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US election: Wall Street at a crossroads

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices ended the trading session in the negative on Friday, retreating from the record highs reached during the day. This decline occurred against the backdrop of a decline in the sector of chip manufacturers and mixed data on the labor market, reflecting the exceeding of expectations for the number of jobs created while the unemployment rate rose.

During the trading session, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices briefly hit all-time highs, but by evening their dynamics changed to decline. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (.SOX) experienced a noticeable drop, losing 4% by the close of the day after earlier reaching the day's high.

Shares of Nvidia (NVDA.O), highly regarded in the market for its contributions to the development of chips for artificial intelligence, suffered a 5.6% loss, ending their six consecutive sessions of gains. This was despite the fact that they were up more than 5% in early trading.

Broadcom (AVGO.O) shares in the chipmaker index also experienced a significant decline of 7%, driven by low investor expectations for the company's full-year outlook. In addition, Marvell Technology (MRVL.O) lost 11.4% in value after its first-quarter guidance fell short of market expectations due to weaker demand.

The stock posted gains at the open after data showed that U.S. job growth accelerated in February, with job openings in the nonfarm payroll sector rising by 275,000, exceeding analysts' forecasts for a gain of 200,000. At the same time, the January jobs data was downwardly revised.

There is also an increase in the unemployment rate in February to 3.9% compared to the previous figure of 3.7%, which was maintained for three months. It should be noted that the rate of wage growth fell to 0.1% on a month-over-month basis.

Brian Price, head of investment management at Commonwealth Financial Network, highlighted a trend toward more restrained spending on the part of consumers. This is reflected in shares of Costco Wholesale (COST.O), which posted a 7.6% decline as its quarterly sales volumes fell short of expectations due to moderate demand for higher-priced goods.

Nevertheless, Price emphasized that overall market sentiment remains optimistic with the anticipation of continued growth in the absence of any negative factors.

He expressed his belief that the market is focused on the continuation of the favorable situation: inflation is expected to be maintained at a moderate level and the Federal Reserve is expected to initiate a policy of easing economic conditions.

Upcoming data for February, which will be released next week and include information on the consumer price index (CPI) and retail sales, will provide additional information that could influence the assessment of the possibility of lowering interest rates.

In a speech on Thursday, Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, shared his view that the central bank is nearing the point where it is confident enough that inflation is falling, allowing it to begin the process of lowering interest rates.

While investors continue to analyze possible profits and keep an eye on monetary policy, they are also beginning to consider a new factor that could significantly impact market conditions this year - the upcoming U.S. presidential election in 2024.

In an address to the nation on Thursday, US President Joe Biden put forward a proposal to raise corporate taxes, while his predecessor and potential Republican Party rival, Donald Trump, earlier in 2017 passed legislation aimed at cutting taxes for companies and the wealthy. Biden also expressed pride in U.S. economic achievements during his presidency.

It is difficult to determine how politicians' proposals and initiatives ahead of the election will affect asset market prices. The winner of the election is likely to face the challenge of dealing with a divided Congress, which could significantly complicate any legislative initiatives.

This uncertainty does not stop analysts from trying to assess how political changes may interact with other key elements influencing market dynamics. Such factors include increasing interest in the business outlook for artificial intelligence and adjusting expectations about when the Federal Reserve might begin easing monetary policy. The S&P 500 Index (.SPX) has made notable gains, up 7.4% YTD and near all-time highs.

Polls show a tight contest between the 81-year-old Biden and 77-year-old Trump. Despite the U.S. economy performing better than most advanced economies, the American people generally express higher confidence in Trump's economic competence in polls.

As part of his speech on Thursday, Biden unveiled an initiative to impose a 21% minimum tax on the profits of corporations whose revenues exceed $1 billion, building on the provisions of the 2022 Clean Energy Act.

In addition, he expressed his intention to reinstate his "billionaires tax" initiative, which would impose a minimum tax of 25% on the income of U.S. citizens whose wealth exceeds $100 million.

Analysts note that the Republicans' success in the elections is likely to entail an extension of the 2017 tax cuts, which could lead to higher inflation. At the same time, the Democrats' victory will result in an increase in tax rates for households and corporations with high income.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) index of industrial companies closed down 68.66 points, or 0.18%, stopping at 38,722.69. The S&P 500 Index (.SPX) fell 33.67 points, or 0.65%, to settle at 5,123.69, while the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) fell 188.26 points, or 1.16%, to 16,085.11.

