Weekly Market Wrap | 1 April 2023

#NASQAQ_BullRun #BABASplit #LULUResults 

Topic #1: NASDAQ surged into a new bull market after 3 years

NASDAQ price chart

The Nasdaq 100 Index surged into a new bull market on Wednesday, reaching a level not seen in nearly three years. After erasing a third of its value in 2022, it saw gains of over 20% from its December 28 close. In contrast, the S&P 500 Index has risen by 4.9% this year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined by 1.3%.

Why did it happen?

Investors have been speculating that weaker economic data and the risk of a recession, exacerbated by recent bank stresses could prompt the Federal Reserve to halt interest rate hikes sooner than expected. As a result, technology stocks have outperformed the market this year, with investors using the sector as a safe-haven amidst declines in financials. 

What happened next?

Central banks worldwide have moved to reassure investors that the financial situation is much better than during the 2008 financial crisis, with improved liquidity ratios. They have also acted to calm the markets which were facing high levels of volatility by providing dollar liquidity to stabilize the situation. However, investor attention has shifted to the blow that some Credit Suisse bondholders will face, leading regulators to try to prevent a market rout for convertible bank bonds. Some of these bonds have dropped to zero value (AT1 Bonds), while equity shareholders are still going to be paid.

Topic #2: ALIBABA split-up

Alibaba’s price chart for the week (Source: Google Finance)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding has announced a plan to split its $220bn empire into six units, each of which will raise funds and explore initial public offerings (IPOs). This announcement led to a more than 14% surge in share price on 28 March.

Alibaba said the biggest restructuring in its 24-year history would see it split into six units. This move marks the biggest overhaul in the company’s history and addresses both the Chinese government’s distrust of Big Tech and investors’ worries over regulatory crackdowns.

Alibaba’s restructuring is a significant change from its usual strategy of keeping most of its operations under one roof, which has been criticised for enabling monopolistic behavior. By giving more autonomy to its main divisions, including e-commerce, media, and cloud services, Alibaba is creating a basis for future spin-offs and market debuts. This move is aimed at increasing agility, reducing the time needed to make decisions, and enabling quicker responses to market changes.

The split-up could also serve as a template for Alibaba’s peers, such as Tencent Holdings, which may explore similar actions in a loosened regulatory regime. Corporate divisions can often create shareholder value by directing focus towards profitable business segments separated from the parent company or by removing unprofitable divisions from the main operation.

Topic #3: Lululemon results beats estimates

Lululemon Athletica reported strong fourth-quarter earnings, with revenue increasing to $2.77bn, beating analysts’ expectations of $2.7bn. Adjusted earnings per share were $4.40, up from $3.36 per share a year earlier, and ahead of the expected $4.26 per share.

The results indicate that the demand for athleisure and yoga apparel has not waned despite the inflationary pressures and signs of recession. The company’s ability to raise prices without deterring consumers and maintaining its profitability is an encouraging sign for the retail sector.

The increase in Lululemon’s total comparable sales by 27% highlights the company’s strong growth potential and customer loyalty. Its continued expansion of its men’s line and international business is expected to contribute further to the company’s revenue growth in the future.

Lululemon Inventory levels (Source: Statista)

The rise in inventories, although initially concerning, is also a positive sign that the company is recovering from its inventory issues. CEO Calvin McDonald’s statement that the rise in inventory fueled business last quarter, along with his assurance that the company does not have an “inventory issue” could instill investor confidence in Lululemon’s ability to manage its inventory effectively going forward.

Overall, Lululemon’s results and outlook suggest that the company is on a growth trajectory, and the continued demand for athleisure apparel could propel the company’s growth further.

IndexLevel1 Week1 MonthFrom Jan 1 2023
S&P 500 (US Stocks)4,109+3.17%+4.00%+7.46%
Nasdaq 100 (US Tech Stocks)13,181+3.00%+10.41%+21.35%
CSI-300 (Chinese Stocks)4,050+0.69%-1.84%+4.19%
Bitcoin (in USD)28,588+5.33%+20.97%+72.16%

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