U.S. Equity Markets rebounded yesterday from the selling earlier in the week, with all three main Indexes closing in positive territory. The NASDAQ led the rally with a gain of 1.19%, while the VIX closed lower by 6.5%. Markets rose after starting the week with two straight down days. It was another quiet day, keeping the theme from the rest of the week. There was still some focus on Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s letter to Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), where Powell said that the central bank Will not allow inflation to exceed 2% for an extended period of time. In other central bank news, the Bank of Canada became the first notable central bank to dial back asset purchases. On infrastructure, Republicans are reportedly working on a $600 billion to $800 billion compromise, which would be funded by unused COVID-19 stimulus funds. Mortgage rates backed off, spurring the first increase in mortgage applications since February. This shows that the housing market remains strong in 2021. Earnings continues to be better than expected. Eighty-five percent of reporting S&P 500 companies have beat estimates so far this quarter, which is above the historical average. Earnings season has just begun, so this will be a closely watched theme and will be a catalyst for markets. European Markets closed higher. The European Medicines Agency said the rewards from Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine outweigh the risks, while adding a blood clot warning to the label. And EU vaccinations rose to 115.4 million through yesterday, with a daily average of 2.4 million doses administered over the last week. But the European Commission warned that consumer spending will not reach pre-pandemic levels for a while after lockdowns are eased. EU officials said more work was needed to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, following talks over the last two weeks, and ahead of their resumption next week. Meanwhile, the Governors of Japan’s Osaka province and Tokyo told reporters they would ask the government to declare states of emergency in an effort to fight rising coronavirus infections. South Korea’s preliminary export and import data for April rose versus the same period in March, as gains were seen in 14 out of 15 sectors, indicating accelerating economic momentum. Taiwan’s export data for March was weaker than expected, falling versus February, as the Economics Ministry anticipates continued growth in April, albeit at a slower pace. Elsewhere, Oil closed 2.60% lower after an unexpected jump in U.S. crude inventories, while Gold rose 0.94% on further Dollar weakness.
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