Here we look to highlight some of the major news and address the most prevalent talking points you need to be aware of.
Looking to commodities we have seen Gold and Silver spot prices steadily hold their gains over the past few months. With the current concerns about the economy in Eastern Europe and speculation on growth within China we can confidently say that these two commodities have again drawn attention of investors looking to hedge against the markets. Although we see the major bourses show acceptable returns in the beginning of 2014 there is a sense of apprehension as to whether this will continue. Gold sitting within the $1,335.00 range for Aprils contract and Silver spot holding its head above $22.00 is a key indicator that investors have faith in the precious metals. The majority of other metals have all shown relatively small losses including Copper, Zinc, Alluminium and lead. All posting losses in the less than 1% range.
Oil prices have stayed constant over the last month with only a slight movement even though there are several Middle Eastern countries again looking to upset the apple cart. WTI has stayed within the late $90's threshold even with a spike of over $102 and Brent has been cautiously traded and seems to be comfortable within the $110 even accounting for slight dips within the last 30 days.
Looking to the technology sector it is impossible to ignore the latest news on Facebook. With one of the main conversations being whether Facebook can fully monetize its service, it was an interesting and some would say perplexing purchase of Whatsapp earlier this week. Considering Whatsapp's company philosophy was a steadfast No Advertising policy it shows the power of its users, in numbers alone and the need for Facebook to control as much of this market as possible. Philosophy aside it did little to harm FB's share price as it saw it soar to new highs of $71.44 and renewed interest for the company in the short term.
Of note within the Healthcare sector or specifically within the Biotechnology sector, it has been hard not to follow the latest on Mannkind Corp. This developer and manufacturer of therapeutic products has drawn significant attention due to its Afreeza Inhaler. The inhaled insulin medication is almost at its final FDA approval and speculators are pouring over the company to see whether they will look to partner up with AstraZeneca PLC or Merck & Co (or a similar Pharma monster) prior or after its approval. The company stands to benefit either way and has been pegged as one of the 'Hottest' healthcare stocks for 2014.
Moving to the energy sector. General Electric announced that it is to invest $10 Billion in fracking, wind and efficiency research. This seems to be the trend with the companies within this sector and it looks set to grow. With the US power grid slowly changing from mega grids to micro grids, energy suppliers have had to seriously look to alternative sources of power generation and income. This move is set to continue as 'Global Warming' again hits the headlines. How this sector will react is something analyst have been commenting on for several years. Ultimately, it's in everyone's benefit to improve power generation and reduce its carbon footprint. Looking to technology is the only way forward and GE's commitment shows that they are one of the industry leaders in this sector. One area to note is SE Asia where hundreds of exploration contracts have been licensed in the past few years to many of the global energy leaders, most of which entwine them into the local economies and secure their future in the respective countries. This has long been seen as a natural expansion for the heavyweights of the sector and seems to have no signs of slowing down.
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