Carmaker Tesla has been kicked off the S&P 500 ESG index.

Apparently, Tesla has been removed because of issues including claims of racial discrimination and crashes linked to its autopilot vehicles.

“While Tesla may be playing its part in taking fuel-powered cars off the road, it has fallen behind its peers when examined through a wider ESG lens,” S&P ESG Indices North American head Margaret Dorn said.

And Elon Musk did not take it well, tweeting that ESG is a scam.

 


Who wouldn’t be a bit salty when your company sinks to the lowest level all year and you lose $12b?

Plus, he’s got a point there about oil giant Exxon.

 

To Markets …

The ASX 200 is up 77.3 points or 1.09% at midday today to 7,141.80.

In China, the market was supported by soaring momentum in the renewable energy sector, after the European Union overnight unveiled a new plan to accelerate the region’s green energy transition.

Chinese solar power equipment makers, wind turbine suppliers and renewable energy materials producers led gains.

But in European markets dropped, London’s FTSE 100 closed down 1.8% on Thursday, with retail companies enduring a tough day and Royal Mail – the biggest faller – closing down 12% after it posted a pretax profit decline for fiscal 2022.

“A lot of today’s pain is being felt by UK retailers after the downgrades this week by US retail giants Target and Walmart, while today US department store Kohl’s followed suit by warning of the effects of higher costs on their margins, and their profits,” says Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

UK weakness is also being seen at Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser as worries over margins linger while consumers are squeezed by a cost-of-living crisis, Hewson adds.

 

Bear market could be looming in the US

In the US, the S&P 500 lost 0.6%, coming close to bear market territory — market shorthand for a 20% fall from a recent high.

The last time the S&P 500 fell into a bear market was during the pandemic panic in March 2020. It was short-lived, and the market quickly embarked on a two-year rally that peaked this Jan 3.

The Dow industrials, which are more weighted to old-line industrial companies and banking stocks, have performed less badly and are still some way from bear market territory.

“Throw monetary policy tightening into the mix, we’ve got a recipe for volatility and investor jitteriness,” said Clara Cheong, a global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.

 

Economic data points to healthy consumer spending

In economic news, the Labor Department said new applications for unemployment benefits rose for the third week in a row.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, remain historically low. Separately, US home prices reached a high in April, according to fresh data, while the number of sales fell.

Anthony Saglimbene, global markets strategist at Ameriprise Financial, said economic data points to healthy consumer spending, allaying fears of a recession.

“For consumers to really retrench spending, they have to fear that they’re going to lose their jobs and that’s just not the environment we’re in,” Saglimbene said.

Some analysts, however, say a slowdown in consumer spending could mean the Federal Reserve wouldn’t have to raise interest rates as aggressively to lower consumer demand.

“Some amount of slowdown in discretionary spending will help organically or naturally ease the supply-chain constraints,” said Seth Wunder, Acorns’ chief investment officer. “At the end of the day, that is one of the largest inputs to the inflationary issues we’re facing.”
 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

 

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for May 20 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

 

 

Woolworths (ASX:WOW) is looking to acquire an 80% controlling interest in online retail marketplace MyDeal (ASX:MYD), which will be delisted from the ASX if the transaction goes through.

The all-cash consideration of $1.05 per share represents a significant premium of 62.8% to the last closing price.

MyDeal chairman Paul Greenberg says the Scheme is an “attractive transaction which provides an all-cash option for MyDeal shareholders”.

“The price is a very tangible measure of the value and quality of MyDeal’s industry-leading online marketplace platform,” he said.

And Pursuit Minerals (ASX:PUR) says that aircore drilling of auger anomalies has been completed at the Warrior Project in WA, and that Moving Loop Electromagnetic surveying (MLEM) is underway. Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling samples from previous explorers at the Smogo’s prospect have also been submitted for assay.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS