Wall Street ticks higher at the start of a week packed with key reports

AP , Monday 29 Apr 2024

Stocks are ticking higher as Wall Street readies for a week packed with potentially market-moving news.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading in New York City. AFP


The S&P 500 rose 0.3% in early trading Monday, coming off its best week since November. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 108 points, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.4%. Tesla jumped 12%. Amazon and Apple will report their latest earnings this week along with roughly a third of the the companies in the S&P 500. The Federal Reserve announces its latest decision on interest rate policy on Wednesday, and the government’s closely watched monthly report on jobs is due out on Friday.

Global shares were trading higher Monday amid optimism over the rally that ended the week on Wall Street, although eyes were on the Federal Reserve policy meeting set for later this week.

France's CAC 40 added 0.3% in early trading to 8,109.22, while Germany's DAX edged up 0.2% to 18,198.89. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.5% to 8,176.36. US shares were set to drift higher with S&P 500 futures up 0.2% at 5,144.00. Dow futures rose 0.2% to 38,509.00.

Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.8% to 7,637.40. South Korea's Kospi surged 1.2% to 2,687.44. Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.5% to 17,746.91, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.8% to 3,113.04.

Trading was closed in Tokyo for a holiday, Showa Day. Japan has a series of holidays coming up known as the Golden Week, through Monday.

Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said the market mood was positive after last week's Wall Street tech-driven rally.

The recent string of strong earnings have boosted market sentiments, but what could be a risk factor is the declining Japanese yen, he added.

“Investors will be closely monitoring the latest developments in the remarkable and volatile decline of the Japanese yen against the US dollar and other major currencies,” Innes said.

The yen reached a new 34-year low after the Bank of Japan’s decision to keep interest rates unchanged Friday. That was in line with expectations, but what was unexpected was the central bank’s apparent lack of significant concern about the exchange rate, Innes added.

In currency trading Monday, the U. dollar edged up at one point to 160 Japanese yen levels, before cascading downward, to as low as 155 yen, raising speculation of market intervention by the Bank of Japan. The central bank does not comment on such moves. The finance minister, when questioned by Japanese reporters, declined to comment.

“The medium-term impact of a currency intervention is not a given if the intervention is not backed by a more hawkish policy stance,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.

The dollar cost 155.89 yen in afternoon trading. The euro cost $1.0724, up from $1.0699.

A weak yen can be a boon for Japan's giant exporters like Toyota Motor Corp. by boosting the value of their overseas earnings when converted into yen.

But a weak currency can hurt the economy in the long run because it reduces purchasing power and possible wage growth. Japan imports almost all its energy.

Recent data on US inflation have analysts expecting the Federal Reserve to keep rates on hold. Its main interest rate has been sitting at the highest level since 2001. A report released Friday showed inflation remaining high.

After earlier indicating that three cuts to interest rates could happen this year, top Fed officials have since said they could hold its main interest rate high for a while to ensure inflation heads down toward the 2% target.

In energy trading, benchmark US crude fell 51 cents to $83.34 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 73 cents to $88.77 a barrel.

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