Tech Earnings Buoy Stocks as Traders Brace for Fed: Markets Wrap
Stocks rallied as earnings from a trio of tech heavyweights spurred hope that the industry can handle an economic slowdown, with traders keenly focused on the upcoming Federal Reserve decision for reassurance on the central bank’s resolve to thwart inflation without provoking a deep recession.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell is set to deliver the largest back-to-back rate increase since the early 1980s, with investors seeking signs he’s open to shifting to smaller moves from September amid falling commodity prices. The decision will be announced at 2 p.m. in Washington. No quarterly forecasts will be released and Powell will hold a press conference 30 minutes later.
“Powell will try to strike a Goldilocks tone at the press conference, sounding sufficiently hawkish about inflation without further stoking recession fears,” said Anna Wong is the chief U.S. economist for Bloomberg Economics. He won’t want to sound soft on inflation to avoid giving the impression of a “Fed put” as that could cause financial conditions to ease further — contradicting the Fed’s goal, she added.
One of the biggest surprises the Fed could deliver to the market would be a clearer view of how much further borrowing costs would need to rise to restore price stability. That would mean any steer on the outcome of a major conflict between those who see policy makers starting to bring rates back down early in 2023, and those expecting officials to hold off for some time to come.
The Fed finds itself in an “uncomfortable spot” right now, with traders pricing in a quick pivot from aggressive tightening next year to bolster the economy, according to For Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda.
“The Fed must walk a fine line as any validation of that will undermine its efforts to tighten and get a grip on inflation,” Erlam said. “One thing is clear, it must stress that its primary focus continues to be fighting inflation and the decision coming the day before the GDP data tomorrow makes that a little easier.”
The US economy may have eked out modest growth in the second quarter to skirt a so-called technical recession, yet at a pace tepid enough to feed concerns of an eventual downturn. Economists expect gross domestic product grew an annualized 0.4% in the April-June period, which on the surface would be an improvement after the 1.6% drop in the first quarter. However, the breakdown of second-quarter GDP may illustrate a more concerning softening of demand.
Orders placed with US factories for durable goods rose unexpectedly in June, fueled by a surge in defense aircraft as well as sustained demand for equipment.
Other corporate highlights:
- T-Mobile US Inc. raised its subscriber growth forecast for the second straight quarter, blowing past inflation-related setbacks that ensnared rivals AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
- Boeing Co. generated $81 million in cash from its operations during the second quarter, sharply reversing its heavy cash use earlier this year as the planemaker stepped up deliveries of its highly profitable 737 Max jetliners.
- Kraft Heinz Co. reported sales that topped analysts’ projections, and raised its full-year outlook, as price increases damped demand but drove strong performance.
- Bristol Myers Squibb Co. trimmed its full-year revenue guidance on the strong dollar even as it posted better-than-expected second-quarter results because sales of certain drugs countered lower spending on the blood cancer drug Revlimid.
Here are some key events to watch this week:
- Apple, Amazon earnings, Thursday
- US GDP, Thursday
- Euro-area CPI, Friday
- US PCE deflator, personal income, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, Friday
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Some of the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 rose 1.3% as of 11:14 a.m. New York time
- The Nasdaq 100 rose 2.7%
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4%
- The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.5%
- The MSCI World index rose 0.9%
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed
- The euro rose 0.1% to $1.0129
- The British pound rose 0.1% to $1.2045
- The Japanese yen fell 0.2% to 137.18 per dollar
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined five basis points to 2.76%
- Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at 0.92%
- Britain’s 10-year yield advanced three basis points to 1.94%
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2.3% to $97.16 a barrel
- Gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,733.10 an ounce
–With assistance from Andreea Papuc, Abigail Moses and Vildana Hajric.