Weekly Market Insight

Latest Economic & Market Update 1st March 2021

01st March 2021

Good afternoon, it is March 1st 2021 and here is your economic and market update from BlackBee. 

Today’s focus:

  • Buffett warns debt investors of bleak future.
  • Bank of Ireland to close 103 branches in Ireland as acceleration in digital banking reaches a “tipping point”.

Warren Buffett has warned that debt investors faced a “bleak future”. In his closely followed annual letter, Buffett told Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that it was best to eschew the fixed income market. Driven by investors who see faster economic growth taking hold, treasury prices slid last week. As investors move towards lower quality debt that offers higher returns, Buffett warned that “risky loans, however, are not the answer to inadequate interest rates” and that “three decades ago, the once-mighty savings and loan industry destroyed itself, partly by ignoring that maxim”. Berkshire slightly reduced its holdings of corporate debt in the quarter. (Source: FT).

Bank of Ireland said it has taken a decision to close 103 branches in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The banks branch network in the Republic of Ireland will decline by 88 branches to 169 and decline by 15 branches to 13 in Northern Ireland. The branches that will be closed are predominantly self-service locations that do not offer a counter service however Bank of Ireland has said it has agreed a new partnership with An Post to offer BOI customers banking services at over 900 locations across Ireland. The branches are due to close from the end of September. Publishing the annual results for 2020, BOI noted that customer preferences continue to evolve and its significant transformation investment over recent years has improved technology infrastructure and digital offering. BOI noted that they have seen a sustained decline in the use of their branches. They also said that from customer feedback they expect visits to branches to reduce further as customers move away from cash towards digital and contactless payments. The bank stated that it is adapting to these clear changes in behaviour as it works towards a long term, sustainable and modern banking systems. (Source: RTÉ)

Best & Worst Performers of Large Cap US Stocks on Friday
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Global Market Update
(as at close of markets 26/02/2021)