The daily business briefing: April 5, 2022
China expands Shanghai's COVID lockdown, Dimon says JPMorgan could lose $1 billion on its Russia exposure, and more
China expands Shanghai lockdown
China on Tuesday extended Shanghai's coronavirus lockdown to cover the financial hub's entire population of 26 million after city-wide testing found daily new cases surging to more than 13,000. The broadening restrictions came as residents of China's largest city were already expressing anger over the lockdown. Outside experts warned the campaign's economic cost would be huge. China has brought in at least 38,000 personnel from other regions in what state media called the country's biggest medical operation since the Wuhan shutdown in early 2020. Thousands of Shanghai residents who have tested positive have been confined to "central quarantine" facilities whether they are symptomatic or not, with children sometimes separated from their parents.
Dimon says JPMorgan could lose $1 billion on Russia
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned Monday that the bank could lose $1 billion over time from its Russia exposure due to fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Dimon did not provide a timeframe, but said much of the damage could stem from the conflict's secondary damage on companies and other countries. He said the United States should step up its military presence in Europe and work on an energy security plan for the U.S. and its allies who have long relied on Russian oil and gas. "America must be ready for the possibility of an extended war in Ukraine with unpredictable outcomes. We should prepare for the worst and hope for the best," he wrote in an annual letter to shareholders.
Stock futures struggle as bond market flashes warning
U.S. stock futures edged lower early Tuesday on continuing concerns about Russia's invasion of Ukraine and troubling signals from bond markets. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were down by roughly 0.3 percent at 6:45 a.m. ET. All three of the main U.S. indexes gained on Monday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq led the way, rising 1.9 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Treasury yields rose broadly early Tuesday, with shorter-term bond yields remaining slightly higher than longer-term ones. Such yield-curve inversions historically have been seen before recessions. "Right now it is flashing a big warning signal," Kara Murphy, chief investment officer of Kestra Holdings, told The Wall Street Journal. "It is very clearly telling us the economy is slowing."
U.S. seizes billionaire Putin ally's superyacht
The U.S. government on Monday seized a 254-foot superyacht owned by billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Members of Spain's Civil Guard and U.S. federal agents took over the $120 million vessel in a marina in the port of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain's Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Vekselberg heads the Moscow-based Renova Group, a conglomerate that handles metals, mining, tech, and other assets. The Justice Department got the warrant to take the yacht from a federal judge in Washington, arguing that it should be forfeited for bank fraud, money laundering, and sanctions violations. All of the Ukrainian-born Vekselberg's assets in the U.S. have been frozen.
Fortnite raises $144 million for Ukraine relief
Epic Games announced Monday that it had raised $144 million for Ukraine relief through its wildly popular online game Fortnite. The company announced in March that it would donate all proceeds generated through the game from March 20 through April 3 to help provide relief to Ukrainians suffering due to Russia's invasion of their country. The money will go to Direct Relief, UNICEF, UN World Food Program, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and World Central Kitchen. "They are on the ground providing emergency aid, including health support, food and clean water, essential supplies, legal aid, and shelter," Epic Games said. Xbox pledged to donate all Fortnite proceeds generated via the Microsoft Store during this time to Ukraine relief, as well.