Among the 11 key sectors in the S&P 500, the technology sector (.SPLRCT) posted the largest decline, losing 1.8%. It was followed by the consumer staples sector (.SPLRCS) with a 0.8% drop, where Costco made a significant contribution.

Over the past week, the S&P 500 Index declined 0.26%, the Nasdaq fell 1.17%, and the Dow Jones lost 0.93%.

Meanwhile, real estate stocks (.SPLRCR) were the biggest gainers, rising 1.1%. Behind them are shares of energy companies (.SPNY), which grew by 0.4%.

Shares of Gap (GPS.N) jumped 8.2% as the retailer beat Wall Street analysts' forecasts for fourth-quarter results. That was due to increased demand for a revamped assortment of Old Navy and Gap-branded merchandise during the holiday season, as well as lower volumes of discounted merchandise.

On the New York Stock Exchange, the number of stocks that increased in value outnumbered those that declined by a ratio of 1.25 to 1, with 708 new highs versus 48 new lows.

On the Nasdaq exchange, the number of stocks that increased totaled 2,086, while 2,192 declined, showing a predominance of declining over rising stocks with a ratio of about 1.05 to 1.

The S&P 500 index marked 65 new 52-week highs and recorded no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 351 new highs and 83 new lows.

Trading volume on U.S. exchanges reached 12.29 billion shares, which compares with an average of 12.08 billion over the past 20 sessions.

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Wall Street's decline driven by tech sector and Fed rates

The global stock index also showed a decrease on Friday, setting a course for a weekly decline after seven consecutive weeks of gains, while the dollar strengthened, heading for its most significant weekly gain since mid-January as the latest US inflation data fueled new hopes for interest rate cuts.

Data released on Friday showed a slight increase in US import prices in February, as the rise in the cost of petroleum products was partially offset by modest growth in other areas, suggesting an improvement in the inflationary landscape.

Stocks this week faced challenges after US consumer and producer price data indicated that inflation remains persistent, dampening expectations that the Federal Reserve would cut rates by its June meeting.

Market assessments of a Fed rate cut of at least 25 basis points in June stand at 59.2%, down from 59.5% in the previous session and 73.3% a week ago, according to CME's FedWatch Tool.

The central bank is expected to maintain interest rates at its meeting next week, but investors will closely monitor the central bank's economic forecasts, including interest rate projections.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell by 190.89 points, or 0.49%, to 38,714.77, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 33.53 points, or 0.65%, to 5,116.95, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 155.35 points, or 0.96%, to 15,973.17.

Over the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.13%, the Dow dropped 0.02%, and the Nasdaq decreased by 0.73%.

Additionally, a study by the University of Michigan showed its preliminary consumer sentiment and inflation expectations data barely changed in March, while a separate report indicated that US factory production in February increased more than expected.

Adobe (ADBE.O) shares fell by 13.7% the day after the company forecasted second-quarter revenue below analysts' estimates, citing competition and weak demand for photos, illustrations, and videos integrated with artificial intelligence.

Among other declining stocks, Ulta Beauty (ULTA.O) shares fell by 5.2% after its projected annual profit came in below Wall Street estimates, as rising supply chain costs and intensified promotional activities negatively impacted its profits.

The S&P 500 technology index (.SPLRCT) dropped by 1.3% for the day, leading the downturn among sectors. Shares of Microsoft (MSFT.O) fell by 2.1%, marking one of the index's most significant declines.

The semiconductor index (.SOX) decreased by 0.5% on Friday, registering its most significant weekly percentage drop since the beginning of January. Announcements related to AI at Nvidia's (NVDA.O) GTC developers conference, scheduled for March 18-21, will be closely watched.

The Russell 2000 index of small-cap companies (.RUT) fell by 2.1% for the week.

Friday's volume was the highest of the year on US exchanges, with 18.76 billion shares traded. The average full-session volume over the last 20 trading days was about 12.4 billion.

Although Wall Street's AI-driven growth has stalled, the S&P 500 index has continued to rise by 7.3% since the beginning of the year.

According to data released on Friday, US factory production in February grew more than expected, but the January figure was sharply revised downwards, as production continues to be constrained by higher interest rates.

The dollar index gained 0.05% to 103.43, recovering some of the previous week's decline with a 0.71% increase, while the euro rose 0.06% to $1.0889 for the session. The sterling weakened by 0.13% to $1.273.

