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Netflix had its lowest year of subscriber growth since 2015

Despite producing global hits like “Squid Game” in 2021, Netflix’s fourth quarter returns show the streaming giant struggling to maintain a lead over its competitors. The company fell short of its projections for new subscribers this quarter, adding…

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Despite producing global hits like “Squid Game” in 2021, Netflix’s fourth quarter returns show the streaming giant struggling to maintain a lead over its competitors. The company fell short of its projections for new subscribers this quarter, adding 8.3 million as opposed to its projected 8.5 million — it also projects to add just 2.5 million subscribers in Q1 2022, down from 4 million last year (the company says this is because it has “a more back-end weighted content slate” for the quarter). Overall, this year marks a downward trend in subscriber growth — its the company’s lowest growth year since 2015 and about a 50% decrease from its pandemic-inflated 2020 numbers.

Image Credits: Netflix

“Consumers have always had many choices when it comes to their entertainment time — competition that has only intensified over the last 24 months as entertainment companies all around the world develop their own streaming offering,” the company wrote in its letter to shareholders, admitting that “competition may be affecting [its] marginal growth some.”

While Netflix has about 222 million total subscribers, larger conglomerates like Disney (which also owns Hulu and ESPN) have continued to expand at a more aggressive pace. Disney ended 2021 with 179 million total subscribers across Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+, and it plans to double the number of countries that Disney+ is available in by fiscal 2023. Disney also announced the creation of an International Content and Operations group to expand its direct-to-consumer streaming internationally. HBO Max is growing too — the company said that December had been its most-viewed month since the service’s launch in May 2020.

Netflix announced last week that it plans to raise subscription prices in the US and Canada, while in India, the platform lowered its prices to try to attract more consumers after six rocky years in the massive entertainment market. Netflix is also experimenting with another new revenue stream: gaming. The company recently acquired the gaming studio Night School and has developed games based on its own IP, like the hit show “Stranger Things.” If this week’s biggest tech stories tell us anything, it’s that gaming can be very lucrative. As expected, Netflix says it will expand its portfolio of games in 2022.

Another new avenue for Netflix to grow its subscriber base lies in content marketing — the company launched a website called Tudum last month, hiring entertainment journalists and editors from publications like Allure, Vanity Fair and Bitch Media to share exclusive content about Netflix originals.

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Economics

EUR/GBP price prediction: is the bears’ pain over?

Ever since Brexit happened, the British pound gained against the common currency, the euro. Despite many analysts calling for the pound’s decline, it…

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Ever since Brexit happened, the British pound gained against the common currency, the euro. Despite many analysts calling for the pound’s decline, it gained ground in a relentless bearish trend.

The downtrend was so strong that even in 2022, some analysts believe that the EUR/GBP exchange rate will still hover around 0.84 in March 2023 – about 10 months from now.

Currently, EUR/GBP trades at 0.85, bouncing from its lows and looking constructive from fundamental and technical perspectives. So, where will the exchange rate go next?

Here is a price prediction considering both the technical and fundamental aspects.

The two central banks’ policies are set to diverge

Let’s start with the fundamental perspective. A currency pair moves based on the monetary policy differences between the two central banks.

In this case, the Bank of England was one of the first major central banks in the world that decided to increase the interest rate in the aftermath of the COVID-19 induced recession. Moreover, it did so not once but multiple times.

At the same time, the European Central Bank did nothing. It couldn’t do so, as a war started in Eastern Europe (Russia invaded Ukraine) in February.

In order to shelter European economies from the war’s economic impact, the European Central Bank preferred a wait-and-see stance. However, inflation is running way higher than the central bank’s target, and one of the causes is just the war.

As such, the central bank recently announced that it plans to end negative rates by September. Considering that the deposit facility rate is at negative 50bp, it means that a couple of rate hikes are on the table during the summer.

Yet, the Bank of England is now in a wait-and-see mode. Therefore, the fundamentals favor a move higher in the EUR/GBP exchange rate over the summer.

An inverse head and shoulders shows EUR/GBP struggling to overcome resistance

From a technical perspective, the market may have bottomed with the move to 0.82. It was quickly retraced, suggesting the presence of an inverse head and shoulders pattern.

A close above 0.86 should put the 0.90 area in focus. That is where the pattern’s measured move points to, and the move also implies that the lower highs series would be broken, thus ending the bearish bias.

