12:20pm: Traders step on the gas
In the US, the Dow surged 287 points, 0.9%, to hit 34,017 at midday. The Nasdaq gained 132 points, 1%, to 13,990, and the S&P 500 improved 38 points, 0.9%, to 4,163.
“US markets have hit record highs once again, with a positive outlook from the banks coupled with strong economic data,” Senior Market Analyst Joshua Mahony wrote. “Treasury yields have slumped despite this economic outperformance, helping to lift precious metals and tech stocks.”
Retail sales jumped 9.8% in March, according to data from the Commerce Department, well ahead of Street expectatioons of 6.1% and a sharp reversal from a 2.7% dip in February.
9:37pm: Economic data fuels morning gains
The main indices on Wall Street got off to a positive start on Wednesday as optimism around earnings season held sway.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.67% at 33,956, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.74% to 4,155 and the Nasdaq rose 1% to 13,996.
Sentiment has also been given a boost by better than expected US retail sales figures, which surged 9.8% month on month in March, compared to estimates of a rise of 5.9%-6.3%, as well as a sharp fall in weekly jobless claims to 576,000 last week, the lowest level recorded so far during the pandemic.
8:00am: Wall Street expected to start higher
Wall Street is forecast to make a positive start to trading, with sentiment still buoyant after Wednesday’s positive results from Goldman Sachs.
Also key will be retail sales, which will be scrutinised for signs of a boost to the economy, but also inflationary pressures.
Sophie Griffiths at Oanda said: “Investors will be watching US retail sales data for March, which is expected to show a leap in consumer spending. Forecasts are for a 6.3% increase in sales month-on-month, up from a 3.5% decline in February
“Improving weather conditions plus the disbursement of stimulus cheques are factors expected to ramp up retail sales.
“Treasury yields here will be key – a surge in sales could send yields higher and actually drag on stocks. This data will test the extent to which the markets have bought into the Fed’s dovish mantra.”
So far the markets are accentuating the positive.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is forecast to open around 147 points or 0.41% higher at 33,877 while the S&P 500 is set for a similar percentage increase and the Nasdaq Composite expected to rise 0.65%.
Four things to watch for on Thursday:
- Aside from PepsiCo and Bank of America, results are also due today from private healthcare firm UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) and finance giant Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C)
- Lab equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (NYSE:TMO) will also be in focus after agreeing to snap up rival PPD Inc (NASDAQ:PPD) in a US$17.4bn deal
- Meanwhile, shares in newly listed crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN) may attract more interest on its second day of trading following news it has secured backing from the ARK investment fund
- On the macro front, US retail sales will be the key bit of data alongside weekly jobless claims and production figures
Story by ProactiveInvestors
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