Against the Japanese yen, the dollar strengthened by 0.49% to 149.05, despite expectations that the Bank of Japan is expected to end its negative interest rate policy at its meeting next week.

The MSCI global stock index (.MIWD00000PUS) fell by 5.07 points, or 0.66%, to 767.58, heading for its third consecutive daily drop, the longest streak since the beginning of the year, and a 0.48% decrease for the week.

The STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) closed down by 0.32%, while the broader European index FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3) fell by 7.42 points, or 0.37%.

The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds rose by 1 basis point to 4.308% after reaching 4.322%, the highest level since February 23. The yield on 10-year bonds this week jumped by 22 b.p., the most significant increase since mid-October.

The yield on 2-year Treasury bonds, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, rose by 3.9 basis points to 4.7297% and increased by 24.6 b.p. for the week, marking the biggest jump in two months.

Oil prices fell a day after exceeding the $85 per barrel mark for the first time since November. Oil indices finished the week with a growth of more than 3%. U.S. crude oil decreased by 0.27% to $81.04 per barrel, and Brent crude fell by 0.09% to $85.34 per barrel.

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The main events by the morning: March 26

Bitcoin has returned to the area above $71 thousand. A day earlier, investment guru Jim Roger said that the cryptocurrency would collapse to zero. He does not see any long-term value in it, believing that the crypt will disappear.

The United States has imposed sanctions against Russian operators of CFA and blockchain services. In the list: Atomize, Lighthouse, Distributed Registry Systems, Web3 Tech, B-Crypto, Netexchange, Masterchain.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Russia ordered the sale of 27.5% in the Sakhalin-2 operator company for 95 billion rubles. Gazprom's daughter Sakhalin Project will buy a share, TASS reports.

France may come into direct conflict with Russia in the event of the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The LCI channel claims that there are several scenarios for the entry of French troops into the territory of Ukraine, including the deployment of NATO troops in fortified areas and trenches of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as the possible construction of a military plant in Kiev or the deployment of troops in Odessa.

Hamas has confirmed its unwillingness to make concessions. According to Reuters, the Palestinian movement informed the mediators that it would insist on a complete ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, as well as demanding the complete withdrawal of the Israeli military from the region and a «real exchange» of prisoners of war.

The March package of assistance to Ukraine from the United States in the amount of $300 million was used back in November. According to Politico, a representative of the American administration said that these funds are currently «not available for use,» and the approval of assistance was rather a symbolic gesture.

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On the verge of inflation: how the Dow Jones and S&P reacted for the third session in a row

On Tuesday, amid expectations of important economic releases during the short holiday week, US stock markets fell, marking the third consecutive decline for the Dow Jones and Standard & Poor's 500 indexes. Investors are in a wait-and-see mood as they analyze potential changes in Federal Reserve policy.

Tesla (TSLA.O) rose 2.92% on CEO Elon Musk's announcement that he would test self-driving technology for the company's vehicles, available to both new and existing customers in the United States. Over the current week, the stock price has increased by about 4%, although during the year their quotes have decreased by more than 28%.

Market participants are particularly focused on the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, the Federal Reserve's main tool for assessing inflation. It is expected that the latest data on this indicator will be published on Friday, a day when trading on American exchanges will not be held due to the celebration of Good Friday.

It is predicted that in February the inflation index will increase by 0.4%, reaching 2.5% at the annual level. Meanwhile, core inflation, which excludes volatile items such as food and energy, is expected to rise 0.3% for the month, keeping annual growth at 2.8%, according to expert forecasts.

"Friday is key. All attention will be focused on this day, and any events before then will be perceived as background. Therefore, we should not expect significant changes in the market until the data is published," said Stephen Massocca, deputy president of Wedbush Securities. San Francisco.

"It would be extremely risky for the market if there were any speculation that Fed rates have not yet peaked. Any hint from the Fed that interest rates could be raised further could signal an immediate shift away from risk assets."

The U.S. economic sector is growing, with February orders for durable goods exceeding forecasts and equipment investment pointing to the start of a recovery. According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence remained virtually unchanged in March at 104.7.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 31.31 points, down 0.08%, to 39,282.33. The S&P 500 was down 14.61 points (down 0.28%) at 5,203.58, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 68.77 points (down 0.42%) at 16. 315.70.

Last week, all three major US indexes hit new all-time highs after the Federal Reserve confirmed its forecasts for three interest rate cuts this year.

