10 things before the opening bell
It's Friday — and European oil
Let's get started.
1. The European Union is still the biggest buyer of Russian oil. In the two months since the Ukraine war began, the EU bought $46 billion worth of oil from the warring nation — out of the $66 billion Russia made from fuel exports, a study found.
Russia so far has benefited from soaring prices of oil, gas, and coal despite wartime sanctions — but that could change soon.
German officials announced the country is ready to stop buying Russian oil, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Officials said Germany has secured a new deal with Poland that will allow it to import oil from other global suppliers.
The move paves the way for the EU to impose a full Russian oil embargo. With Russia's largest diesel exporter already set for a 30% decline in shipments next month, this could further dent the country's economy.
But even so, multiple top European energy companies, the Financial Times said, are set to pay for Russian gas using rubles to meet Putin's demands. And on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that four European natural gas buyers had already paid Russia in rubles for supplies.
In other news:
2. Nasdaq futures have taken a knock from disappointing earnings from Amazon and Apple. Shares in both are down heavily, although not all tech has been affected the same way. Hong Kong tech shares have just posted their biggest rally in over a month. See what else is happening.
3. Earnings on deck: Cowen Inc, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Honeywell International, all reporting.
4. Macquarie's growth-investment chief broke down which companies could permanently disrupt consumer living and become the next Apple or Amazon. The firm's CIO is eyeing certain disruptive themes that could provide long-term investor value — see his 13 stock picks.
5. Elon Musk sold $4 billion of Tesla shares over 2 days but says he's now done. The shares have lost around a quarter of their value since he unveiled his Twitter buyout offer. Read more about it here.
6. China's yuan will sink to a two-year low in the months ahead as investors flock to the dollar, according to Bank of America. The slowing economy in China, rising commodity prices, and the Fed's plan to rapidly hike rates will all weigh on the yuan — which has tumbled roughly 3.8% over the last two weeks.
7. The Kremlin ordered a Russian-occupied city in Ukraine to start using rubles, state media said. Moscow will force the city of Kherson to use Russia's currency for payments beginning May 1, though Ukraine's currency will continue to circulate for four months. Here's what to know.
8. The chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab said signs of a possible recession are mounting. To Liz Ann Sonders, investors should lock in their gains while they can and aim to stay balanced instead of betting on sectors or market trends. Here's how she thinks investors should approach the current landscape.
9. The 27-year-old cofounder of an NFT marketplace acquired by Gemini explained why high-net-worth individuals are investing in digital art as a diversification tool. "NFTs aren't like the stock market where you're competing against some insane quant fund," Duncan Foster said. He also shared where he sees risks in the nascent market.
10. The US economy unexpectedly shrank in the first quarter for the first time since the pandemic crash. US gross domestic product shrank at an annualized rate of 1.4% in the first quarter of 2022, while economists had expected 1.1% growth. Here's what's behind the numbers.
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