From FTSE 100 Highs to YouTube’s Female CEO Stepping Down, It's a Mixed Bag for the Markets
Recessionary fears are easing and a costly winter might just have been swerved for Europe. Here’s what’s up
- The FTSE 100 hits all time highs, but Brits aren’t out of the woods yet
- The EU is pepped up by low gas prices, potentially swerving a costly winter
- YouTube’s female CEO steps down, sparking debates around the pressures of women
- Nigeria runs out of cash, causing queues and riots across the country
The FTSE 100 hits all time highs, but Brits aren’t out of the woods yet
Last week the FTSE 100 hit all time highs of 8,000. The FTSE has been notoriously flat since the dotcom boom in the early 2000s, with an increase of only 14% since then.
The recent boom has mostly been driven by the bumper oil and gas profits announced in the last few weeks.
Centrica particularly drove the FTSE numbers to the high this week, although it might leave a bittersweet taste in some Brits mouths as they struggle to pay the gas bills that the likes of Centrica are profiting from.
Natwest bank also announced bumper profits, but their fears for the coming year dragged their share price down by 5%.
Retail sales had a similar yoyo experience, as it was announced that they were up by 0.5% for January, but this isn’t up enough to boost confidence that the UK is quite out of the recession woods yet.
The EU is pepped up by low natural gas prices, potentially swerving a costly winter
Natural gas prices hit an 18 month low on Friday, at €49 per megawatt hour, marking it as down from their €320 high.
This has boosted all European stock markets, as well as confidence levels that the region might have dodged a potentially costly winter.
The unusually warm season this year, as well as the use of almighty stockpiles of natural gas, has helped the European economy ride the wave of expensive gas prices.
Many of these pre-winter fears related to the dependence of Europe on Russian gas and the Russian’s ability to increase prices.
Given the current lows and the relative buoyancy of the stock market, some economists are going so far as to say that Europe has successfully “weaned” itself off Russian gas.
YouTube’s female CEO steps down, sparking debates around the pressures of women
The CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, has announced that she will step down after her nearly decade-long tenure in charge.
In a blog post declaring her decision, she explained that she would be focusing on family, health and personal projects.
Something of a BNOC (big name on campus) in tech, she had been Google’s 16th employee.
Whilst this is quite a big change in management for YouTube, the stock price of Alphabet, the parent company that owns YouTube, didn’t take much of a knock from the announcement, having already been deflated after last week’s chatbot blunder.
With Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish prime minister, and Jacinda Ardern, the ex-prime minister of New Zealand both recently announcing their resignations, the pressure on the shoulders of women in power is open for much debate and will undoubtedly dominate many headlines in the weeks to come.
Nigeria runs out of cash, causing queues and riots across the country
Reports of riots at ATMs and queues at banks have swept Nigeria, as the amount of available circulating Nairas plummets.
In November 2022, the Nigerian president attempted to overhaul the currency, with the key goals being fraud prevention and reducing the amount of cash in the economy held outside of the banking system.
However, there hasn’t been enough of the new Nairas printed, causing havoc across the country.
Whilst unfortunately it is those based in rural areas and in cash-based industries who are most affected on a personal level, it’s likely that economic output of the country will also be affected for the first quarter.
With Nigeria making up one of the key components of many emerging market indices, it could put a dent in what has been relatively high confidence in the sector.