EU probes big tech

EU probes Apple, Google, and Meta under new digital laws, as Brent crude prices climb above $85 amid market caution and geopolitical tensions.

By Ahmed Azzam | @3zzamous | 25 March 2024

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  • Apple, Google, Meta probed by EU in test of new digital law

  • Brent finds support above $85 amid rising geopolitical tensions

EU targets big tech

Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google, and Meta Platforms Inc. are under the scrutiny of the European Union, which has initiated comprehensive investigations to determine their adherence to the new stringent regulations designed to curb the influence of major technology firms. Announced on Monday, the European Commission's first investigations under the Digital Markets Act will focus on the app store policies of Apple and Google, the potential bias in Google's search results favoring its services, and Apple's possible impediments for users selecting alternatives to its Safari browser. Additionally, new subscription fees for Meta's Instagram and Facebook platforms are under examination. These probes could result in fines up to 10% of the companies' global revenue, or even 20% for recurrent violations.

In the United States, stock market futures indicated a downturn at the opening, following a strong rally the previous week. This comes as investors await corporate earnings forecasts and forthcoming U.S. data, which may provide insights into the Federal Reserve's monetary policy direction.

Brent Crude tops $85

The benchmark for global crude oil prices, Brent, has consistently settled above $85 since mid-March, establishing a new price floor. This level was last sustained in October. The resurgence in oil prices is attributed to rising geopolitical tensions involving OPEC+ member Russia. With OPEC+ maintaining production cuts and the U.S. enhancing sanctions on Russian oil imports, crude is on track for its third monthly increase. Despite concerns regarding China's demand outlook, Premier Li Qiang's announcement of augmented policy support to boost growth has positively impacted the market. The bullish sentiment in the oil market is underscored by a significant increase in money managers' net-long positions on Brent, reaching the highest point in over a year. Seasonal analysis over the past decade reveals that Brent typically experiences an approximate 15% increase in the second quarter, suggesting potential further gains as the futures curve for Brent shifts upwards from a month ago.