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Stocks rise on renewed hopes of rate cuts

By AFP

May 6, 2024 07:33 PM


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Stock markets advanced on Monday on renewed optimism that the US Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year and a positive corporate earnings season.

Wall Street opened higher while eurozone equities were up in afternoon deals after Hong Kong and Shanghai closed in the green.

London and Tokyo were shut for bank holidays.

Investors welcomed data on Friday that showed US job growth had slowed in April, raising hopes that the Fed will lower rates in September.

"The Fed won't be in a position to cut its interest rates right away, but is given a higher chance to do so a bit earlier than what was expected at the start of last week," said Swissquote bank analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya.

She put the odds of a September cut at 67 percent.

But she cautioned that the timing "would be a politically uncomfortable time for the Fed" as it would come ahead of the November presidential election.

"No-one at the Fed wants to be pointed at for manipulating the (election) results," she explained.

Investors have also lifted their outlook on how many rate cuts there would be, although the two priced in are still well short of the six envisaged at the start of the year.

The Fed had previously been expected to start cutting rates in June as inflation slowed but an uptick in consumer price growth and strong US economic data changed expectations.

The central bank kept rates at a 23-year high last week, citing a "lack of further progress" towards inflation slowing to its two-percent target.

Fed boss Jerome Powell reassured investors, however, that while the central bank was prepared to hold rates steady as long as necessary, its next move was unlikely to be a hike.

Hopes for a September cut rose after the non-farm payroll report on Friday showed the US economy added 175,000 jobs in April, down from 315,000 in March, while wage growth was also slower than forecast.

"The softer wage growth and a slight increase in unemployment may ease some of the Federal Reserve's concerns about implementing rate cuts this summer," said Stephen Innes at SPI Asset Management.

"The unexpected weakness across the key labour series is a much-needed friendly surprise for policymakers."

Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at City Index and Forex.com, said investor sentiment also "remains positive owing to signs of a turnaround in Chinese and European economies".

"What's more, earnings have been quite good from the S&P 500 companies, especially those of big US tech firms," he told AFP.

More companies will publish quarterly results this week after Apple contributed to a rally last week with forecast-busting earnings and a huge stock buyback.

Analysts warned that geopolitics could affect sentiment.

French President Emmanuel Macron and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping at a Paris summit to use Beijing's influence to halt the Russian war against Ukraine.

They also told the Chinese leader to accept fair global trade rules.

Oil prices rose slightly as Israel's military called for the evacuation of Palestinians from eastern Rafah ahead of a ground invasion of the city in Gaza.

"The market ... might be feeling better about the earnings outlook and the interest rate outlook, but the geopolitical backdrop remains a challenge to say the least," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

- Key figures around 1345 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 38,829.71 points

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.6 percent at 5,156.96

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.6 at 16,244.61

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.5 percent at 7,993.82

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 18,130.71

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.6 percent at 4,948.93

London - FTSE 100: Closed for a holiday

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.6 percent at 18,578.30 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 3,140.72 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday

Dollar/yen: UP at 153.76 yen from 152.99 yen on Friday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0785 from $1.0767

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2584 from $1.2546

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.71 from 85.78 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.9 percent at $78.80 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: UP 0.8 percent at $83.63 per barrel

 

 


AFP


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