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4 key themes for the markets today. What you need to know

The markets today close the week with a mixed trend and 4 crucial themes under observation by investors.
In Asia, Hong Kong led the declines in the Asia-Pacific region, with Alibaba shares falling in early trading.
Most markets cooled from mid-week gains triggered by hopes of easing U.S.
The Chinese indices Shenzhen and Shanghai, however, closed the session above parity as did the Japanese Nikkei.
More positive sentiment in Asia was supported by the apparent easing of tensions between the United States and China, with the Chinese press praising the meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden.
On Wall Street, during the night, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower; the S&P 500 rose 0.12%, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.07%.
The Fed and rate policy are always in the spotlight: the market is anticipating cuts in the cost of money of 98 basis points for next year, compared to 73 basis points a week ago.
In this framework, markets today are focused on 4 key themes.
Alibaba's plunge Alibaba's 10% slump, its biggest decline in a year, weighed on benchmarks in Hong Kong and mainland China.
The company scuppered a planned full spin-off of its cloud group due to US restrictions on chip exports.
Alibaba's surprise decision undermines the stock's bullish case and lays bare the difficulties the company faces in convincing investors of its $200 billion valuation.
That's because the cloud spinoff has been rated as a key investment since the e-commerce giant unveiled a review of its business plans earlier this year.
“Alibaba Cloud was the crown jewel of the restructuring plan,” said Rob Sanderson, an analyst at Loop Capital Markets.
An abrupt end to the unit's IPO shakes a key tenet of the bull case, denting management's credibility to some extent, he added.
Oil prices below $80 a barrel Both Brent and U.S.
WTI crude prices fell nearly 5% on Thursday, to four-month lows, in a move that was attributed to economic and supply concerns , although technical sales probably had an impact.
In fact, dealers suspected that trend-following algorithmic funds had driven the speculative sell-off, given that most of the losses occurred in just one hour of trading.
The good news about this sharp decline in crude oil is that it should put further downward pressure on consumer prices around the world and reinforce expectations of monetary policy easing next year.
Walmart announces deflation The theme of disinflation is starting to emerge: Walmart executives said that costs are now “more under control” and that is why they were planning to cut prices for the holiday season.
Stock investors weren't as impressed with the idea of margin compression and sent Walmart shares down 8%.
However, the message was important.
The retailer expects some of the higher prices, such as those of essential goods, "to begin to deflate in the coming weeks and months." “In the United States, we may face a period of deflation in the months ahead,” he said during the company's earnings call on Thursday.
“And even though that would put more pressure on us, we welcome it, because it's better for our customers.” 4.
USA-China, what truce? After the meeting between Biden and Xi, we continue to reflect on what the results achieved really were.
Truce, peace or silent conflict? Rivalry, in terms of commercial competition, appears to remain high.
President Joe Biden said the world expects the United States and China to better manage their competition, advocating sustained U.S.
involvement in the Asia-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, however, Congressman Mike Gallagher has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of US China strategy on Capitol Hill, with ambitions that include curbing the flow of money from American investors into China.
Gallagher wants to change the rules for how asset managers like BlackRock Inc., Vanguard and others can invest in the dragon.
The tones are much less conciliatory than Biden's and show a certain discontent among American power over the easing of retaliation against Beijing.
It should be noted that, as previously highlighted, the growing struggle between the United States and China for technological dominance has triggered one of the most surprising reversals of corporate strategy ever seen: on Thursday, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
withdrew its plans to spin off and list in stock market of its $11 billion cloud business.

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