Market expectations for the Fed to cut rates by at least 25 basis points in June continue to rise, now reaching 70.4% probability according to CME's FedWatch tool, up markedly from last week's 59.2%.

Shares of the media and technology group linked to Donald Trump rose 16.1% to close at $57.99 after temporarily hitting $79.38 on the first day of trading following its reverse merger with the company. , specializing in the issue of securities.

McCormick (MKC.N) jumped 10.52% to become the top gainer in the S&P 500, as its first-quarter sales and earnings beat market expectations.

Shares of Seagate Technology (STX.O) also posted strong gains, rising 7.38%, after analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the hard drive maker's stock from overweight to overweight.

At the same time, United Parcel Service (UPS.N) shares lost 8.16% following the release of the company's 2026 guidance.

On the New York Stock Exchange, decliners outnumbered advancers by a 1.24-to-1 ratio. A similar trend was seen on the Nasdaq, where decliners outnumbered advancers by a 1.34-to-1 ratio.

Trading volume in US stock markets reached 10.43 billion shares, less than the average volume of 12.23 billion shares over the past 20 sessions. Trading activity is expected to remain moderate throughout the current week, and as the holidays approach, volumes may decline further.

The pan-European stock index STOXX 600 gained 0.24%, while MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan closed 0.25% higher at 535.59.

Market attention is focused on the Japanese yen, which remains at its weakest against the dollar since 1990 despite the Bank of Japan raising interest rates last week for the first time in 17 years.

The dollar strengthened 0.1% against the yen to hit 151.56, raising the risk of Japanese intervention to prevent further weakening of its currency. In October 2022, the dollar/yen exchange rate rose to 151.94, followed by a decline due to intervention.

Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki on Tuesday expressed readiness to consider options to stabilize the yen, reiterating statements made the day before by the country's top monetary policy official.

The US dollar was marginally weaker, down 0.06% at 7.248 against the offshore Chinese yuan, which strengthened thanks to an unexpectedly high trading range setting. The yuan's fall the previous Friday, after a period of market volatility, had sparked concern among investors, with some speculation that China could loosen controls on its currency, allowing it to fall.

Spot gold rose 0.24% to $2,176.69 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures rose 0.09% to $2,176.80 an ounce. In the cryptocurrency space, Bitcoin lost 1.74% to $69,753.73, while Ethereum fell 1.55% to $3,572.7.

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S&P 500 breaks records: the most successful quarter in the last five years

Amid the latest economic data, the S&P 500 ended the week with positive dynamics, marking its best quarterly result in the last five years. Investors are optimistic about the future, awaiting new information on inflation.

Breakout of leading indices

In addition to the S&P 500, two other key US indices also posted significant gains this quarter. The 10.16% rise for the S&P 500 was driven by growing interest in artificial intelligence stocks and speculation that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year.

Dow Jones on the verge of historic achievement

The Dow Jones index is approaching a significant milestone of 40,000 points, less than 1% away from this goal.

Economic progress and labor market sustainability

The latest data shows the US economy grew faster than expected in the fourth quarter, helped by strong consumer spending. Additionally, the decline in initial unemployment claims underscores the stability in the labor market.

Optimism among experts

"The economy and consumers are doing well as they continue to spend. Unemployment remains low and there are regions where the economy is thriving... There are funds that want to be spent in a variety of ways," shares George Young, portfolio manager at Villere & Company.

Nasdaq reaches new heights

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index also posted its first record peak since November 2021, opening up new opportunities for investors.

Belief in a "soft landing" of the economy

A key factor in this year's success has been investor confidence in the possibility of a "soft landing" for the economy, which involves lowering inflation without leading to a major recession.

Looking to the future: soft landing is a priority

A BofA Global Research survey conducted in March shows more than two-thirds of asset managers view a soft landing as the most likely scenario for the economy over the next 12 months, while just 11% expect a hard landing.

Fed maintains optimism

The March Federal Reserve meeting, which confirmed expectations of three interest rate cuts during the year while improving the economic outlook, added confidence to investors.

Overcoming rising bond yields

The stock has successfully weathered the rise in Treasury yields that previously weighed on stock prices heading into 2023. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note reached 4.2%, up from 3.86% at the end of last year.

Expanding the Boundaries of Optimism

BlackRock Investment Institute strategists say risk optimism could expand beyond the tech sector thanks to the integration of AI across industries, as well as support from the Federal Reserve and slowing inflation. This is pushing for more investment in US stocks.

