U.S. Equity Markets continued their choppy trade, finishing yesterday’s session mixed as the Dow and S&P closed flat while the NASDAQ 100 fell 0.47%. Economic data were positive, highlighted by a strong Consumer Confidence number. In the past two months, optimism has moved higher at a quicker pace than any two-month period before. This month, the confidence was driven by vacation hopes and labour market strength. Home Prices continued to rise, boosted by a lack of supply, in another strong showing for the housing market. The big catalysts for the week remain in the days ahead – Big Tech earnings and the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting. Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) reported after the close today as both disappointed. As for the Fed, there’s talk on Wall Street that the central bank will begin tapering assets in the fourth quarter. This is what investors are watching for a market move in the near term. European Markets closed lower for the third consecutive trading session. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will present his economic rescue plan to the two houses of Parliament in an attempt to kickstart growth. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country was on track to lift all its COVID-19 restrictions by June 21. European Central Bank Governing Council member Fabio Panetta said the central bank should hold off on withdrawing economic support until inflation is sustainably back at 2%. In Asia, the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged, as Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank anticipates a moderate growth pickup and a steady increase in inflation. China’s Industrial Profit data for March rose 92.3%, versus the 179% gain in the first two months of the year, as easy year-over-year comparisons drove the outsized gains. South Korea’s preliminary first-quarter gross domestic product data were stronger than expected on a year-over-year basis, rising above their pre-pandemic peak. Elsewhere, Oil rose 2.15% after an oil spill in China limited supply, while Gold fell 0.26% on Dollar strength.
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