Risk aversion prevails despite solid economic data
Wall Street bounced to finish higher overnight due to solid economic data and upbeat corporate results. The U.S. economy grew at a solid 6.5% annual rate in the second quarter to return to pre-pandemic levels while claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 24,000 to 400,000 last week. as a result, the S&P 500 index rose 0.42%, Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4%, while the Nasdaq added 0.11%. However, as sentiment has deteriorated again, U.S. futures were mostly lower in early pre-market trading on Friday.
Asian shares resumed the decline ahead of the weekend amid the resurgent pandemic-related worries. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed nearly 2% despite Japan reported relatively strong economic data including retail sales, employment, and industrial production. Investors were spooked by reports that the Japanese government began tightening coronavirus restrictions as cases surged with the Olympics well underway. The Shanghai Composite index in China dipped 0.42% while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.35%.
In Europe, equities opened in the negative territory as well, with corporate earnings continuing to take center stage in the region. BNP Paribas reported a 26% rise in net income in the second quarter. Strong results allowed the bank to pay an additional dividend. Renault posted a half-year net profit that sharply improved on a yearly basis. The company also said it expected to post a full-year 2021 profit.
Meanwhile, the dollar remains under pressure despite the resurgent risk aversion in the global financial markets. EURUSD extended gains to one-month highs around the 1.1900 figure. However, the common currency may lack the upside momentum to overcome this barrier on a daily closing basis. On the data front, the German economy grew 1.5% in the second quarter versus +2.0% expected and -1.8% booked in the previous quarter. Later in the day, fresh data out of the US will come into market focus.