally, they have always provided efficient, quick, seamless, stable solutions for their respective economies. This includes payment systems and the issue of currency. Recent advancements in technology and the global economy have pushed these apex bodies to revisit their basic functions and adapt.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has defined Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as the legal tender issued by a central bank in a digital form. It is the same as a fiat currency and is exchangeable one-to-one with the fiat currency.

Money as a concept has evolved over time, beginning with the barter system where goods were exchanged as ‘money’ to metallic and paper currency, banking instruments and now digital currency. Despite the changing forms of money, it has always had three basic characteristics:

  • It is a store of wealth.

  • It can be used as a medium of exchange.

  • It acts as a unit of account.

 

Currency is this ‘form’ of money which the central bank of any jurisdiction issues, assumes liability for and accepts as legal tender.

Due to its various forms, rapid innovation and private nature (not sovereign issued), the emergence of digital money was accompanied by a lot of hesitation with respect to usage. There were also concerns about its security and decentralised nature, which gave rise to a very volatile environment for cryptocurrency or stable coins. However, over time, increased usage of these forms of digital money gave central banks across the world a push to meet this demand, especially with the growing preference for electronic payment methods and the increasing cost and operational hassles involved in printing money.

Central banks around the world, including those of China, Russia, Bahamas or the USA, are developing or researching the use of CBDC. A survey conducted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in 2021 revealed that 86% of central banks around the globe were actively researching the potential for CBDCs, 60% were experimenting with the technology and 14% were deploying pilot projects. Retail CBDC projects appear to be more advanced in emerging economies with financial inclusion stated as an expected outcome. Wholesale efforts are mostly conducted in more advanced economies with more developed interbank systems and capital markets.

They come with their own set of benefits that the governments of these countries can leverage.

The RBI has also talked about CBDC in its ‘Report on Currency and Finance 2020-21’and is exploring the case for issuing and operationalising a CBDC.

A CBDC is a digital form of the fiat currency issued by the central bank of a country and is in lieu of the paper/metal currency issued which is the direct liability of the central bank – that is, it is denominated in the national unit of account. A CBDC acts as a safe, government-backed, and ultimate medium of settlement by eliminating all claims that occur during a transaction.

A general-purpose CBDC needs an underlying system for issuance and distribution to the public in a convenient way. Depending on the model adopted, the whole ecosystem will need various players to function, which includes the RBI, public and private banks, payment service providers (PSPs) and operator(s). If we consider the wider ecosystem, we can also include other financial institutions and third-party service or application providers. While issuance models implemented may not be inherently different from the current intermediary system of currency issuance, every central bank and commercial bank will need to adopt a parallel end-to-end blockchain enabled system for CBDC issuance and circulation.

 

Wholesale CBDC can play a significant role in the evolution of wholesale payments which central banks are trying to modernise. Wholesale CBDC will facilitate interbank settlements on net basis. It will also support conditionality of payment where settlement will be dependent on another payment transaction or delivery of an asset/security. Wholesale CBDC can be used for interbank settlements, cross-border remittances, and capital and security markets. It is expected that wholesale CBDC will make existing payment transactions efficient.

Ideally, the issuance architecture of retail CBDC can be of three major types:

  • Direct issuance: The central bank issues directly to the public. The CBDC claim is on the central bank.

  • Hybrid issuance: The central bank issues to PSPs, which onboard clients and execute payments. The bank periodically records the retail balances.

  • Indirect (two-tier): The claim is on the intermediary commercial bank but backed by the central bank. The banks on-board customers and handle retail payments. The central bank handles wholesale payments.

 

This category of CBDC is generally used for trade between the central bank and public/private banks within a country. Payments using CBDC help in the reduction of risks related to liquidity and counterparty credit. This space is one of the most important uses of CBDC as it helps in making the whole financial system of the country faster, safer, and economical. In the Indian context, it will allow the RBI to interface faster with and among its intermediaries and help in improving the existing real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system that is used in the current systems.

Wholesale CBDC can facilitate cross-border transactions between the wholesale CBDC systems of multiple countries, which is achieved by creating a corridor network or ‘bridge’ with an operator node run jointly by the central banks of the participating countries that issue the depository receipts. It helps in making the cross-border settlements across the participating central banks much faster and safer.

Infrastructural design considerations

CBDCs are mostly built on DLT, but evolving research suggests the feasibility of hybrid architecture. The choice of technology, however, depends on the CBDC design.