All in all, EUR/GBP looks bullish here. Both technical and fundamental aspects favor more strength in the months ahead.

The post EUR/GBP price prediction: is the bears’ pain over? appeared first on Invezz.

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International

The UK’S Rich Are Getting Richer

The UK’S Rich Are Getting Richer

The UK’s richest people were announced in The Sunday Times’ annual roundup this week, including the…

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The UK'S Rich Are Getting Richer

The UK’s richest people were announced in The Sunday Times’ annual roundup this week, including the founder of Dyson vacuum cleaners, as well as JK Rowling and Elisabeth Murdoch. As Statista's Anna Fleck notes, the list comes at a time when the majority of Brits are feeling the burden of the cost of living crisis.

You will find more infographics at Statista

At the top of the list came billionaire brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja, who own the Mumbai-based conglomerate Hinduja Group. They were reported to own £28.47 billion together. Other key names to make it onto the list, albeit further down, included Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty, ranking at 222nd place out of 250 with a joint £730m of wealth. Sunak is reportedly the richest serving MP in history.

Chelsea manager Roman Abramovich dropped 20 places on the newspaper’s list this year, after his wealth was believed to have been cut from £12 billion down to £6 billion. He was one of the Russian figures to have been hit with sanctions in light of the Russian war in Ukraine. Alisher Usmanov also saw a fall, from sixth to eleventh place, with an estimated wealth of £10bn this year.

In terms of demographics, only seven of the people on the list were women, while 116 of the richest were men, and a further 78 were listed under the grouping “man with family.”

Income from property was the most common primary source of wealth, with 43 percent of people on the list benefiting from it.

Additionally, as Statista's Fleck details below, the UK’s top ten richest people are wealthier than the group has ever been, with their cumulative wealth having grown from £47.77 billion in 2009 to £182 billion in 2022 - an increase of 281 percent.

Infographic: The UK'S Rich Are Getting Richer | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

As this chart shows, following the 2008 crash, the UK’s billionaires have seen a steady, and fairly steep, incline in their wealth.

The upward trend continued despite the pandemic, which saw the UK’s economy shrink by 20.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020, as most industries suffered, and 30.5 million people in Europe were expected to be pushed into poverty. This is a stark contrast to the UK’s 250 ultra wealthy, who saw their collective wealth surge to a record high of £653 billion in 2022.

George Dibbs, the head of the Center for Economic Justice at the Institute for Public Policy Research, explains how we are seeing a widening wealth gap, as the rich are getting richer:

“As we enter a once-in-a-generation cost of living crisis, the Sunday Times rich list shows us again that vast wealth often begets more wealth. That has proved particularly true during the pandemic, when the wealthiest accumulated more wealth than poorer people, who saved nothing,” he tells The Guardian.

“Now there are more billionaires in the UK than ever before and the collective wealth of the richest has grown again.”

According to the article, Dibbs is now calling on Sunak to bring in taxes in order to “redistribute the wealth gains of the richest to pay for higher social security benefits for those who most need them.”

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/26/2022 - 04:15

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Economics

Weekly investment update – Weaker economic outlook weighs on markets

Global equities have continued their sell-off over the last week. What is new is that markets are now reacting to risks of weaker economic data weighing…

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Global equities have continued their sell-off over the last week. What is new is that markets are now reacting to risks of weaker economic data weighing on earnings. Real bond yields, whose rise triggered the recent drop in equity markets, have fallen as investors price a higher probability of a recession.   

Yields of US Treasury bonds have slipped since reaching around 3.12% in early May (see Exhibit 1). The rally has been driven by fears of a global recession due to poor economic data, strong inflation numbers, aggressive talk from central bankers and concerns over the consequences of Covid in China.

Recent data that contributed to the bond market’s unease about the prospects for the US economy includes: 

  • The Richmond Federal Reserve Manufacturing survey, which fell to its lowest since 2020 at -9.
  • The monthly survey of manufacturers in New York State conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York fell to -11.6, with the shipment measure falling at its fastest pace since the start of the pandemic two years ago.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s May business index dropped 15 points to 2.6, with the six-month outlook falling to its lowest since December 2008 (though the underlying details were better than the headline number).
  • Existing and new home sales dropped for a third month, to its lowest since 2020, held back by lean inventory, rising prices and higher mortgage rates. 

