Amidst the rise of AI and its technological consolidation into a few major companies, the FTC is flexing its muscles, demanding information from big tech and generative AI startups to delve into their complex partnerships. Driven by fears of stifled competition, potential security threats, and market manipulation, the agency seeks to dissect deals between Microsoft, Google, and Amazon and AI powerhouses like OpenAI and Anthropic, scrutinizing how these billion-dollar investments and cloud credit offerings influence strategy, pricing, and resource access. This inquiry sends a clear message: the industry is under the microscope, and potential future enforcement actions are on the table.
Asia's initial jump got pulled back down after Intel's missed earnings triggered a tech selloff, dampening sentiment ahead of a crucial week for earnings and central bank decisions. While China's easing measures offered temporary support, Japan's repricing and Europe's profit-taking anxieties cast a shadow, suggesting a potential pause in the global rally despite Wall Street's record highs.
Gold's price are heading towards second-weekly losses, pressured by a robust U.S. dollar riding multi-week highs on economic resilience and delayed rate cut expectations. Though bullion recouped some ground Thursday on abating inflation fears, its weekly decline reflects the diminished appeal of non-yielding assets in a strengthening greenback environment.
Crude markets surged this week, fuelled by strong economic data from the US and China, hinting at robust future demand. While supply-side jitters from the Red Sea and a potential hawkish Fed linger, oil prices are set for their biggest weekly gain since October, buoyed by optimism and technical factors. This suggests a temporary uptrend on the horizon, offering a glimmer of hope in the face of earlier concerns about demand headwinds.
The U.S. Q4 GDP growth failed to significantly boost the dollar as markets remain sceptical about the Fed's commitment to sustained high rates. The euro, however, dipped on mixed signals from ECB President Lagarde, while Asian currencies remained muted by weak regional economic performance. Overall, the market awaits further inflationary and monetary policy cues before a definitive direction emerges.