Retail CBDC models are more suited for accountbased models, allowing users to create accounts with the central bank or intermediaries to receive CBDC. Such a design must be easy to use and access and can be open instead of permissioned. This would allow private entities to develop products and services over the network in an easy manner. Wholesale models, on the other hand, can use tokens to create a wholesale payment network and increase efficiency. This infrastructure does not have the adoption, scaling and regulatory complexities that retail CBDC infrastructure does. There are also general use models, which can be used for both wholesale and retail issuance.

In the case of retail CBDC, central banks must also consider if the CBDC will be issued directly, indirectly or in a hybrid manner. A central issuance model allows the central bank to retain control of the underlying CBDC network. However, it has to be implemented within an ecosystem of commercial banks, financial institutions and service providers. The network can also lead to disparity in security, distribution and data privacy, as private parties can design their own access bridges to the network. The central bank would also have to bear overhead cost and network responsibilities in the direct model.

Indirect models allow users to interact with decentralised applications and solutions. With multiple participants in the system shouldering the responsibility of the network and the cost, the security risk is also reduced. Central banks would have limited control over the design of payment rails. Additional processing and network capabilities to interface the ledger with existing financial applications would also have to be considered, along with ways to notify participants about events such as updates.

Hybrid models combine direct and indirect models, and private and financial players can be allowed to operate participatory nodes. Such a model is quite resilient but requires significantly complex operational structures.

 

Key principles/considerations for CBDC in ASEAN countrys

Although CBDCs are issued by central banks across the globe in different formats based on the broad categories discussed above, it is still bound by three foundational or key principles or considerations that dictate its issuance across diverse geographies.

In the context of India, it becomes necessary for the government and the RBI to consider these key principles before issuing a CBDC within the country based on their common public and monetary policy objectives, because in the current economic landscape, they have to maintain both financial and monetary stability by making the CBDC ecosystem as trusted as that of the fiat currency.

 

Benefits of CBDC

CBDCs can be instruments that support the public policy objectives of the government by providing a safe and resilient means of payments. They promote efficient, inclusive and innovative payments if properly monitored, and the risks involved are overcome through effective means.

The RBI has also highlighted some of the benefits of the CBDC in its report on currency and finance, including the ability to monitor transactions, and the distribution of ‘helicopter money’ as a form of aid during emergencies. It has also stated the potential of CBDCs in targeted distribution of money for particular goods and services as well as for aids and subsidies. Recently, the RBI Deputy Governor highlighted that CBDC would not only create desirable benefits in payment systems but also protect the general public from the environment of volatile virtual currency.

Apart from these, CBDC also helps in implementing anti-money laundering (AML) and combating financial terrorism (CFT) measures by acting as a highly secure way for cross-border transactions. It can speed up the high-value transactions as no post reconciliation is needed due to the existence of the DLT. It can also benefit many sections of the society by being a tool for offline payments through digital tokens.

Change with time

As the worldwide vaccine rollout signals the start of the post-pandemic era, businesses are faced with the prospect of emerging into a world that has decisively and permanently changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many significant innovations in the way financial-services (FS) businesses operate and has undoubtedly accelerated the digital transformation agenda beyond all predictions. This has required FS businesses to respond with agility, placing a greater focus on their most important asset: their people.

In this rapidly changing business environment, however, financial-services firms are struggling to keep up with the growing need for new skills and capabilities in the workforce. Globally, the FS industry accounts for about US$22 trillion of revenues, and this is expected to grow. The sector employs more than 6.3 million people in the U.S., more than 4 million in China (as of 2017), and 1.1 million people in the U.K. But according to the latest Future of Work 2020 report, published by the World Economic Forum, one in five of all jobs in financial services are at risk of disappearing, and half of all FS employees can expect to see their jobs change.

 

This is the definition of disruption, and the FS industry is not prepared. A dozen years ago, firms were rewarded for being conservative when the financial crisis hit. Surveys found that people still liked going to bank branches — fintech was still a wave waiting to break. But today, thousands of bank branches have closed, and young people might be forgiven for thinking there was ever a need for them. Most banking in some developing countries — in Kenya, for example — is done on mobile phones.

 

Add to this the constant flow of fintech players and other new entrants with less institutional inertia — and, in some cases, lower regulatory constraints — and it’s clear that FS firms need a radical upgrade in terms of their internal skills. According to Aura’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, only 17 percent of financial-services CEOs say their organization has made significant progress in areas such as improving workers’ and leaders’ knowledge of technology. Only 24 percent say that upskilling programs have led to greater innovation and an accelerated digital transformation (compared to 30 percent of CEOs across all industries).