Taken together, the various regional Federal Reserve surveys suggest that the ISM Report for Business may come in at around 53, above 50 so still clearly in expansion territory for the US economy, but down noticeably from the upper 50s/lows 60s readings to which markets have become accustomed.

US equities still weak

US equities have remained weak as the down move continues for its seventh week.

It has been apparent that, in contrast to the start of the year when rising real bond yields were undermining equity markets, it is now fears of falling earnings due to a weaker economy that are weighing on stocks.

The last week has seen, in accordance with the risk-off regime, more buying-the-dip and selling-the-rally. There has also been a rotation out of growth and cyclicals into value and defensives (healthcare, real estate, utilities and staples).

European markets under the cosh

Bearish sentiment is prevalent in Europe, too, with investors cutting exposures to European equities.

There was another outflow in the week to 18 May, taking the total to 14 weeks of outflows in a row. Cyclicals, in particular, saw strong outflows, led by the materials, financials and energy sectors.

Our multi-asset team are inclined to reduce exposure to equity markets given the deterioration in the outlook.

European economy resists

Economic activity indicators have fallen so far in May, but remain above 50. Activity edged up in the manufacturing sector despite the fallout from the Ukraine war and supply chain disruptions that have intensified with China’s coronavirus lockdowns.

Although factories continue to report widespread supply constraints and diminished demand for goods amid elevated price pressures, the eurozone economy is being boosted by pent-up demand for services as pandemic-related restrictions are wound down.

While purchasing manager indices are still pointing to growth, it may be that these surveys understate the shock to activity, while sentiment surveys likely overstate the shock. Markets are increasingly tilting towards anticipation of a contraction in the coming quarters.

Higher food prices

Restrictions on the export of Ukrainian cereals continue and risks increasing food insecurity as the UN World Food Programme has highlighted.

As much of Russian and Ukrainian wheat goes to poorer nations, hunger could be a critical risk, driving up political instability.

The risk of further rises in food prices will be a key driver of inflation, particularly in emerging markets, the worst-case scenario being that the situation worsens significantly.

Moreover, lower fertiliser supply will have a greater impact on the next few months’ harvests, while the pass-through of costlier logistics and input prices is likely to drive food prices even higher.

Coming up…

Minutes of the meeting of the US Federal Open Markets Committee on 3-4 May will be published later on Wednesday.

However, market conditions have soured appreciably since the Fed’s first 50bp rate rise, so some of the language in the minutes pertaining to financial risks and market conditions will be outdated.

Instead, the three major focus points for market participants will likely be: 

  • Policymakers’ views on the conditions which could lead to a shift down, back to a pace of raising rates by 25bp at each FOMC meeting;
  • Any hints as to how far and for how long policymakers intend to push policy rates into restrictive territory;
  • Guidance shaping expectations for the next Summary of Economic Projections — aka the dot plot — due to be released at the June meeting. 

Forthcoming economic data  

US personal income and spending data for April should give investors an insight into the US consumer’s behaviour: Are they tightening the purse strings? The report may also show the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge (core PCE deflator) starting to decelerate.

Perhaps equally important, the report should shed light on how consumers are responding to the current high inflation environment, indicating how wages are performing relative to inflation and how aggressively consumers are tapping into the USD 2.5 trillion of accumulated savings from the pandemic period.

Disclaimer

Any views expressed here are those of the author as of the date of publication, are based on available information, and are subject to change without notice. Individual portfolio management teams may hold different views and may take different investment decisions for different clients. The views expressed in this podcast do not in any way constitute investment advice.

The value of investments and the income they generate may go down as well as up and it is possible that investors will not recover their initial outlay. Past performance is no guarantee for future returns.

Investing in emerging markets, or specialised or restricted sectors is likely to be subject to a higher-than-average volatility due to a high degree of concentration, greater uncertainty because less information is available, there is less liquidity or due to greater sensitivity to changes in market conditions (social, political and economic conditions).

Some emerging markets offer less security than the majority of international developed markets. For this reason, services for portfolio transactions, liquidation and conservation on behalf of funds invested in emerging markets may carry greater risk.

Writen by Andrew Craig. The post Weekly investment update – Weaker economic outlook weighs on markets appeared first on Investors' Corner - The official blog of BNP Paribas Asset Management, the sustainable investor for a changing world.

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