Stock markets jump on easing bank fears, Alibaba restructure

London-Stock markets rose solidly Wednesday on easing fears of contagion from the banking crisis. Chinese markets also won a boost thanks to massive share-price gains for tech behemoth Alibaba which announced a split into six groups.

Oil prices advanced, while the dollar fell against main rivals. “With banking worries put on the back burner for now, with no further stresses in the system emerging, investors’ appetite for a bit more risk is returning,” noted Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown. At the same time, the UBS takeover of Credit Suisse comes with a huge amount of risk, UBS chairman Colm Kelleher admitted Wednesday after announcing Sergio Ermotti would return as CEO to handle the merger.

Ermotti was the chief executive of Switzerland’s biggest bank from 2011 to 2020 and Kelleher said the board felt he would be a “better pilot” to oversee the transition than current CEO Ralph Hamers. Shares in UBS gained 1.5 percent to 18 Swiss francs following the announcement that Ermotti, credited with restoring UBS’s reputation following the 2008 financial crisis, would take over. The Bank of England meanwhile on Wednesday expressed confidence in UK lenders to withstand more shocks.

Commercial lenders remain “resilient” and largely unaffected by the recent bank-sector upheaval in Switzerland and the United States, the central bank’s Financial Policy Committee insisted. “UK banks are not exposed to material direct losses associated with the failure of (US bank) SVB and takeover of Credit Suisse, and they have very limited direct exposure to regional US banks,” it added. In Asia, Hong Kong-listed Alibaba closed up more than 12 percent after announcing a restructuring of its operations intended to “unlock shareholder value and foster market competitiveness”. Alibaba is one of China’s most prominent tech firms, with operations spanning cloud computing, e-commerce, logistics, media and entertainment, and artificial intelligence. Wall Street finished modestly lower Tuesday, shrugging off a better-than-expected consumer confidence reading in the United States.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt