Stocks boosted last week by Powell testimony before Congress

Stocks boosted last week by Powell testimony before Congress

Global Stocks were generally weak on Monday and Tuesday. US ISM Services PMI data showed a fall to 52.6 in February, below forecasts of 53 and down from a four-month high in January. Equities fell, especially tech stocks on fears of an economic slowdown but began recovering ahead of Fed Chairman Powell’s testimony before Congress on Wednesday. He stated that the central bank was “not far” from beginning to cut rates which he said would be this year, although he did add “we want to see a little bit more data” to confirm inflation is continuing to fall. The US Dollar fell in response, with the Dollar Index almost reaching an 8-week low on Friday.

Friday’s US employment data was generally interpreted as showing early signs of a cooling jobs market. The US economy added more jobs than expected in February but data from December and January was revised down, wage growth slowed and the unemployment rate rose to 3.9%.

The British Pound rallied to a 7-month high vs the US Dollar following Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget announcement on Wednesday. See a summary of the budget and key points here.

In Europe, the Central Bank (ECB) kept its interest rate unchanged with several policymakers indicating that June might be the date for a first cut.

Big week for economic data coming up with all eyes on US CPI inflation data and UK GDP growth figures and unemployment rate.

US Risk Barometer 8th March 2024

Europe Risk Barometer 8th March 2024

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