Pirmadienis, 20 gegužės, 2024
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US Stocks Experience Volatility Amid Mixed Economic Data and Monetary Policy Uncertainty

The US stock market witnessed a day of mixed economic data on Thursday, as gains from earlier in the session were trimmed down, leaving the major indices with only slight increases. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to add 52 points, contributing to a day of fluctuating sentiment. In contrast, the S&P 500 remained relatively muted, while the Nasdaq Composite eked out a modest gain of 0.1%. This rollercoaster ride reflects the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy and the intricate web of economic indicators.

One of the key factors influencing market sentiment was the fresh evidence of disinflation within the US economy. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a widely tracked measure of inflation, reported a marginal dip below the forecasted figures for July. Moreover, the core CPI showed its smallest consecutive increase in the span of two years.

Interest rates

This data aligned with market expectations that the Federal Reserve might hold off on raising interest rates in its upcoming September meeting. Resulting in a rally that initially lifted equities around the globe.

However, the upward momentum lost steam following remarks from Mary Daly, the President of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. She suggested that the central bank could maintain borrowing costs at a restrictive level for an extended period. This comment served as a reminder that despite the market’s optimism about interest rates remaining unchanged. There could be nuances in the Fed’s approach that need to be considered.

Interest rates Mixed Economic
US Interest rates

Market

Among the notable movers in the market, Alibaba’s US-traded shares surged by 3.7% after the company reported quarterly results that surpassed forecasts. The company’s revenue witnessed its most significant increase since Q3 2021. On the other hand, Disney’s stocks saw a gain of 4.8% despite the company posting mixed results. This paradoxical movement might have been driven by investor focus on the announced upcoming price hike for ad-free Disney+ subscriptions.

Economics

The US government budget deficit painted a concerning picture, with July 2023 recording a deficit of USD 221 billion. This figure marked an increase from the USD 211 billion gap observed in the corresponding period of the previous year. The deficit also fell short of market expectations, which had anticipated a USD 109 billion deficit.

The rising deficit is largely attributed to a 3.4% increase in outlays, reaching $497 billion, coupled with a 2.5% rise in revenues, amounting to USD 276 billion. Looking at the broader fiscal picture, the first ten months of the fiscal year witnessed a budget gap of USD 1.613 trillion. More than double the USD 726 billion deficit recorded in the previous year.

Unemployment claims in the US exhibited a concerning trend, with a jump of 21,000 individuals filing for benefits in the week ending August 5th. This marked the highest figure in one month and exceeded the expectations of 230,000 claims. While the unemployment level remains historically low. This increase is seen as an early indicator that the previously tight labor market might be softening.

This trend aligns with recent speculation that the Federal Reserve could refrain from implementing further tightening of monetary policy this year. On a more positive note, continuing claims fell by 26,000. Suggesting that unemployed individuals are still finding relatively favorable conditions for reemployment.

Money

The US 10-year Treasury note yield retraced slightly from its recent nine-month high of 4.19% on August 3rd. This easing in yields was influenced by a cooler-than-expected CPI report. Which reinforced market expectations of a cautious approach from the Federal Reserve regarding interest rate hikes.

The report showed a 3.2% annual increase in consumer prices, slightly below the forecasted 3.3%. The core CPI also came in lower than expected, with a 4.7% year-on-year increase. The unexpected rise in initial unemployment claims further fueled the sentiment that the Fed might not rush into tightening monetary policy.

As a result of these mixed signals, financial markets are now pricing in a 75% likelihood that the Federal Reserve will maintain its terminal rate at 5.5%. This contrasts with the previous median projection of a 5.75% terminal rate, as reflected in the latest Summary of Economic Projections. However, despite the uncertainty and potential easing of monetary policy, higher bond issuance has somewhat limited a stronger rebound. An example of this was the recent $38 billion auction of 10-year notes, which resulted in a higher yield of 3.999%, compared to the 3.857% yield observed in July.

GBPUSD
GBPUSD Sell Short signal @1.2619

Stocks and signals

Against this backdrop, American Express saw its stock price slide to a 10-week low of 163.01. This movement might reflect broader market jitters and investor concerns about the evolving economic landscape and the potential impact on various sectors.

American Express
AXP Buy long signal @169.82

Conclusion

In conclusion, the recent volatility in the US stock market highlights the delicate balancing act that investors face as they navigate through a landscape of mixed economic data and ongoing uncertainty regarding the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy stance. The interplay of indicators, such as inflation data, unemployment claims, and central bank communication, will continue to shape market sentiment in the coming months. As such, investors should remain vigilant and adaptable in response to the evolving economic narrative.

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