Stocks commenced the week with caution as various events unfolded, influencing global markets. Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices experienced intraday highs not seen since November but retraced later. The US reported an incident where three service members were killed by Iranian-backed militants, prompting President Joe Biden to promise retaliation. Oil prices had already surged on Friday due to an attack by Houthi rebels on a vessel carrying Russian fuel.
Amidst these geopolitical developments in the Middle East, investors face a packed schedule of significant events. The Federal Reserve is set to announce its policy decision on Wednesday, followed by the Bank of England’s decision on Thursday, and the release of US payroll numbers on Friday. Additionally, major companies, including Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Google parent Alphabet Inc., are scheduled to report their earnings.
In corporate news on Monday, Holcim Ltd. saw gains as the world’s largest cement maker revealed plans to spin off its rapidly growing North American business. On the other hand, Royal Philips NV experienced a 6% decline following the announcement of the suspension of sales for sleep apnea devices and ventilators in the US. Bayer AG faced a significant setback as its Monsanto unit was ordered by a Pennsylvania jury to pay over $2.2 billion to a former user of the Roundup weedkiller. Ryanair Holdings Plc witnessed a drop in its stock value after revising down its profit guidance.