Written by Millan Chauhan.

Last night saw the conclusion of the French Presidential election, with Emmanuel Macron delivering a convincing victory over his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen. Macron has become the first French leader to win a second term in 20 years, taking 58.5% of the vote. Macron stated, “our country is beset by doubts and divisions”, which is well supported by the highest abstention rate in 50 years @28% and the immediate rise of the far-right nationalist party. Macron faces several tests going forward, including reconciling the indifference of opinion in France and trying to work towards a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine.

Elsewhere, we are in the middle of US earnings season where companies report on their results from Q1 of 2022. With US inflation currently at 8.5% and supply chains remaining tight, we will begin to see the impact of rising prices and slowing consumer demand on bottom-line financial results and forecasts. One stock that was a direct beneficiary of the global pandemic was Netflix, as the world was forced to stay indoors. Netflix grew its subscriber base by 18.2m in 2021 and is the world’s leading entertainment service with approximately 222 million paid memberships. However, slowing growth, price rises, and fierce competition from rivals such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video saw the share price of Netflix fall 35% cent on Wednesday, erasing all its gains during the pandemic. Netflix reported they had lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 with the market becoming more saturated, particularly in the US and Canada. Netflix is set to clamp down on the ability to share passwords which was a component of the slowing demand for its service.

The S&P 500 returned -1.2% last week in GBP terms, a week that also featured the largest one-day loss since March on Friday as investors anticipated the raising of interest rates by central banks. The Federal Reserve’s Chair, Jay Powell, stated that the Fed could raise rates more aggressively and begin raising rates in increments of 0.50% compared to its previous stance of increasing by 0.25%.

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