Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell answers a question at a press conference following a closed two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on interest rate policy at the Federal Reserve in Washington, U.S., November 1, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
There is a strong current of optimism surging through global markets that rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, Bank of England, European Central Bank and others are over.
If the Fed delivered a ‘dovish’ pause on Wednesday, the BoE delivered a ‘hawkish’ pause on Thursday. But the over-arching reaction across markets was the same – huge rallies in bonds, stocks and risk assets.
Investors are now looking to when the easing cycles start and how far they go. Around 70 to 75 basis points of Fed easing next year is priced into the U.S. curve, and almost 50 bps of expected rate cuts is reflected in the UK curve.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell and other policymakers around the world may insist that policy needs to remain restrictive and that rate cuts are simply not on the agenda, but markets have the bit between their teeth – the pivot is in place.
Bond yields slumped again on Thursday – the U.S. 10-year yield is down around 40 basis points from its peak above 5% only a few days ago – the dollar fell. That’s music to emerging market ears.
Asian stocks jumped 1.7% for their best day since July. Given the strength of the rally on Wall Street and around the world later in the day, few would bet against another strong rise on Friday.
The S&P 500 chalked up its best day in six months, also boosted by strong corporate earnings and guidance – Apple reported forecast-beating quarterly sales and profit, although shares fell slightly in after hours trade.
Graphics are produced by Reuters.
The three main Wall Street indexes are well on course to register their best week of the year, all eyeing weekly gains of around 5%.
Japan’s Nikkei followed Wednesday’s 2.4% leap with a 1.1% spike on Thursday. Although the yen rebounded a bit Thursday, it is still below 150 per dollar near last year’s 33-year low and is languishing at its lowest level in over half a century on a real effective exchange rate basis.
If the Caixin non-manufacturing purchasing managers report on Friday signals contraction in services – September’s 50.2 showed slender growth – Chinese stocks could buck the global trend and close lower on the day and the week.
Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Friday:
China, India services PMI (October)
Australia manufacturing, services PMIs (October)
Fed’s Barr, Barkin, Kashkari speak
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