News that Home Depot had its worst revenue miss in 20 years saw the Dow close lower by 1%. This is the sixth down day for the Dow out of the last seven sessions. Meanwhile the NASDAQ 100 kept making new highs despite the rest of the market getting sold. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said continued talks to avoid a U.S. debt default were making little to no progress. On Monday, McCarthy told Capitol Hill that despite the ongoing staff-level meetings, the talks have not produced an “agreement on anything.” Congressional Republicans are meeting President Joe Biden and other Democrat officials overnight. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Austan Goolsbee said much of the impact from the Fed’s rate hikes has yet to be felt. He warned that further tightening could be an overreaction and that policymakers must be diligent in assessing the potential consequences of the central bank’s monetary policy. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari said the central bank likely has further work to do if it wants to bring inflation back down to its 2% target. Kashkari’s views differ from Chicago’s Goolsbee and Atlanta’s Raphael Bostic, who are in favour of pausing rate hikes in June. However, Bostic did push back any notion that rate cuts would be on the radar for the central bank before 2024. The European Union’s antitrust watchdog approved Microsoft’s (MSFT) planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard (ATVI). This comes just weeks after the U.K.’s regulatory body rejected the deal. While the decision remains a win for the tech giant, Microsoft still faces an uphill battle in the appeal process in the U.K. as well as a hearing with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission later this summer. Amazon (AMZN) announced plans to bring its own artificial-intelligence interface – similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT product – to its web store. It faces competition from other major tech names such as Microsoft and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google, which have recently announced plans to integrate the technology into their own search engines. European Markets closed lower. Euro-Zone economic growth for the first quarter was 0.1% quarter-over-quarter. Stronger employment and a rebound in exports pushed the trade balance into a net positive. The region’s year-over-year gross domestic product was largely in line with preliminary estimates of 1.3%. According to economists polled by Reuters, the European Central Bank (“ECB”) is projected to hike interest rates by 25 basis points at its next two meetings. This is in line with several hawkish ECB members who have repeatedly said that inflation remains too high and a terminal rate of at least 4% would be likely by the end of the summer. The ZEW institute’s gauge of investor confidence fell for a third consecutive month, reigniting fears that Germany and the larger Euro-Zone region could still be headed for a recession. After a resurgence in confidence to end 2022, investor optimism has once again slipped into negative territory as inflation remains high and manufacturing has unexpectedly declined. In Asia, following an initial surge in economic activity post-lockdowns, China’s recovery is losing momentum. Industrial output, retail sales, and fixed investment all showed muted signs of growth in April. The figures become even more disappointing when you consider that last year’s comparisons were from an economy still in lockdown. Elsewhere, Oil closed 0.65% lower while Gold was hit hard closing lower by 1.20% after a volatile trading session.
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