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Russian Atrocities, Musk Twitter Stake, Chinese ADR Boost – What’s Moving Markets

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By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com — Chinese ADRs get a boost after state regulators say they’ll lift the current ban on providing full audit information to foreign regulators. The EU plots fresh sanctions against Russia after evidence emerges of atrocities committed by its soldiers during their occupation of northern Ukraine. Elon Musk takes a 9% stake in Twitter and Howard Schultz pauses Starbucks’ buyback program. Here’s what you need to know in financial markets on Monday, 4th April.

1. EU mulls new sanctions after evidence of Russian atrocities

The EU is set to discuss fresh sanctions against Russia later after evidence emerged at the weekend of atrocities committed by Russian soldiers during their three-week occupation of areas around Kyiv. France’s President Emmanuel Macron called for an immediate embargo on oil and coal imports from Russia, but not on natural gas imports. Germany remains opposed to such measures.

The Mayor of Bucha, Anatoliy Fedoruk, said the authorities had found 280 people in a mass grave, all shot in the back of the head, some with their hands tied behind their back. Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said 410 bodies of civilians had been recovered from the Kyiv region. Those executed included the mayor of the town of Motyzhyn, Olga Sukhenko, along with her husband and son.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the reports were fake and orchestrated by the Ukrainian authorities. An editorial by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti meanwhile called for the liquidation of the whole Ukrainian elite.

2. Chinese ADRs roar after regulators unveil new audit rules

Chinese tech stocks rallied in Hong Kong after mainland regulators said at the weekend they will lift the ban on providing full audit information to foreign regulators. That appears to remove the threat of the forced delisting of their American Depositary Receipts by the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission.

The Hang Seng index rose 2.1%, while mainland indices were closed for a public holiday. In premarket trading in New York, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) ADRs rose 4.9%, while Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) ADRs rose 5.0%, and Pinduoduo (NASDAQ:PDD) ADRs rose 8.0%.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission unveiled draft rules on Saturday that the English-language China Daily publication said will provide clearer guidelines for confidentiality for overseas listings, as well as facilitating cross-border regulatory cooperation, including joint inspections.

3. Elon Musk takes a stake in Twitter

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) stock rose 25% in premarket after Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) disclosed that its CEO Elon Musk had taken a passive stake of 9.2% in the social media company. Musk, who paid $40 million to settle SEC charges that he misled investors with tweets in 2018, has criticized the platform for restricting free speech.

The news comes after Tesla said at the weekend it posted a new record for deliveries in the first quarter despite what Musk called “exceptional” difficulties.

Tesla’s Shanghai factory is set to remain closed again this week after city authorities extended their lockdown order to allow for testing of all 25 million of its inhabitants for COVID-19. Reports from China suggest that outbreaks of the virus continue to spread, even as global deaths from the disease hit a two-year low.

4. Stocks set to push higher; Starbucks in focus; Durable goods data due

U.S. stock markets are set to push a little higher at the opening, still supported by a rock-solid employment report for March that showed continued rapid gains in jobs and wages.

By 6:15 AM ET (1015 GMT), Dow Jones futures were up 23 points, or 0.1%, while S&P 500 futures were up 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.4%.

Stocks likely to be in focus later (in addition to Twitter) include Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), after chairman Howard Schultz paused the coffee chain’s buyback program on his return to the CEO’s seat, and J.P. Morgan (NYSE:JPM), after CEO Jamie Dimon acknowledged a possible loss of to $1 billion on its Russia exposure in the long term. Data for U.S. factory and durable goods orders are due at 8:30 AM ET.

5. Oil flat as EU sanctions talk balances Shanghai lockdown

Crude oil prices have opened the week in a mixed fashion, with the news from China and weekend talk of European nations joining the latest U.S. initiative to release strategic reserves weighing, while the talk of fresh EU sanctions on Russia has kept the threat of a squeeze on non-Russian supplies alive.

By 6:25 AM ET, U.S. crude futures were up a modest 4c at $99.31 a barrel, while Brent futures were down less than 0.1% at $104.31 a barrel.

Natural Gas Futures in Europe were left unchanged as German politicians reiterated their opposition to an immediate boycott on Russian natural gas.

Russian Atrocities, Musk Twitter Stake, Chinese ADR Boost – What’s Moving Markets

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