Markets across the US and Asia were hit hard this week after a global stock sell-off materialized fears of a looming market correction. Major US indices are all down around 4%, with the Dow (DJI) down over 1000 points for the second time this week and 10% from its January peak. China, and Hong Kong in particular, have been among the hardest hit, with the Hang Seng China Index (HSCEI) down 13% this week. Perhaps none have been hit harder than the billionaires, however, as the world’s 500 richest people have lost over $93 billion in net worth amidst the sell-off. Markets have rebounded slightly in early Friday trading.
Powell in Place
The US Senate confirmed Jerome Powell to serve as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Powell, a former lawyer and investment banker, was confirmed by a wider margin than his predecessor, Janet Yellen, and is viewed by many as one of Trump’s more moderate appointments. Powell is expected to be a bit tighter on monetary policy than has been the status quo in recent administrations, but with this week’s correction and a devalued yuan, it is unlikely we’ll be looking at a rate rise from the Fed in the near future.
Tesla takes Flight
SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday, making it the most powerful operational rocket ever made by a factor of two. The rocket’s success is touted as a scientific breakthrough due to its cost-cutting, reusable technology, and its ability to carry more weight farther into space than anything before it. Hauling over twice as much weight as its nearest competitor (including a bright red Tesla (TSLA) from Musk’s personal collection) at one quarter of the cost, the Falcon Heavy may well be the beginning of a space exploration revolution. But for Musk, whose plans include colonizing Mars, this is just the beginning.