U.S. Equity Markets eased off Wednesday’s highs, led by the NASDAQ 100 which closed lower by 0.71%, while the Dow closed higher by 0.15% on what turned out to be a volatile trading session near all-time highs. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continued his testimony before Congress, with no material changes from Wednesday. Essentially, he reiterated that the central bank has no plans to withdraw economic support at the moment. Jobs data were the other big story of the day. Jobless Claims hit a new post-pandemic low of 360,000. While the data missed estimates, the downward trend in Jobless Claims is still intact. And that is a good sign for the labour market’s recovery. Earnings season will remain a catalyst for markets for the next few weeks, with many of the reports so far coming in above expectations. European Markets closed lower. European Central Bank Governing Council member Isabel Schnabel said that despite rising inflation, the central bank will take its time before tightening policy once more. But Bank of England Governor Dave Ramsden said he expects inflation to peak at double the central bank’s 2% target. He added that the conditions for tightening may be met sooner than expected. In Asia, China’s Second-Quarter Gross Domestic Poduct data were weaker than expected, falling versus the first quarter, as the comparisons versus last year grow more difficult. The Japanese Yen’s rally from the low made in early July and rising coronavirus infections in Tokyo weighed on growth sentiment. The Bank of Korea left interest rates unchanged as Governor Lee Ju-yeol said it still expects 4% growth this year and stands ready to adjust policy based on COVID-19 developments. The Australia Bureau of Statistics’ employment data for June beat estimates as the number of full-time hires continued to rise, and as the unemployment rate fell back below 5%. Elsewhere, Oil closed 2.17% lower, continuing its decline on uncertainty surrounding a production agreement between OPEC and the United Arab Emirates, while Bitcoin sold off 4.25% on little news.
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