And here are the results of the year, friends! We honestly warned you about them in the previous article. So take a break from praying for an early end to 2020 for a few minutes and check out our selection of events that we think are truly significant.
1. COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine (surprised, huh?)
Perhaps there is no more annoying and painful topic than this one. However, in 2020, indeed, the whole world was forced to play by perverse and cruel rules dictated by the coronavirus infection. At the time of this writing, 82 million cases of the disease were recorded worldwide, 46.3 million – cases of recovery, 1.79 million – deaths.
In late February – early March, the stock market crashed. These were the worst trading weeks since the 2007-2008 financial crisis. March 9 has already gone down in the history of exchanges as “Black Monday”, March 12 – as “Black Thursday”, no one even tried to name all the following days of inconsolable and uncompromising fall.
The indices reached the bottom on March 18-23. If we compare the indicators of those days with the statistics of the beginning of the year, then the picture is as follows: the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 35.6%, the S&P 500 – by 31.3%, the Nasdaq 100 – by 21.2%, the Stoxx Europe 600 – by 33 , 7%, Kospi – 31.8%, Shanghai Composite – 13.4%, Hang Seng – 24%, Nikkei 225 – 28.7%, S & P / ASX 200 – 32%.
COVID-19 and quarantine measures have hit such sectors of the global economy as air, land, sea passenger and cargo transportation, hotel and spa business, entertainment, oil and heavy industries.
But the technology sector can be called the main beneficiary of the pandemic. The best proof of this will be the growth statistics of quotations of IT companies. Since the beginning of the year, Apple has risen in price by 85%, and its capitalization has reached $ 2.3 trillion, Amazon – by 79.9%, Microsoft – by 42.2%, Facebook – by 35.4%, Alphabet – by 31.2%.
Separately, we note the growth of shares of Zoom Video Communications by 430% and Netflix – by 64.2%. The capitalization of the companies at the time of preparing the material was $ 101.2 billion and $ 234.5 billion, respectively. So much for the delights of quarantine and remote control.
2. Antitrust proceedings
Since we have already touched upon the largest representatives of the technology sector, it is fair to say that not everything went smoothly for them in 2020. Lawsuits and antitrust investigations became the main headache.
Alphabet alone, Google’s parent company, was sued three times during the year. On October 20, the US Department of Justice and 11 states accused the IT giant of creating a monopoly on the browser market. Plaintiffs are seeking sale of Chrome On December 16, 10 states accused Google of monopolizing the online advertising market. On December 17, 38 states went to court, accusing the corporation of a monopoly in online search.
Facebook is also involved in one of the lawsuits listed above. Prosecutors say Mark Zuckerberg’s company entered into an illegal conspiracy with Alphabet. The social network already lacked litigation. On December 9, the US Federal Trade Commission, along with 46 states, accused Facebook of suppressing fair competition and insist on selling Instagram and WhatsApp.
Let us recall the October meeting of the leaders of Alphabet, Facebook, Twitter with representatives of the US Senate Committee on Trade. On that day, IT corporations fell by more than $ 100 billion.
As for Apple, in November it agreed to pay $ 113 million to 34 states and the District of Columbia to settle consumer abuse allegations. We are talking about the proceedings on the deliberate slowdown of the old smartphone models by the manufacturer. Prior to that, the company has already paid out $ 500 million.
Let’s not forget that for the same maneuver, Apple was fined by regulators from other countries. For example, for € 25 million in France in February 2020.
3. Production of vaccines against COVID-19
Among the organizations for which the outgoing year was successful are pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Especially those that developed anti-toxic vaccines.
Since the spring collapse of the stock market, securities of Pfizer and BioNTech, the joint drug of which is not only approved, but also actively used in the US, UK and EU countries, have risen in price by 30% and 160%, respectively. Moderna shares rose more than 419%, Johnson & Johnson – 39%, AstraZeneca – 32%, Sanofi – 27%.
4. Inclusion of Tesla shares in the S&P 500 index
November 16 S&P Global Inc. published on its website a press release that on December 21 Tesla shares will be included in the S&P 500 index. The very next day, the securities of the American electric car manufacturer rose by 8.21%, from $ 408.09 to $ 441.61.
If we talk about the changes over the year that have occurred with the quotations of Elon Musk’s company, it is worth noting that they increased by almost 703%. At the time of this writing, Tesla’s capitalization was $ 631.29 billion. For comparison, let us indicate the size of the capitalization of Toyota Motor and Volkswagen AG – $ 251.97 billion and € 85.65 billion, respectively.
5. Completion of the epic with Brexit
In January, the House of Commons passed legislation to secede the United Kingdom from the European Union. Further, the document was signed by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Head of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
After that, the parties began endless attempts to agree on a trade deal, which should determine their further economic relations. This story dragged on for a whole year, and the agreement was signed only on December 24, a week before the deadline. The EU and UK representatives expressed their full satisfaction with the final version of the document.
“We have regained control over our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters,” said Boris Johnson.
“Protecting our interests was our absolute priority during the negotiations, and I am pleased to state that we were able to ensure it,” said Charles Michel.
Summing up the result
Pandemic, quarantine, vaccines, the growth of the IT sector, antitrust litigation of technology corporations, the explosive success of Tesla and, of course, Brexit – we would gladly complement this top with other events, but the salads will not cut themselves.
We understand that you could have compiled a completely different list of the most important events in the world of finance this year. And if your list is still different, please share it with us in the comments. Santa Claus leaves gifts under the Christmas tree, and the most grateful readers leave comments under the news. Happy New Year, and all the best to you!