What you need to know before the opening bell: April 24, 2019
U.S. equities held steady as investors assessed corporate earnings and economic data. Treasuries joined a global rally in sovereign bonds and the dollar extended its rally to a six-week high.
The S&P 500 Index swung between small losses and gains after Tuesday’s record close. AT&T Inc. and Caterpillar Inc. fell after reporting first-quarter results, while Boeing Co. rose. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was set to snap the longest rally since 2017. The euro slipped after key gauges of confidence in the EU’s two largest economies deteriorated. The loonie fell to the weakest since January after the Bank of Canada abandoned its bias toward raising rates.
U.S. stocks have been on a tear since late last year, but the fresh record Tuesday appears to have triggered a pause and some soul-searching among investors. Although about 80 percent of S&P 500 companies reporting results so far have exceeded estimates, some are starting to question whether the rally has legs. Positive earnings surprises in Europe, meanwhile, have done little to erase lingering concerns about the region’s economic outlook. Still ahead is U.S. first-quarter gross domestic product data due on Friday.
“Overall, we’ve seen somewhat better-than-expected earnings coming in,” said Bill Merz, the head of fixed-income research at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “But we do see softness in economic data across the globe, and while there are some signs of potential bottoming outside the U.S., we do see enough signs of slowing growth.”
Asian stock gauges were mixed Wednesday. In China, markets got little help from the central bank’s move to support liquidity in the banking system by injecting the equivalent of about $40 billion in medium-term loans. Policy makers have refrained from stronger measures, such as lowering benchmark lending rates, as an upturn in economic data reduces the pressure for more stimulus.
Elsewhere, the pound was steady as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May pushed to get Brexit a deal through Parliament by the end of the month. Emerging-market currencies and shares fell.
Here are some notable events coming up:A Who’s Who of the tech world reports this week, with Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft among the heavy hitters on tap. European bank earnings kick into full gear with reports from Deutsche Bank, UBS, Barclays and Swedbank. The Bank of Japan, Bank of Russia, Sweden’s Riksbank and Bank of Indonesia set monetary policy. Japan’s Shinzo Abe meets leaders of the European Union Thursday before flying to the U.S. for a summit with President Donald Trump. The initial print on first-quarter U.S. GDP Friday will be closely watched for clues as to how the economy responded to the government shutdown and fallout from the fourth-quarter market rout.
These are the main market moves:
The S&P 500 Index rose 0.1 per cent as of 11:13 a.m. in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1 per cent, the first retreat in two weeks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.4 per cent. The MSCI Emerging Market Index declined 0.6 per cent.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index added 0.3 per cent. The euro fell 0.3 per cent to US$1.1193, the weakest in more than three weeks. The Japanese yen gained 0.1 per cent to 111.72 per dollar. The British pound rose 0.1 per cent to US$1.2955. The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index sank 0.4 per cent to the lowest since March.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped four basis points to 2.52 per cent. Germany’s 10-year yield declined six basis points to -0.02 per cent. Britain’s 10-year yield decreased five basis points to 1.17 per cent.
The Bloomberg Commodity Index fell 0.2 per cent. West Texas crude fell 0.5 per cent to US$65.95 a barrel. Copper rose 0.4 per cent to US$2.9115 a pound. Gold rose 0.2 per cent to US$1,274.75 an ounce.