U.S. Equity Markets rose on a volatile day, finishing the day higher, led by the Dow which rebounded 300 points off its afternoon low to close higher by 0.72%. Markets opened higher before selling off and briefly turning negative. But they rose again through the close. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference from yesterday remained in focus, after he said that the Fed was not currently thinking about tapering its bond purchases. In terms of economic data, Jobless Claims fell to another post-pandemic low, once again showing the ongoing recovery in the labour market. Another catalyst at work was Big Tech earnings. Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL) both put up good numbers late Wednesday, while Mastercard’s (MA) report reiterated the rebound in consumer spending. Earnings will continue to be a focus, with Amazon (AMZN) reporting stronger number after last night’s close. European Markets closed higher after a volatile session. Euro-Zone Economic Confidence data for April were stronger than expected, rising versus March, and hitting the highest level since 2018 on increasing coronavirus vaccinations. The U.K. reached a deal for 60 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, with plans to use the doses for booster shots heading into winter. But German markets did not partake in the rally… German Unemployment data unexpectedly rose in April, as the country’s labour office said COVID-19 restrictions were slowing down the economic recovery. In Asia, President Joe Biden “talked tough” on China in his first speech to Congress, warning the U.S. needs to invest more to maintain its technology dominance. Australia’s export price data for the first quarter were stronger than expected, rising versus the fourth quarter, as commodity demand rebounded. The Bank of Korea’s manufacturing business conditions survey data for May rose versus April, hitting their highest level since 2011, as companies indicated domestic activity is improving. Consumer and industrial equipment maker Samsung Electronics reported a 46% increase in first-quarter profits, but warned the semiconductor shortage could hurt second-quarter sales. Elsewhere, Oil closed 1.72% higher after U.S. crude imports from OPEC hit the lowest level in 40 years, while Bitcoin fell 5% on little news.
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