Upbeat economic updates added to a bullish sentiment among investors
Technology companies triggered the biggest gain on Wall Street since March overnight. Stocks rallied after stronger-than-expected earnings reports from Walgreens Boots Alliance, UnitedHealth, Bank of America, and some other companies. Upbeat economic updates added to bullish sentiment in the market. Initial unemployment insurance claims last week fell below the 300,000 level for the first time since March 2019 while September’s producer price index rose 0.5% from the month prior versus 0.6% expected. As a result, the S&P 500 jumped 1.71%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.56% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 1.73%.
In Asia, equities were also higher on the last trading day of the week, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.6%. The Nikkei 225 jumped 1.81% despite the policymakers in Japan cut their outlook for exports. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.48%, the Kospi in Seoul gained 0.88% and the Shanghai Composite index in China climbed 0.40%.
European stocks edged higher on Friday, albeit at a slower pace as compared to other markets. Regional equities were headed for their best weekly performance in seven months due to strong earnings reports. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4% in early trading, with banks being the top gainers ahead of the weekend. In individual stocks, Hugo Boss climbed nearly 4% after the German fashion retailer raised its outlook for the current year, citing strong third-quarter earnings.
In currencies, the dollar index remains on the defensive near 93.80 today. The greenback failed to derive support from strong economic data as risk-on sentiment helped ease the safe-haven demand for the US currency. Now, the market focus shifts to the release of US retail sales for the month of September. If the figures exceed expectations, the dollar could trim some losses later in the day.