Mixed markets as US clamps down on Big Tech | Calamatta Cuschieri

Markets end mixed, Google falls on investigation threats and Shell promises investors big returns

U.S. stocks started the week mostly lower on Monday, with the Nasdaq under pressure as the US government stepped up scrutiny of technology giants for possible violations of antitrust law. The Dow Jones Industrial Average made a comeback to erase earlier losses as it edged up 4.74 points to 24,819.78 whilst the S&P 500 index slipped 7.61 points, or 0.3%, to 2,744.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 120.13 points, or 1.6%, to end in correction territory at 7,333.02.

European markets meanwhile rose with 1.4 percent gains in the healthcare sector off-setting the latest rout in tech stocks. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4 percent with Germany’s DAX gaining 0.6 percent on the back of gains from Merck KGaA which jumped 2.1 percent following positive clinical trial results.

Maltese markets also ticked lower, with the MSE Equity Total Return Index closing down 0.22 percent at 9,766.159 points with RS2 Software Plc weighing on the index as its shares closed 2.86 percent lower at €1.36. The bank sector meanwhile moved against the trend with Bank of Valletta Plc closing up 0.75 percent at €1.34 after reaching a high of €1.35.

Google drops on US Justice Department investigation

Shares of Google parent company, Alphabet Inc, fell as much as 7 percent on Monday following reports that the U.S. Justice Department may investigate Google on whether its practices harm competition in the digital market. Alphabet’s market capitalization was reduced by $54 billion as its shares recorded their biggest drop outside earnings since April 2011. Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc were both down about 3 percent on fears that they could both face heightened antitrust scrutiny.

The potential investigation represents the latest attack on a tech company by the Trump administration, which has accused social media companies and Google of suppressing conservative voices on their platforms online. Google’s search, YouTube, reviews, maps and other businesses, which are largely free to consumers but financed through advertising, have catapulted it from a start-up to one of the world’s richest companies in just two decades.

Shell promises bigger returns

Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to shower its investors in money, pledging returns of $125 billion between 2021 and 2025 -- twice as much as a decade earlier. The Anglo-Dutch company has already sought to stand out from some of its peers, who are boosting spending to get more barrels of oil and gas.

The oil and gas major says it can pull off this feat with crude at $60 a barrel and only a small increase in capital spending, an aggressive move to keep shareholders on its side while it weathers a disruptive transition to lower-carbon energy.

This article was issued by Peter Petrov, junior trader at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt. The information, view and opinions provided in this article are being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.