By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com — Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuit against Apple (NASDAQ:) reaches a California district court. The European Union will allow fully-vaccinated tourists in. Stocks are set to open the month in positive mood, and Tesla‘s factory in Germany faces another six months’ delay. Here’s what you need to know in financial markets on Monday, May 3nd.
1. Epic v Apple heads to court
One of the most important corporate legal actions of recent years heads to a U.S. district court in Oakland, Ca., on Monday, as Epic Games, the designer of the spectacularly popular game Fortnite, attempts to prove that the way Apple runs its App Store is discriminatory and anti-competitive.
The case is a landmark in defining and limiting the market power of platform companies that have increasingly come to act as gatekeepers to the Internet for thousands of aspiring smaller companies. The disparity in market power between the former and latter was underlined last week by the huge increases in revenue and profit reported by the likes of Apple and Amazon (NASDAQ:) in the first quarter.
The case starts less than a week after the EU’s antitrust authorities ruled that Apple had abused its position as operator of the app store to the detriment of other companies engaged in streaming, such as Spotify (NYSE:).
Separately, reported that Apple is planning to cut production of Air Pods by between 25% and 30% this year in response to loss of market share to cheaper competition.
2. EU ends travel ban
The European Union is to end a year-long ban on non-essential travel to the bloc that it put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The European Commission proposed to allow travel from countries that have low infection rates, as well as to allow visits by fully-vaccinated people. The measures will go some way to rescuing a summer tourism season that has huge economic importance for southern Europe in particular.
The move also reflects a broader increase in confidence that the bloc is bringing its epidemic under control as the pace of vaccinations picks up. Germany, the bloc’s biggest economy, vaccinated over 1 million people on both Thursday and Friday. The EU now expects to have at least 70% of its population immune to the disease by the end of August, a month earlier than previously expected.
3. Stocks set to open higher
U.S. stock markets are set to start the month in positive tone, as participants buy the dip that marked the end of April trading.
By 6:30 AM ET (1030 GMT), were up 152 points, or 0.5%, while were up 0.3%. were up 0.1%.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:) will be in focus after the company reported a swing back to profit in the first quarter at the weekend. Buffett’s lieutenant Charlie Munger pitched in with some salty comments on the vices of SPACs and , calling the rise of cryptocurrencies “disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization.”
Estee Lauder (NYSE:) heads the day’s early earnings releases, amid anticipation of strong guidance as the cosmetics industry prepares to gain from the reopening of social and business life.
Loews (NYSE:), Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:), shale oil producer Diamondback (NASDAQ:) Energy and pipeline operator Williams (NYSE:) are also due to report.
4. Tesla’s German factory faces delay
Another stock likely to be in focus will be Tesla (NASDAQ:), after the German auto trade publication Automobilwoche reported that its factory outside Berlin is facing fresh delays to the start of production.
Automobilwoche said CEO Elon Musk had given the team building the plant another six months to start operations, something that puts the start of mass production back to January 2022. The company is still waiting for final permits to build parts of the Gigafactory.
Separately, Reuters reported that Tesla is expanding its government relations team in China to deal with growing regulatory scrutiny there.
5. Oil eases off as buyers take a holiday
Crude oil prices eased but other commodity prices remained relatively firm, as the holiday in much of the world took buyers away from their desks.
By 6:30 AM ET, futures were down 0.2% at $63.47 a barrel while futures were down 0.4% at $66.46.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission data on Friday had shown net speculative long positions in crude falling to their lowest level since November, although overall positioning remained bullish with net adds to long positions in refined products, notably gas oil. The biggest individual position increases were seen in sugar, coffee, wheat and , however.