U.S. Equity Markets opened the week on a high note, with both the S&P and Dow closing higher while the NASDAQ finished yesterday’s session with a loss of 0.48%. Manufacturing data were mixed. ISM Manufacturing PMI fell unexpectedly in April as New Orders and Employment dipped. But IHS Markit Manufacturing data rose, hitting the highest level in 11 years, though respondents voiced concerns over supply-chain issues. Infrastructure news was positive. The White House said it had invited Republicans to meet with President Joe Biden and begin negotiations over their competing infrastructure spending plans. And the Washington Post reported that Democrats were open to concessions to lower the price tag of Biden’s $2.3 trillion proposal. Earnings continue to be a tailwind for markets, with more than 86% of reporting S&P 500 companies beating estimates (a record high). European Markets closed higher. Economic data were positive. German Retail Sales data for March were stronger than anticipated, showing the strength of the consumer in Europe’s largest economy. IHS Eurozone Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (“PMI”) also hit the highest level since 1997. There were also interesting central bank comments, as European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos said it should start winding down economic support once the pace of vaccinations picks up. However, de Guindos said fiscal measures should remain to support the economy. This went against all comments from the central bank in recent weeks. In Asia, Stock markets in China and Japan are closed for holidays. South Korea’s export data for April were weaker than expected, but still hit the highest value on record for the month, as semiconductor demand remained strong. Markit Australia’s final Manufacturing PMI data for April rose versus the initial reading, marking the 11th straight month of expansion, and recording its highest level ever. Elsewhere, Oil closed 1.35% higher as positive economic data boosted the demand outlook for crude, while Gold rose 1.36% on Dollar weakness.
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