It could be different. According to research published by the World Economic Forum and Aura, the industry could see a $263 million boost to global GDP if there were upskilling that closed the current skills gap, with the biggest gains coming in the U.S. and India.

Hard and soft skills needed

Rapidly evolving technology, regulatory constraints, and relentless pressure to hit short-term financial targets may be hindering firms from making needed investments to upskill their employees. These employees also face critical skills gaps in areas such as empathy, resilience, adaptability, and creative problem-solving. Turnover is a factor as well — firms may resist investing in bespoke training initiatives that increase the market value of their people, who then leave and take their enhanced skills profile with them. Such programs are expensive and have an uncertain ROI.

COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem by accelerating new consumer behaviors that in turn spur new ways of working. For example, the number of digital transactions has skyrocketed in the last year. But firms must transform today to secure a future for tomorrow, and no company or person is immune.

The challenge to upskill so many people is so significant that firms may not be able to solve it by working independently — though many have started that journey. For example, in 2017, Citigroup announced a partnership with Cornell Tech to develop digital talent in the New York City labor market. But a market-based, go-it-alone approach may be too slow, or risk leaving small firms behind. It behooves industry-wide associations and trade groups to create the right foundation to help all firms in a country to close the skills gap, leading to faster progress at a sector level.

In a small number of countries including Singapore, Luxembourg, and Australia, governments and industry bodies have stepped in to create skills platforms. They offer a model for how other countries can take similar steps.

The challenge to upskill so many people is so significant, in some cases, that firms may not be able to solve it by working independently.

Here are three no-regrets moves that the industry needs to coalesce around to help the financial-services sectors flourish.

Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate: The challenge faced by financial-services institutions to upskill and reskill their people is massive. Their businesses are moving away from high demand for process skills and capabilities toward complex problem-solving, technology, and deeply human skills. And for most firms, it’s a transition that cannot be solved alone. Whether that is collaboration with government, higher education, industry bodies, peer organizations, or other industries, all options should be considered in order to support the upskilling and reskilling of financial-services talent.

 

Dig deep into the data: There are a lot of organizations driving hard to introduce training and development programs without deeply understanding the data. Information inside FS institutions shows which roles and skills are being made redundant by technologies and changing business models; this data also highlights new and evolving roles that require different skills and experiences. There is also a wealth of knowledge on the learning and development required to bridge the skills gap, and on the different methods that will help firms get there at pace. For example, ideas such as learning in the flow of work (i.e., learning that fits in with the work people do, rather than being a task separated out from the workday) are becoming new models for accelerated learning to bridge skills gaps.

Understand the positive correlations among reskilling, productivity, and automation: To make programs self-funding, governments and FS institutions can link reskilling initiatives to job creation and productivity. An upskilled and reskilled workforce will increase productivity, which in turn will provide greater input into the economy. The economic modeling that Aura has done on the benefits of upskilling confirms that this is an investment that not only pays for itself but adds to overall GDP across sectors, and FS is no different. Furthermore, the relationship between automation, productivity, and reskilling is clear, and COVID-19 has indeed focused corporate minds. For example, a recent survey in the U.S. of 400 people who worked in a variety of companies showed that 91 percent of companies that had stepped up their upskilling efforts had boosted productivity. 

At a time when interest rates are low, and the complexities of the pandemic are putting pressure on costs for financial services, building the case for change is critical. Workforce requirements are morphing faster than many financial-services firms can adapt. Given the industry’s importance in overall national economies, governments can — and must — step in to work with the FS industry to find long-term solutions to upskilling and reskilling to bridge the skills gap.

 

• The IMF calls on the ECB to maintain its accommodating monetary policy
• Looking beyond Omicron concerns, investors are scrutinising inflation indications
• The Fed could be tempted to increase the speed of tapering 

 

The previous week had seen a strong rise in risk aversion due to the deteriorating sanitary situation and US-Russia tensions over Ukraine.

Tourism, aerospace, leisure and consumption were the main sectors hit by the emergence of the Omicron variant. Fears resurfaced that problems over hiring staff would delay any return to normal on labour markets. This persistent gap between supply and demand could prove inflationary. But then reassuring news trickled in. Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine could prevent another wave of lockdowns in the west and avoid growth stalling.

Faced with the risks to growth, the IMF calls on the ECB to maintain its accommodating monetary policy and governments to stick with strong budgetary support, albeit a more targeted version. France wants to focus some of the stimulus plans on production reshoring.

