U.S. Equity Markets ended the week on a high note, led by the NASDAQ which closed with a gain of 1.44%. Markets rebounded from Thursday’s late-day sell-off. Some of the fear over President Joe Biden’s capital gains tax proposal subsided. While the plan is likely to get the support of the House of Representatives, the path through the Senate is much tougher. The legislation will have a hard time garnering the 60 votes necessary for passage. Economic data were positive. Markit Manufacturing and Services PMI reached their highest level ever in April, on strength in demand and business capacity after the lifting of restrictions. This is another strong sign for the economic rebound. Vaccine optimism also rose on reports the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) would likely lift the pause on Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine. That allowed JNJ shots to be administered over the weekend, boosting the pace of vaccinations once again. European Markets closed lower despite strong Economic Data. Markit Euro-Zone’s preliminary composite Purchasing Manager’s Index (“PMI”) data for April was stronger than expected, signalling economic expansion. Russia’s central bank raised interest rates by 0.5%, citing a rapid economic recovery and new inflationary pressures. European Central Bank Governing Council member Pablo Hernandez de Cos said its pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme should be adjusted to counter a rise in interest rates. Meanwhile, in Asia, Markit Japan’s preliminary composite PMI data for April gained versus March, rising back into growth territory as manufacturing activity kept expanding. Japan’s core Consumer Price Index data for March was in line with expectations, rising versus February, but remained well below the central bank’s 2% target. Markit Australia’s preliminary composite PMI data for April rose versus March, expanding for the eighth straight month as new orders and employment gained. China’s Foreign Affairs Committee spokesperson said the country opposes any official interactions between the U.S. and Taiwan as it violates the “one China” principle. Elsewhere, Oil closed 1.16% higher as strong economic data boosted the demand outlook, while Bitcoin rallied off earlier lows to close 1.25% lower after reports that the government could impose an 80% capital gains tax on cryptocurrencies.
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