Rising share prices reflect confidence

The forward price-to-earnings ratio for the S&P 500 reached 21, a two-year high and reflecting increased investor optimism in the stock market, according to LSEG Datastream.

Wind of change in the stock market

The stock market remains under the influence of large companies that dictated trends in 2023. However, the current year has brought diversity to growth dynamics, especially among the tech giants known as the "Magnificent Seven."

Artificial Intelligence Stars

Nvidia stands out, posting impressive growth of over 80% thanks to its role as a leader in AI chips. Meta Platforms is also showing notable success, increasing its value by 37% and paying dividends for the first time in February.

Tests for titans of technology

At the same time, not all major players are lucky. Apple faces an 11% loss as the company comes under pressure in China and from regulators. Tesla is also experiencing a 29% decline, driven by concerns about demand for electric vehicles.

Redistribution of influence

According to S&P Dow Jones Indices, the Magnificent Seven are responsible for 40% of the S&P 500's year-to-date gain, down significantly from last year, when they contributed more than 60%. This suggests the rally is expanding to other stocks, offsetting the current decline.

A look at inflation ahead of the holiday

Against the backdrop of the upcoming Good Friday celebration and the closure of US stock markets, analysts are eagerly awaiting the publication of the PCE index. The index, the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation, will provide insight into the possible timing and extent of upcoming interest rate cuts.

Minor changes compared to expectations

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained some ground, gaining 0.12%, while the S&P 500 also rose a modest 0.11%. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite fell slightly by 0.12%, reflecting the market's mixed reaction to the current economic outlook.

Weekly and monthly achievements

Over the past week, the Dow Jones rose 0.84%, the S&P 500 rose 0.39%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.3%. March gains were notable, with the Dow Jones up 2.08%, the S&P 500 up 3.1% and the Nasdaq up 1.79%. This quarter was marked by significant gains for all three indexes: the Dow by 5.62%, the S&P 500 by 10.16%, and the Nasdaq by 9.11%.

Comment from the Fed confirms caution

Federal Reserve Chairman Christopher Waller noted that despite the disappointing inflation data, the Fed should show restraint in cutting short-term interest rates. However, he did not rule out the possibility of a rate cut later this year, emphasizing the readiness for further regulatory action in response to the economic situation.

Fed Interest Rate Forecasts

Market analysts assign a 64% chance that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates by 25 basis points by June, based on an analysis of data from CME's FedWatch Tool.

Sectoral achievements and failures

Among key sectors, communications, energy and technology stood out as the best performers in the quarter, while the real estate sector faced losses. This distribution of indicators reflects the changing priorities and interests of investors in the market.

Expanding investment horizons

According to Anthony Saglimbene, chief market strategist at Ameriprise, the observed trends suggest that investors are starting to explore opportunities outside the dominance of big tech companies, anticipating lower interest rates later in the year.

Focus on the winners of the AI era

Investors are also cautiously optimistic about which companies stand to benefit most from the increased use of artificial intelligence, tailoring their investment strategies to upcoming technology trends.

AI boom attracts attention

Nvidia continues to lead the AI push, but excitement around the technology has also spread to other chipmakers such as Super Micro Computer and Arm Holdings. Astera Labs, another player in this arena, impressed the market by doubling its stock price from its initial public offering price in just a week.

Healthcare in Focus

Walgreens Boots shares rose sharply following its quarterly earnings report, where the company noted a 3.19% decline in the value of its investment in medical clinic operator VillageMD.

Strategic moves in retail

Home Depot shares fell slightly after announcing the largest acquisition in the company's history, the purchase of building materials supplier SRS Distribution for $18.25 billion. The move highlights the retailer's strategic efforts to expand its presence in the market.

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The main events by the morning: April 1

Sales of Russian gas for rubles brought the country an income of 2.3 trillion rubles. According to Eurostat and the UN Comtrade platform, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Slovakia became the main buyers of gas from Russia under the new conditions. However, some importing countries (e.g. Germany and Austria) hid information about their purchases of Russian gas.

China has expressed its readiness to hold a dialogue with Taiwan only if the latter recognizes the principle of «one China». This was stated by Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui. He also noted that China highly appreciates Russia's support in the Taiwan issue. The problems between China and Taiwan began in 2016 after Taipei's refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus.

