record breaking rally unfolds as fed signals rate cuts 64

Market Trends

Record-Breaking Rally Unfolds as Fed Signals Rate Cuts


Robert Tavares

March 20, 2024 - 23:22 pm


Market Optimism Rises as Fed Aligns with Rate Cut Expectations

Asian stock markets were set for a robust increase in trading activities on Thursday, following a promising lead from Wall Street, where indices surged to record highs. The surge came as the Federal Reserve's latest statement resonated with market projections of three imminent interest rate cuts within the year. Concurrently, the price of gold soared, reaching a historical milestone by surpassing $2,200 an ounce.

Rally Across the Global Markets

Futures in equity markets across major Asian economies, including Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong, displayed positive momentum. The U.S. equities' leap was spearheaded by the S&P 500, which climbed 0.9%, culminating in a fresh peak, whereas the Nasdaq 100 — known for its tech-centric portfolio sensitive to policy shifts — escalated by 1.2%.

Fueling the rally, the cohort dubbed the 'Magnificent Seven,' a collection of mega-cap stocks, scaled new zeniths. Not to be overshadowed, U.S. small-cap stocks, widely regarded as economic health barometers, surged by almost 2%. This jump marked their most robust session performance in over a month, traditionally a signal of confidence in economic expansion.

Bonds and Monetary Policy Echos

In parallel to the equities leap, Australasian bonds, including those from Australia and New Zealand, amplified their value. This mimicked the spike observed in U.S. Treasuries, where there was a notable yield drop, particularly at the shorter end. Two-year yields plummeted eight basis points while the ten-year yields edged down by two basis points. The shift showcased amplified anticipation of Federal Reserve's rate hike maneuvers as early as June, as the dollar's value took a dive.

Fed's Outlook and Rate Cut Prospects

Amidst varying signs of inflation, policymakers maintained their projected outlook of slicing interest rates thrice in the year 2024. They demonstrated a propensity toward decelerating the pace of their bond portfolio shrinkage, implying a lack of alarm over the recent uptick in inflation rates. Jerome Powell, the Fed's chair, underscored the necessity for more conclusive evidence of diminishing prices. Yet, he also suggested a trend towards an easing of rates could be deemed appropriate at some point within the current year.

Krishna Guha, Evercore ISI’s vice chairman, commented on the Federal Reserve's press conference in March, describing it as an extension of the 'bullish-dovish message' initiated by the initial set of Fed releases. Guha summarized the stance of the Federal Reserve as desiring to lower rates, albeit responsibly and at the soonest suitable opportunity.

Dollar and Yen Movements

The Bloomberg dollar index continued its downward trajectory after slipping by 0.4% on the previous Wednesday, with the decline coming on the heels of falling Treasury yields and dampening a recent surge. Meanwhile, the Japanese yen saw stabilization early on Thursday following its declines in the last session, trading at about 151 per dollar.

Economic Indicators Across the Globe

The New Zealand economy faced an unexpected hurdle as it nose-dived into a recession in the latter half of the year 2023. A surprising contraction of 0.1% occurred in the output during the year's fourth quarter, indicating its second consecutive quarter of negative growth.

Amid a busy schedule for economic data releases, trade figures out of Japan stood on the horizon, complemented by Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) figures for both India and Japan. Additionally, inflation metrics for Hong Kong were set for dissemination. In Taiwan, eyes were on the government as a crucial monetary policy decision was impending.

Corporate Landscape and Initial Public Offerings

On the corporate news front, Reddit Inc. made headlines by raking in $748 million through an initial public offering. The sought-after shares were priced at the higher end of the anticipated range. On the other side of the tech spectrum, Tencent Holdings Ltd. was rumored to bolster its stock buyback program to a staggering amount of at least $12.8 billion for the ongoing year.

Precious Metals and Cryptocurrency Surge

Reflecting on commodities, gold's value rallied to an astonishing $2,200 an ounce for the first time, spurred by the Federal Reserve's commentary. Traditionally, the precious metal thrives in a low-interest rate environment since it does not yield interest. In the digital currency space, Bitcoin stemmed off its prior depreciatory trend and punched through the $67,000 mark. WTI (West Texas Intermediate), the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, experienced an upturn after a drop on Wednesday.

Market Watchlist for the Week

Financial markets across the globe braced for a series of significant events. Within the Eurozone, the Service and Manufacturing PMI by S&P Global were slated for release. Similarly, the Bank of England's rate decision was highly anticipated. In the United States, key economic indicators such as the Conference Board leading index, existing home sales figures, and initial jobless claims data awaited release.

Corporate earnings were also in the spotlight, with giants like Nike and FedEx scheduled to disclose their quarterly performances. Additionally, Japan's Consumer Price Index (CPI) readings were expected, revealing the inflation state in the economy. Germany's business climate index, another critical factor, was imminent.

The calendar also marked speeches by notable figures in the economic sphere, with Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and European Central Bank's Robert Holzmann and Philip Lane set to provide insights, potentially influencing market sentiment.

Market Preview: Anticipating Asian Trading Session

Ahead of the Tokyo trading hour commencing at 7:44 a.m., future indicators for major stock markets hinted at positive developments. The S&P 500 futures were up by 0.2%, while Hang Seng futures had a more significant uptick of 0.8%. Futures for the S&P/ASX 200, representing Australian markets, saw a 0.6% rise, propelling optimism for a buoyant session.

Currency Fluctuations Pique Trader's Interests

In the currency domain, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index remained relatively unmoved, while the euro appeared stable at $1.0931. The Japanese yen experienced a slight appreciation, rising by 0.2% against the dollar. The offshore yuan's value stood unchanged, and the Australian dollar surged up with a 0.2% increment.

Digital Currencies Exhibit Resilience

The realm of cryptocurrencies showcased resilience, with Bitcoin registering a 0.7% increase in value, and Ether, following suit, rose by 1.4%. These movements reflected investor confidence in digital assets amidst broader market fluctuations.

Bond Market Dynamics Indicate Defensive Posturing

The bond markets indicated a shift towards a defensive posture as Australia’s 10-year yield experienced a decline of four basis points. This fall was reflective of broader market expectations surrounding interest rate trajectories and economic growth prospects.

Commodity Markets Respond to Economic Signals

As for commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude marked a modest rise of 0.2% standing at $81.47 a barrel. Spot gold, meanwhile, edged up by 0.4% to $2,196.12 an ounce, mirroring movements tied to macroeconomic signals and policy maker indications.

This news article comprises a synthesis of market dynamics and economic indicators curated with the assistance of Bloomberg's automated systems. It reflects a comprehensive overview of the latest financial trends and corporate advancements.

(Source: Bloomberg)

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