ETF Express: Week Ending 21 July 2023
- Healthcare ETFs (DRUG, HLTH, IXJ) were the theme across the top performers’ list last week as industry bellwethers Johnson & Johnson and Novartis both reported positive earnings results, beating analyst estimates.
- Carbon allowance ETFs (GCO2, XCO2) also outperformed due to record heatwaves crashing across Europe. With temperatures hitting as high as 48c in parts of southern Europe, energy demand has soared as residents sought cooling.1,2
- Crypto ETFs (CRYP, EBTC, EETH) were the poorest performers of the week, trading down as investors took time to digest the myriad of filings approaching fruition across the next few weeks. Since the sharp rally inspired by BlackRock’s surprise spot Bitcoin ETF filing in the US, the crypto market has mostly been met with positive news such as a federal court ruling that crypto token XRP was not to be considered a security when offered to the general public – potentially exonerating Binance and Coinbase, companies which have been under duress from the SEC as unregistered securities exchanges.3
- There were $294 million in reported inflows, and $263 million in outflows last week as the Australian ETF industry sees yet another week of net inflows.
Download our weekly ETF monitor here.
Microsoft Wins US Trial to Acquire Activision Blizzard
Technology and Video Gaming
After a one-and-a-half-year ordeal, a US judge has given Microsoft the greenlight for its US$69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.4 The landmark decision could lead to the biggest transaction in video gaming industry history.5
Since Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard – the largest gaming company in the world by market cap – in January 2022, the proposal has met incessant opposition from both UK and US commissions. Both governments were concerned that the possible deal was anti-competitive given the existing dominant position of Microsoft in the gaming industry, and the library of best-selling titles, such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, published by Activision Blizzard.
During negotiations, Microsoft offered anywhere from three to 10 years of platform non-exclusivity, meaning the acquired Activision Blizzard titles would be shared on rival consoles such as Sony’s Playstation and Nintendo’s Switch. However, Sony’s Playstation Chief, Jim Ryan, said the proposal is “simply inadequate on many levels”.6
One major concern raised by rival console providers includes the now implicit difficulty of providing advanced hardware specifications to Activision Blizzard ahead of game launches (to ensure smooth performance), given the conflict of interest in ownership.7
Nonetheless, with the US Federal Trade Commission onside and a court appeal unlikely to succeed, Microsoft now only needs to satisfy the UK Competition and Markets Authority to finalise the deal.8
- The UK is looking to boost energy security with small modular reactors (SMR) by hosting Great British Nuclear, an international competition for innovation in SMR technology and creating new types of nuclear bodies.9
- The French government announced plans to boost investments in the nuclear industry, including the creation of a new research reactor by 2034, according to Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher.10
- A record-breaking heatwave in Europe is highlighting the limits of current nuclear technology as two French nuclear plants limit power generation due to safety concerns.11
- Global oil demand surged by 3 million barrels per day while crude oil production fell, as reported by JODI (Joint Organisations Data Initiative).12 The majority of this demand spike came from China, followed by India, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.
- US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) has reached a multi-decade low of 346.8 million barrels, the lowest level observed since 1983.13
- Kuwait has set targets to raise its oil production capacity from 2.7 million to 3.15 million barrels per day within the next four years.14
- Iran, exempt from OPEC+ cuts, has been steadily increasing oil output and has surpassed Kuwait to become the OPEC’s fourth largest oil producer.15
- Blink charging is now reportedly providing EV charging solutions to over 4000 automotive dealerships globally in response to soaring demand.16
- The UK government has pledged €500 million to building a €4 billion battery tech facility to support the production of a new range electric vehicles for local brands Jaguar and Land Rover.17
- A new study from the Manhattan Institute suggests that some electric vehicles may emit more greenhouse gases over their lifetime than traditional petrol vehicles.18
Forecasts are not guaranteed, and undue reliance should not be placed on them. This information is based on views held by Global X or referenced sources as at 21st July 2023.