Investors looked ahead to a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium
Wall Street stocks finished higher on Wednesday, led by further gains in the tech sector. Facebook and Netflix jumped 8.2% and 11.6%, respectively. Apple rose 1.4% while Microsoft gained 2.4%. Salesforce stocks surged 26% after the software company posted better-than-anticipated second-quarter earnings and issued an upbeat outlook. As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3%, the S&P 500 increased 1.02%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.73%.
Asian shares were mixed on Thursday as investors looked ahead to a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium on the U.S. central bank’s monetary policy framework review. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3%, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.4%, the Kospi in Seoul shed 0.8% while Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.5%.
European equities opened marginally lower as a cautious mood prevailed in the markets ahead of Powell’s outlook on monetary policy. The pan-European STOXX 600 index slipped 0.2% in early trading, with banks leading the losses. In individual stocks, shares of the engines maker Rolls Royce fell over 7% after the company posted a £3.2 billion pretax loss for the first half of the year.
Meanwhile, major currencies are little changed, struggling for direction on Thursday as traders refrain from trading decisions ahead of Powell’s speech. EURUSD has settled above 1.18, confining to a limited trading range these days following a rejection from recent long-term highs. Apart from the Fed Governor testament, a series of US economic reports are due later today.
Elsewhere, bitcoin price saw a modest bounce yesterday but failed to regain the upside momentum and retreated from the $11,500 local resistance, changing hands marginally above $11,300 on Thursday. Short-term indicators point to a still bearish picture for BTC. Once below the current levels, the digital currency could threaten the $11,000 handle.