China has maintained its leadership in chip imports for 22 years. In 2023, the country acquired chips worth $350 billion. Hong Kong has remained the leader in chip exports for the past 10 years. The largest increase in purchases over the past year has been observed in Albania – almost 4.4 thousand times.

Monetization will appear in Telegram. However, the new advertisements are not yet available in Russia, Ukraine, Palestine and Israel. Administrators will be able to receive 50% of the revenue from advertising in their channels. Payments will only be made in TON.

The Central Bank of Russia stated that there is no better option for storing reserves than the Chinese yuan. The bank also noted the increasing role and liquidity of the Chinese currency at the international level in recent years. Last year, the yuan replaced the US dollar as the most traded currency in Russia.

Microsoft and OpenAI plan to create a Stargate data center with an artificial intelligence supercomputer for $100 billion. Information about this appeared in the publication The Information with reference to three sources close to the project.
More analytics on our website: https://bit.ly/3VobLUv

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Financial future on the horizon: US stocks rise ahead of consumer price news

On Tuesday, ahead of the release of key inflation data, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indices showed moderate growth, despite a decline in the financial sector. This happened ahead of the reporting season for leading US banks, which begins on Friday.

The Nasdaq Composite, supported by strength in semiconductors, posted a notable gain, while the S&P 500 gained minimally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed almost unchanged.

Investors were focused on Wednesday's consumer price index, which could have a significant impact on the Federal Reserve's interest rate adjustment decisions in light of recent positive economic data, including an impressive labor market report.

Among the large banks whose reports interested the market were JPMorgan Chase & Co, Wells Fargo & Co and Citigroup Inc, which are included in the S&P banking index and showed a decline in their activity in recent trading.

"Financial companies' first-quarter earnings typically set the pace for the entire season," said Bill Northey, who serves as senior director of investments at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Billings, Montana. "We see cyclical sectors as a measure of the overall health of the corporate landscape in the United States."

Analysts predict that inflation will gradually decline toward the Federal Reserve's target level of 2%. However, the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday reported optimism among small businesses fell to an 11-year low in March, with inflation as the top concern.

"The decline in small business sentiment is a key signal," Green emphasized. "This is a repeat of the trend of recent years, where large companies feel confident, while small businesses experience significant difficulties."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9.13 points, or 0.02%, to close at 38883.67. The S&P 500 rose 7.52 points, or 0.14%, to finish at 5209.91, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 52.68 points, or 0.32%, to close at 16306.64.

Of the 11 key sectors in the S&P 500, nine posted gains, with real estate posting the biggest gains. The financial services sector showed the least dynamics.

According to the latest forecasts from LSEG, overall first-quarter earnings growth for S&P 500 companies is expected to reach 5% year over year, down from initial expectations of 7.2% at the start of the quarter.

Stocks related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology fell, reflecting the decline in the value of Bitcoin. In particular, shares of Coinbase Global and software developer MicroStrategy lost 5.5% and 4.8%, respectively.

Moderna stock stood out, however, rising 6.2% after announcing positive results from an early-stage trial of a customized cancer vaccine developed with Merck.

Alphabet Inc shares also rose 1.1%, moving the company closer to the significant milestone of a $2 trillion market capitalization.

On the New York Stock Exchange, advancers outnumbered decliners by a 1.44-to-1 ratio. On the Nasdaq, advancers outnumbered decliners by a 1.33-to-1 ratio.

Oil prices fell for the second day in a row as negotiations to reach a truce in Gaza continue, encountering obstacles from Egyptian and Qatari mediators. On Monday, Brent oil prices fell for the first time in the last five trading sessions, while the price of American oil fell for the first time in the last seven days.

The US dollar is showing stability amid investors' anticipation of the upcoming US inflation data expected on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Japanese yen remains near its multi-year lows, prompting vigilance among traders about possible moves by Japan to stabilize the currency.

Those expectations bode well for the big banks' first quarterly earnings reports on Friday.

"We are on the verge of important inflation data and financial reports. Some investors may choose to adopt a more conservative strategy ahead of these key events," said Jeff Kleintop, chief global investment strategist at Schwab.

"Despite the stock market's strong first quarter performance, the question remains whether earnings were strong enough to support this development, and whether guidance from business leaders will be able to confirm the more confident growth expectations that the market has already priced in?"

At the beginning of the trading day, the shares showed growth, but then the dynamics weakened, and by the close of trading, some of them were able to partially recover lost positions.

