Market swings ahead of key corporate results and Fed cues; Is the bear market over?

The market is pricing in a near-term rate cut by the Fed, but yesterday, Cleveland Fed chief Loretta Mester explained that the central bank will "probably" gain confidence with a view to cutting interest rates "later this year". His colleague at the Minneapolis Fed, Neel Kashkari, acknowledged the reduction in inflation, but felt that a rate cut would require confirmation. The two central bankers didn't have much influence on the market, which is still aiming for a rate cut in May, while the Fed is trying to pretend it will come later.

Meanwhile, corporate results are taking centre stage, with Ford Motor Co jumping 6% in premarket trading after posting strong results and announcing more dividends. LSEG said that half of S&P 500 companies have posted results, and 81% have exceeded estimates. This year, however, is showing a wide disparity in performance within the same sector. In US agrochemicals, Corteva soared on solid prospects, shortly before its rival FMC Corporation collapsed for the opposite reason. Even tech, which often speaks with one voice, is finding it hard to agree: Amazon, Nvidia, and Meta Platforms showed their muscles, while Apple and Alphabet disappointed.

Yesterday, indices went in all directions: the Dow Jones rose 0.4% and the Nasdaq fell 0.2%. The MSCI China index soared by 4.7%, while Paris gained 0.7% and Zurich lost 0.3%. Corporate results will continue to be in the spotlight for the next fortnight.

Today's economic highlights:

  • Industrial production in Germany
  • US DOE crude oil inventories The dollar is worth EUR 0.9283 and GBP 0.7912. The ounce of gold rises to USD 2035. Oil is little changed, with North Sea Brent at USD 78.97 a barrel and US light crude WTI at USD 73.90. The yield on 10-year US debt falls to 4.08%. Bitcoin trades at USD 43,200.

Amgen, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Hilton Worldwide, Uber Technologies, Boeing, Fox Corp, Walt Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, Gilead Sciences, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Cirrus Logic, Freeport-McMoRan, VF Corp, Citizens Financial Group, Snap, Intel Corporation, Kla Corporation, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Meta Platforms, Micron Technology, Molten Ventures Vct, Nvidia Corporation, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, T-Mobile US, Union Pacific Corporation, and Western Digital Corporation.

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