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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Stocks rise as traders await earnings and Fed decision

Equity markets cautiously inched higher on Tuesday as traders awaited upcoming company earnings and central bank meetings. The Stoxx Europe 600 and Nasdaq 100 index futures saw gains, but investors refrained from significant bets due to uncertainty surrounding signals from the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank policymakers.

With the Fed’s potential policy path being crucial for global markets, this week’s earnings reports from major companies like Microsoft, LVMH, and Google parent Alphabet also contributed to market jitters.

A euro zone bank lending survey indicated a record plunge in loan demand from companies in the bloc, raising questions about the ECB’s capacity to hike interest rates beyond current expectations. However, in the US, hopes of escaping a sharp recession have lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average this month, particularly for companies in industrial equipment and heavy machinery sectors.

Notable movements in the European earnings arena include consumer goods giant Unilever Plc and spirits group Remy Cointreau posting gains after strong sales performances, while French software maker Dassault Systems SE and Bayer AG experienced declines due to disappointing results and guidance cuts, respectively.

Chinese leaders’ signals of increased aid to the economy boosted technology shares and property stocks in Hong Kong, while US-listed Chinese stocks continued their rally in premarket trading. This stimulus sentiment also positively impacted emerging market stocks and resources companies like Anglo American Plc and Rio Tinto Plc, as well as commodities like iron ore and copper.

Currency-wise, the offshore yuan and the Australian dollar strengthened, while the traders Spot Index fell slightly. Yields on 10-year Treasuries and traders bonds saw modest increases.

In summary, the markets remained cautious, driven by uncertainties in global economic conditions and corporate performance, while certain positive signs and stimulus measures from influenced specific segments of the market.

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