Gene Goldman, chief investment officer at Cetera Investment Management, said: "With current high valuations and questions about the Federal Reserve's rate plans, markets are reflecting the situation with perfect accuracy. Any higher-than-expected CPI reading could make it difficult to be optimistic about a Fed rate cut."

The MSCI global equity index rose 1.32 points, or 0.17%, to 779.36, recovering from an earlier decline of about 0.5%.

Europe's STOXX 600 index fell 0.61% as investors awaited a policy statement from the European Central Bank on Thursday, paying particular attention to any comments from President Christine Lagarde about a possible rate cut in June.

US Treasury yields fell in anticipation of the release of US inflation data.

Expectations for a rate cut in the US have weakened amid continued economic activity. Markets place the likelihood of a 25 basis point rate cut in June at about 56%, down from 61.5% last week, according to analysis from CME Group's FedWatch tool.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell 6.6 basis points to 4.358%, down from 4.424% at the end of the previous day, while the 30-year yield fell 5.7 basis points to 4.4964%. with 4.553%.

The yield on two-year U.S. Treasury notes, which often reacts to changes in interest rate expectations, eased 5.1 basis points, falling to 4.7384% from 4.789% late Monday.

The foreign exchange market was little changed, with the US dollar index down 0.02% at 104.09, while the euro weakened 0.01% at $1.0857. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar lost 0.03% to settle at 151.74.

Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki stressed the country is open to all options to deal with the yen's excessive fluctuations, reiterating its readiness to act in response to the currency's recent sharp decline.

In energy, despite ongoing instability in the Middle East, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has adjusted upward its forecasts for US crude oil production for the current and next years, and also raised its forecasts for global and domestic oil prices .

US oil prices fell 1.39%, or $1.20, to $85.23 per barrel. At the same time, Brent crude oil prices fell 1.06%, or $0.96, to trade at $89.42 per barrel.

Analysts said the spot price of gold hit a new record for eight straight sessions, supported by strong buying by central banks and rising geopolitical instability.

The price of spot gold increased by 0.57%, reaching $2,352.23 per ounce. At the same time, gold futures in the US showed an increase of 0.84%, settling at $2,351.40 per ounce.

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CRASH ON WALL STREET: INFLATION VS. RATE CUT

On Wednesday, American stock markets experienced a decline, reaching minimum closing levels against the backdrop of published inflation data, which exceeded experts' expectations. The figures dampened investor optimism that the US Federal Reserve could begin cutting interest rates by the summer.

The publication of the US Department of Labor's report on the consumer price index (CPI), which showed results worse than expected, caused an immediate negative reaction in the markets. Major US stock indexes fell sharply into the red as trading began, highlighting the difficulty of getting inflation back to the Fed's 2% target.

Ryan Detrick, lead market analyst at Carson Group, noted that the surprise inflation data led to a "sell first, ask questions later" strategy. This in turn cast doubt not only on the timing of the first rate cut, but also on the size of the upcoming cut.

Concerns outlined in the minutes of the Fed's March meeting indicate a possible stagnation of inflation towards the target level, which may require the extension of tight monetary policy beyond the expected period.

U.S. Treasury yields jumped while stock indexes felt pressured to decline after reporting higher-than-expected growth in consumer prices in March. This event reduced confidence in how quickly and to what extent the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates.

In the foreign exchange market, the US dollar index strengthened in response to the release of data, and the dollar against the Japanese yen reached its highest level since 1990. Investors are closely monitoring the possible reaction of the Japanese authorities, who may take steps to stabilize the yen.

A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a 0.4% rise in the consumer price index last month, mirroring February's trend, due in large part to increases in gasoline and housing costs. This resulted in an annual growth index of 3.5%, compared with economists' forecasts for 0.3% monthly growth and 3.4% annual growth.

These indicators significantly changed the mood of traders, significantly reducing expectations for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates in June from 62% to 17%. In addition, the likelihood of a July rate cut was also revised down from 76% to 41%, according to data from CME Group's FedWatch tool.

Michael Hans, chief investment officer at Citizens Private Wealth, emphasizes that the current environment remains uncertain and challenging for the Federal Reserve, which has yet to declare victory over inflation.

"The Fed would prefer to rely on additional data to support its confidence in achieving its 2% inflation target," he says. He said the current situation requires a continuation of a cautious strategy, especially as recent data has prompted a revision of expectations regarding the timing of a potential interest rate cut.