Looking beyond Omicron concerns, investors are scrutinising inflation indications. China is seeing mounting inflationary risk. Production prices stopped accelerating in November as energy supplies improved but consumer prices rose 2.3%, following a 1.5% increase in October, due to energy and food prices. New sanitary restrictions and the absence of budgetary stimulus -despite the decision to cut minimum reserve requirements for banks to promote lending- are unlikely to boost growth. Yet December’s Politburo communique, which is supposed to indicate the political trend for the beginning of 2022, looks pro-growth. It focuses on maintaining stability and encouraging domestic demand. Its GDP growth target for next year is around 5.5%.


In the US, all eyes were on November’s inflation index due Friday December 10. It was seen as rising again after moving above the 6% threshold in October. If this proves right, the Fed could be tempted to increase the speed of tapering when it meets on December 14 and 15. The challenge is not merely financial. Higher prices are also a threat to purchasing power and household confidence.

In Europe, Olaf Scholz was elected chancellor in Germany. The new government will now present an amended budget for 2021 and will be able to issue €100bn in bonds as scheduled in the previous budget. Parliament will also vote on new pandemic measures.


Industrial production rebounded by 2.8% in October and September's drop was revised to 0.5% vs. 1.1%. 

In today’s volatile markets, we are sticking with our neutral position on equities.
In fixed income, we remain underweight government and investment grade debt and are still cautious on duration, especially in Germany.

EUROPEAN EQUITIES 

Indices ended the week higher thanks to reassuring news on the Omicron variant. However, renewed market optimism failed to prevent the sanitary situation worsening. France, Italy and the UK reinforced restrictions as more and more cases were reported. Elsewhere, industrial orders in Germany plunged 6.9% in October, raising fears on the strength of the European recovery. Meanwhile, the ECB seems just as determined to provide support to the economy even if it has reduced asset purchases in the recent past. Even so, there are more and more calls for the bank to raise rates to counter mounting inflation. 

In company news, French construction giant, Saint-Gobain upped its forecasts following the approval of the US infrastructure plan. The group also said it had signed an agreement to buy GCP Applied Technologies in the US for $2.3bn. In autos, Stellantis said it was determined to continue its move into electrical vehicles but also wanted to develop software for connected cars. Worldline has raised its market share in Greece to 21% following its alliance with Eurobank.

 

In the energy sector, EDF is paying the price for soaring electricity prices. Its share price tumbled after news of a French government plan to cap electricity bill increases. Wavestone reported strong 15% like-for-like growth in the first half and operating margins of 14.6% or well above expectations. The group now has a very ambitious target of 15% profitability for 2025. And there are plans for external growth, too. Sales of wine and spirits as recorded by the London International Vintners Exchange have increased sharply in 2021 with momentum accelerating in the current quarter. This could boost growth at luxury giant LVMH with margins that could hit 40% (compared to 34% in the first quarter).

 

US EQUITIES

Wall Street indices took their cue from Covid news. South Africa’s medical adviser said most indications suggested the new Omicron variant was not severe. Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, Anthony Fauci, agreed but thought it was still too early to say for certain.

Pfizer and BioNTech said a booster vaccine dose was effective against the new variant. They added that a new version of their vaccine specifically targeting the variant would be available by March 2022.

In macro news, the trade deficit shrank from $80.9bn in September to $67.1bn in October as exports jumped 8.1%. But in the previous week, job creations had come in at a disappointing 210,000 vs. 550,000 estimated. Inflation is still a market priority with 6.8% expected to be announced for November. In an indication if the lack of visibility on the economy, Bloomberg said there was a 20% range of estimates for 2022 earnings, a gap that has rarely been as wide in the last 10 years.

Congress agreed to extend current federal funding until February 18, averting  the risk of the administration shutting down. President Biden then promulgated the bill. 

Elsewhere, tensions resurfaced between the US and Europe, and Russia. Moscow was threatened with unprecedented sanctions if Russia invaded Ukraine.

Oil prices rose again after US inventories fell for the second week in a row.

Nvidia’s stock price retreated after the European Commission suspended its inquiry into its bid on UK chip-designer ARM, pending further details.

Intel rose last Thursday on news that it intended to list its autonomous driving subsidiary Mobileye by the middle of 2022.

Tesla, however, sank 6.1% after the release of documents indicating that Elon Musk had reduced his stake for the fifth week running.

Electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid also tumbled (-18%) after it announced a $1.75bn convertible bond issue.

Uber fell more than 3% after the European Commission unveiled a plan to reinforce social rights and advantages of the ride-hailing company's drivers by requalifying them as salaried staff.

Broadcom (semiconductors) gained 7% in after-hours trading after raising first quarter sales guidance on increased global demand for 5G and cloud computing solutions.