Wall Street stocks advanced on Thursday following strong Big Tech earnings, as traders shrugged off data showing slower than expected growth for the US economy.
The benchmark S&P 500 gained 1.6 per cent, putting it on course for its biggest daily rise since mid-March, with Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet contributing the largest gains.
Meta was the best performer, however, advancing 15 per cent after posting stronger than expected first-quarter results and touting its investments in artificial intelligence. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 2.3 per cent.
US government bonds came under pressure after fresh data showed that gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 1.1 per cent in the first quarter of the year. That was down from a 2.6 per cent increase in the final three months of 2022 and below economists’ expectations of 2 per cent, according to a Reuters poll. The labour market is showing signs of resilience, however, as new applicants for unemployment aid in the US fell in the week to April 22.
“There is something to grab on to for both the bulls and the bears in today’s data release,” said Alexandra Wilson-Elizondo, co-head of portfolio management for multi-asset solutions at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
The policy-sensitive two-year Treasury yield rose 0.17 percentage points to 4.09 per cent. The benchmark 10-year yield rose roughly 0.1 percentage points to 3.53 per cent. Bond yields rise as their prices fall.
A measure of the dollar against six other currencies added 0.2 per cent.
Economic growth is slowing but “isn’t yet collapsing”, said Andrew Hunter, deputy chief US economist at Capital Economics, who expects the drag from higher interest rates and tighter credit conditions caused by March’s banking panic to eventually push the US into a “mild” recession.
The S&P is roughly flat for the month, having rallied in March even as three midsized banks failed. “I think we’re looking at downside for a while,” said Mike Zigmont, head of trading at Harvest Volatility Management.
“It’s not necessarily because the market is bad or the world is bad etc, it’s simply because the optimism from mid-March came out of nowhere and wasn’t vindicated by news or events. It was a speculative rally where the speculation was off,” he added.
European stocks inched higher as investors waded through a host of first-quarter corporate earnings. The region-wide Stoxx 600 added 0.2 per cent, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3 per cent and France’s Cac 40 index rose 0.2 per cent.
Shares of consumer goods group Unilever rose 1.3 per cent after it reported record first-quarter revenue of €14.8bn, while shares in Deutsche Bank jumped 2.8 per cent after the German lender said profit hit its highest level in a decade in the first quarter.
Asian stocks rose, with China’s CSI 300 index up 0.7 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gaining 0.4 per cent.
Read the full article here