Elevated yields on major US government bonds, which topped the 4.5% threshold and reached their highest since last November, put further pressure on stock prices. Sectors most sensitive to changes in interest rates were particularly affected, with the real estate market recording its largest daily decline since June 2022.

Housing stocks posted their biggest daily decline since Jan. 23, while the small-cap Russell 2000 index posted its biggest daily decline since Feb. 13.

Ryan Detrick noted that "the sectors most exposed to interest rates, including real estate, homebuilding and small-cap companies, experienced significant losses today."

The likelihood of the Fed cutting interest rates by 25 basis points in June fell to 16.5% from 56% just before the report, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 422.16 points, down 1.09%, to 38,461.51. The S&P 500 fell 49.27 points (down 0.95%) to 5,160.64 and the Nasdaq composite fell 136.28 points (down 0.84%) to 16,170.36.

Among the eleven key sectors of the S&P 500 index, all but energy ended the trading day in the red, with real estate posting the biggest decline.

Investors' eyes are now on Thursday's upcoming producer price report, which will provide a clearer picture of inflation in March, as well as the unofficial start of quarterly earnings season.

A new round of reporting begins on Friday when financial giants such as JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc, and Wells Fargo & Co report their financial results.

Analysts expect overall first-quarter S&P 500 earnings to rise 5.0% year-over-year, a notable decline from the 7.2% growth forecast at the start of January, according to LSEG.

Megacorporations in the growth sector were mostly down, but Nvidia Inc was the exception, rising 2.0%.

US shares of Alibaba also saw a 2.2% gain after Jack Ma, the company's co-founder, addressed a memo to employees in which he supported plans to restructure the Internet giant. It's a rare message from a businessman who has stayed out of the public eye in recent years.

On the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), decliners far outnumbered advancers by a ratio of 5.93 to 1. A similar trend was seen on the Nasdaq, where for every gainer, 3.58 falling stocks.

MSCI's global equity index fell 6.91 points, or 0.89%, to 772.32.

While Europe's STOXX 600 index ended modestly up 0.15%, investors' eyes are on the upcoming European Central Bank meeting on Thursday. Forecasts say the bank is likely to keep its current interest rate unchanged, despite earlier hints of a possible rate cut in June.

In the government bond sector, the 10-year US Treasury yield surged above 10 basis points to reach its highest since mid-November following the inflation data. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield jumped 18 basis points to 4.546% and the 30-year Treasury yield jumped 12.8 basis points to 4.6273%.

The 2-year yield, closely linked to interest rate expectations, rose 22.2 basis points to 4.9688%, hitting its highest since mid-November.

In the foreign exchange market, the US dollar strengthened its position, rising 1.04% to 105.17, while the euro fell 1.04% to $1.0742. Against the Japanese yen, the US dollar rose 0.77% to 152.94.

Oil prices also saw gains, with U.S. crude rising 1.15%, or 98 cents, to $86.21 a barrel, while Brent rose 1.19%, or $1.06, to $90. .48 dollars per barrel.

Gold lost value as the dollar strengthened and Treasury yields rose following an update on inflation data. The spot gold price fell 0.91% to $2,331.12 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures fell 0.58% to $2,329.90 an ounce.

More analytics on our website: https://bit.ly/3VobLUv

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Trading Signals for GOLD (XAU/USD) for April 16-18, 2024: sell below $2,390 (21 SMA - 61.8% Fibonacci)

Yesterday during the American session, gold reached a low of 2,325, the level that coincided with the 200 EMA and from that area, it gained a strong bullish momentum, jumping by more than $50 in less than 24 hours.

From the all-time high at 2,431 to the April 15 low (2,324), gold has retraced the 61.8% Fibonacci which coincides around 2,390.

If gold trades below 2,392 in the next few hours, we could look for opportunities to sell with the target at 2,364 (21 SMA). With a consolidation below the 21 SMA, we could expect a further bearish move and gold could fall to the 200 EMA at 2,331.

In case gold continues to rise, the bearish outlook will be invalidated and we could look for opportunities to buy above the psychological level of 2,400. If this scenario occurs and gold consolidates above 2,396, the price is likely to reach 2,410 and could finally reach 2,435 (7/8 Murray).

Technically, the eagle indicator is giving a negative signal and there will likely be a technical correction in the next few hours, so we will look to sell below 2,392 with the target at 2,330.

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