All the News You Missed While You Were Away

From Apple’s breakthrough to big Covid-19 concerns stateside, plenty has happened during the Christmas break, and we're here to summarise it

Ollie Smith 4 January, 2022 | 11:35AM
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A very happy new year from the Morningstar UK team. To help you get back into the swing of things, we’ve summarised all the stories you may have missed during Christmas.

Apple Briefly Became a $3 Trillon Company

It’s happened. In December, we noted that Apple (AAPL) was on the brink of a $3 trillion stock market valuation, and during the break the computer company broke through that mark. When it all went down yesterday, news outlets were quick to note shares had slipped shortly after, leaving the company slightly shy of the $3 trillion mark once more.

The US Broke a Bleak Record

Yesterday the US became the first country in the world to record more than one million Covid-19 cases in a single 24-hour period, making the country the hardest-hit by Covid-19. Schools in Atlanta, Cleveland and Milwaukee have returned to remote learning.

Elizabeth Holmes’ Fraud Trial Returned a Verdict

Elizabeth Holmes, the former chief executive of failed Silicon Valley blood testing start-up Theranos, has been found guilty on four charges of defrauding investors. Though she was found guilty of defrauding investors, the jury did not find she had defrauded patients. She now awaits sentencing, and faces years in jail.

Tesla Ran Into Trouble, then Surged

After a product recall of 475,000 Model S and Model 3 vehicles, shares in Tesla slipped. The company then said that, in 2021, it delivered 936,172 vehicles, up over 87% year on year versus 2020. Shares then rose. Morningstar itself raises its Tesla fair value estimate to $700 per share from $680. Our narrow moat rating is unchanged. At current prices, we view Tesla shares as overvalued, with the stock trading in 2-star territory and more than 50% above our fair value estimate.

Mercedes Broke the Thousand-Kilometer Mark

Speaking of electric vehicles, Mercedes’ unveiled its Vision EQXX electric car yesterday, which it said could mark a new era for electric vehicle efficiency. The vehicle will supposedly be able to do 1,000 kilometers on one charge. That’s 620 miles to us folk!

All Was Not Well at Third Point

The activist investment firm that called for a break up of oil giant Shell is itself embroiled in a war of words with activist investors who themselves hold stakes in it. Shareholders in Third Point Investors say that the closed-ended fund has been underperforming. The company’s chairman has since quit. Boss Dan Loeb blamed the whole thing on “inexperienced” and “juvenile” activists.

Inflation Hit 36% in Turkey

It was not as much of a concern in January 2021, but it certainly is 12 months later. Inflation is on everyone’s minds, and in Turkey it is at a 19-year high, soaring to 36%. Normally, central banks raise interest rates to try and cool inflationary heat, but President Erdogan has gone the other way, describing interest rates as “the mother and father of all evil”.

New Rules for Insurance Customers

New rules set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) mean that frequent insurance policy switchers will pay more than their “loyal” counterparts. People renewing their policies will pay no more than they would as new customers, a move the FCA says will save loyal buyers £4.2 billion over the next decade.

Shoppers Shunned the High Street

There was a 32% fall in shoppers taking in-person advantage of post-Christmas sales, retail analyst Springboard said during the Christmas break. Shoppers chose to visit retail parks on the Monday after Christmas, but footfall was still 7.2% lower than pre-pandemic levels, the company said.

Y2K22 Was Genuinely a Thing

Remember when everyone was worrying about a big computer reset for the millennium causing chaos? Well, Microsoft (MSFT) has confirmed customers of Microsoft Exchange were struggling to receive emails from their servers when their calendars updated to 1 January 2022. The next day it said it was working “round the clock” on a fix.

The World’s Oldest Person Got Older

The Covid-19 pandemic may have underscored our vulnerability as a species, but it’s worth noting that longevity is still a big issue facing retirees and older people. As if to demonstrate the point, Kane Tanaka turned 119 over the Christmas break. The Guinness Book of World Records recognised Tanaka’s status in 2019. Apparently she has a weakness for fizzy drinks and chocolate!

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Ollie Smith  is editor of Morningstar UK