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Small Violin / Snapchat / Stock Slides

The West’s sanctions against Russia were intended to isolate the nation from the international financial system, but there has also been collateral damage: international traders who invested in Russia. Due to tit-for-tat sanctions, investors who hold shares in Russian companies have been completed cut off from their assets. This occurred because some of the original US and EU-led sanctions led to a strong response from Putin, mainly his ban on Russian-based institutions from transferring foreign currency abroad. In effect, this froze investor assets inside Russia, and there is no real way to get them out. For a short window, there was a difficult choice: divest completely from the Russian market (this was required by many countries), or keep their assets, but without assurance that they could ever access them again. At the end of April, Russia’s deputy central bank governor, Alexey Zabotkin, indicated in a news conference that Russia will slowly ease capital controls when the market stabilises. Thus, investors that chose to remain in Russia have been forced to take a “wait and see” approach to see if they will have access to their money again. All that said, there does not seem to be too much political sympathy for those investors that chose to remain tied to the Russian regime.

Snapchat Passes Twitter

Almost every aspect of social media is trendy. The platforms themselves can be in one day and out the next, never to return again (see: Tumblr). Likewise, social media investors can be as faddish as the teenagers that populate these platforms. Snapchat’s fortunes have seen the ebbs and flows of fate. It was initially dismissed as little more than an app for sending private/naughty pictures, but its popularity boomed so much that it experienced the biggest tech IPO since Facebook. But just a few months later, its weak performance led many to believe that it was just a massive flop. And now, the platform is back in favour. Here is how the app’s parent company, Snap, has righted the ship. They invested heavily in their digital advertising business and made their finances more secure (more income, less haemorrhaging money). Their focus on small group texts and private, secure messages has been appealing, and the app now boasts more than 100 million more users than Twitter. Perhaps most importantly, its userbase is growing faster than even Facebook’s, and much of this growth has to do with its popularity with young demographics. According to eMarketer, Snapchat has more US users in their teens and early 20s than TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Snap has proven that social media platforms do not simply rise and then fall, representing hope for struggling companies.

Stock Slides

Stocks on Wall Street and abroad continue their downward trajectory as new data from China raised fresh concerns about the outlook for the global economy for investors already wary of high inflation, rising interest rates, and continuing supply chain disruptions.
The S&P 500 also fell last week, adding to a five-week stretch of declines that has knocked the index down nearly 14 per cent. China’s exports slowed significantly in April, as the country’s lockdowns continued to render millions of workers completely idle. Exports of Chinese steel, a barometer of global growth, are unlikely to improve much in May, according to analysts at S&P Global, a research firm. The retreat on Wall Street followed sharp declines in global markets. The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.8 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 3.8 per cent. Stocks have been battered for the past several weeks as investors contend with higher interest rates, which the Federal Reserve began to raise from near zero in March, and further disruptions to the supply chain. The S&P 500 is coming off its fifth consecutive weekly decline, its longest streak of losses since June 2011.

The latest data on hiring in the United States set off concerns over how the Fed will move forward with tightening monetary policy. Wall Street was rocky all week, with indexes swinging between momentous gains and losses and government bond yields reaching levels above 3 per cent.