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Canadian consumer staples ETF returns 8.7% in 2022

In today’s top stories, mobile game spending falls 5%, lithium sales may slow due to subdued China EV sales, and Tesla weighs up a $775.7m investment in its Austin gigafactory. An ETF covering Canadian consumer stocks is the only fund to have delivered a positive annual return over the past 10 years, and scrutiny on crypto firms continues.

Mobile game spending cools in 2022

Consumer spending on mobile games fell 5% last year to $110bn, Data.ais annual State of Mobile Report shows. While the slump can be partly attributed to the gaming boom during Covid-19 lockdowns, which has since subdued, inflation is forcing people to cut back on discretionary purchases. We are seeing this major theme emerge of people being more price sensitive and financially more conservative,” Lexi Sydow, head of insights at Data.ai, told CNBC.

Lithium faces China EV slowdown

The race to secure supplies of lithium is heating up, but Citi is remaining cautious on the commodity as analysts at the firm expect EV sales in China to soften later this year, while China lithium spot price may face headwinds beyond Q1 23,” they wrote in a note seen by CNBC. That said, Citi likes US producer Albemarle [ALB]. Australian miner Azure Minerals [AZS.AX] has attracted an A$20m investment from Chilean lithium producer SQM [SQSM].

Canadian ETFs decade-long return streak

As investors position their portfolios for better returns this year, one ETF could be worth adding to the watchlist. The iShares S&P/TSX Capped Consumer Staples Index ETF [XST.TO], which tracks 11 Canadian consumer stocks, is the only major fund to have delivered a positive return every year over the past decade. Since 1 January 2013, the fund has had a CAGR of 14%, and has returned 13.8% over the past year.

Tesla to invest in Austin gigafactory

Tesla [TSLA] is considering spending $775.7m in its Austin gigafactory to ramp up production capacity, according to regulatory paperwork filed in Texas. Plans include constructing facilities for battery cell manufacturing and testing as well as cathode and drive unit manufacturing. The luxury EV maker has said its long-awaited Cybertruck will be entering mass production at the Austin gigafactory later this year.

FTX contagion forces Coinbase layoffs

Federal prosecutors are probing Digital Currency Group (DCG), the owner of crypto lender Genesis. The founder of crypto exchange Gemini has alleged that DCG owes it $900m and has called for its CEO, Barry Silbert, to step down. Meanwhile, Coinbase [COIN] is laying off 950 employees in an effort to cut costs by 25%. The FTX collapse and the resulting contagion has created a black eye for the industry,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong told CNBC on Tuesday.

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