The shocking death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the controversial Russian mercenary group Wagner, has created uncertainty over the future of the shadowy conglomerate. With its chief patron and strategist gone, Wagner may struggle to maintain cohesion and funding for its global operations supporting Russian foreign policy. Prigozhin's loss deals a blow to President Putin's ambitions, as the oligarch had acted as an instrumental proxy, advancing Russian interests in conflicts globally, from Ukraine to Africa. The plane crash that killed Prigozhin seems likely to cripple, though not completely dissolve, the infamous Wagner Group, depriving the Kremlin of a valuable tool for projecting power. As Russia mourns one of its most powerful behind-the-scenes operators, the ripple effects of Prigozhin's demise will reveal how much the country relied on him to secretly extend its global reach.


Major stock indexes recovered after a pessimistic week, fuelled by tech's surge ahead of Nvidia's earnings, which investors hoped would affirm vigorous enterprise demand for AI. Nvidia then electrified tech bulls after markets closed by trouncing estimates with its Q2 beat and exceeding guidance, signalling AI chips are still hot and potentially spurring further tech gains.


Gold prices rose to 2-week highs above $1,900 an ounce as the dollar and Treasury yields pulled back ahead of a key speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell at Jackson Hole on Friday, though analysts warn Powell may signal higher interest rates, which would pressure gold prices further. The outlook for gold remains uncertain, as expectations of more U.S. rate hikes this year will likely spark further losses for the metal, which is sensitive to rising rates.


Oil prices edged lower Thursday as weak economic data and expectations of more Fed rate hikes fuelled demand concerns, while increased U.S. output and exports along with potential extra supplies from Iraq and Venezuela showed supply may not be as tight as expected. Analysts see prices testing lower levels around $78 a barrel on weak economic signals and a higher dollar.


The Chinese yuan edged higher Thursday as the central bank set stronger reference rates while a short squeeze caused an offshore yuan rebound. The US dollar index retreated Wednesday on weaker US manufacturing data, bolstering speculation of a Fed rate hike pause. This led to gains in the euro, yen, and metals while the sterling crashed and recovered on PMI contraction.