Stocks Suffer Sharpest Weekly Decline during 2024

All three major indexes fell more than 1%, and registered losses on the week - Reuters
All three major indexes fell more than 1%, and registered losses on the week - Reuters
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Stocks Suffer Sharpest Weekly Decline during 2024

All three major indexes fell more than 1%, and registered losses on the week - Reuters
All three major indexes fell more than 1%, and registered losses on the week - Reuters

Stocks slumped to a second consecutive weekly loss on Friday, as intensifying tension in the Middle East prompted caution among investors.

All three major indexes fell more than 1%, and registered losses on the week.

The S&P 500 index (.SPX), opens new tab notched its biggest weekly percentage loss since January, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (.DJI), opens new tab weekly loss was its steepest since March 2023.

"When we look at what's happened in the macro space, inflation has taken a turn for the worse and that has put more pressure on companies to deliver this earnings season," said Mike Dickson, head of research at Horizon Investments in Charlotte, North Carolina, Reuters reported.

"Everyone's a bit jittery with intense focus on how good earnings need to be."

Results from a trio of big banks marked the unofficial launch of first-quarter earnings season.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), opens new tab, the biggest US bank by assets, posted a 6% profit increase but its net interest income forecast fell short of expectations. Its shares slid 6.5%.

Wells Fargo & Co's (WFC.N), opens new tab stock inched lower after profits fell 7% as net interest income dropped on weak borrowing demand.

Citigroup (C.N), opens new tab posted a loss after spending on employee severance and deposit insurance. Its stock dipped 1.7%.

Economic data this week, particularly Wednesday's hotter-than-expected Consumer Price Index report, has suggested that inflation could be stickier than previously thought, prompting investors to reset expectations about the timing and extent of the US Federal Reserve's rate cuts this year.

US Steel (X.N), opens new tab slid 2.1% after shareholders voted to approve a proposed merger with Nippon Steel Corporation (5401.T), opens new tab.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 4.19-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.16-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and nine new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 35 new highs and 211 new lows.



Maritime Disruptions Cast Shadow on Global Energy Security

A container ship passing through the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Official Website)
A container ship passing through the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Official Website)
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Maritime Disruptions Cast Shadow on Global Energy Security

A container ship passing through the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Official Website)
A container ship passing through the Suez Canal (Suez Canal Official Website)

As the world focuses on the Red Sea due to rising attacks on passing ships, experts warn of growing threats to the region's shipping lanes, which could impact global energy security.

Some link the disruptions to regional geopolitical changes, while others believe they are part of a planned strategy due to the area’s natural resources.

Recently, a commercial ship off Yemen’s coast issued a distress call after a missile attack.

This incident coincided with the first international conference on energy security through maritime safety kicking off in Cairo, organized by the Saif Bin Helal Center for Studies and Research in Energy Sciences.

The conference stressed that secure waterways are essential for energy exports and development.

“The region is unstable. Geostrategic, economic, and security challenges are mounting,” warned former Arab League Secretary-General and Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa at the opening of the conference.

“Disruptions in maritime routes threaten the stability, sovereignty, and wealth of nations. These are broad challenges, not just Red Sea issues—they’re reshaping global interests,” he added.

With this warning, he highlighted the ongoing turmoil in the Suez Canal, Bab el-Mandeb, and the Black Sea.

Moussa also warned about the risks of alternative routes being studied by various countries.

“These routes will serve specific national interests, not the security of international trade,” he cautioned.

On his part, Former Egyptian Petroleum Minister Osama Kamal stressed the vital role of the region’s waterways, especially with Gulf nations being major energy players worldwide.

He pointed out that without energy, there can be no development.

As the conference continued, British security firm Ambrey reported that a merchant vessel off the Yemeni coast took on water and tilted to one side after being targeted with three missiles.

The vessel issued a distress call stating it had sustained damage to the cargo hold and was taking on water approximately 54 nautical miles southwest of Yemen’s Hodeidah, Ambrey added.