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Stocks mixed before Fed; earnings spur US tech: markets wrap

The dollar edged up.
Image: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Asian stocks fluctuated Wednesday after their biggest slide in two months as investors mulled a slew of earnings reports and awaited the conclusion of a Federal Reserve policy meeting. The dollar edged up.

Equities climbed in Japan and fell in Australia, which reopened after a holiday. Nasdaq 100 futures jumped after Microsoft Corp.’s fiscal second-quarter sales rose at a faster clip than analysts had projected. S&P 500 and European contracts dipped. The US benchmark ended an up-and-down session slightly lower on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Treasury yields were steady, oil advanced and Bitcoin dipped below the $32 000 level.

Global stocks are mostly treading water near record highs as US corporate earnings roll in. New coronavirus variants that sparked fresh lockdowns and other restrictions are weighing on the so-called reflation trade that bets on an end to curbs. Investors are also seeking more clarity on the timeline for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan, and awaiting the Federal Reserve monetary policy decision later Wednesday.

“For the reopening trade to really have persistence it is going to need to show a much broader participation across the market,” Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust, said on Bloomberg TV. “The virus vaccine rollout is the most important development to help give confidence in the shape of the recovery.”

Data showed global coronavirus cases surpassed 100 million. The UK became the first nation in Europe with 100 000 deaths. The Biden administration intends to order 100 million more doses each of Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc.’s coronavirus vaccines and at least temporarily speed up shipments to states.

These are some key events coming up in the week ahead:

  • Apple, Tesla, Facebook and Samsung Electronics are among companies reporting results.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee monetary policy decision and briefing by Chair Jerome Powell are scheduled for Wednesday.
  • Fourth-quarter GDP, initial jobless claims and new home sales are among US data releases Thursday.
  • US personal income, spending and pending home sales come Friday.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures fell 0.1% as of 6:20 a.m. in London. The S&P 500 Index fell 0.2%.
  • Topix index rose 0.7%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.7%.
  • Kospi index fell 0.4%.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.1%.
  • Shanghai Composite dipped 0.1%.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures fell 0.3%.

Currencies

  • The yen traded at 103.67 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan was at 6.4689 per dollar.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index added 0.1%.
  • The euro traded at $1.2163.
  • The British pound was at $1.3743.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was at 1.03%.
  • Australia’s 10-year bond yield fell two basis points to 1.09%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.7% to $53 per barrel.
  • Gold was steady at $1,850 an ounce.
© 2021 Bloomberg

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