Wednesday Afternoon Market Recap:
U.S. equity markets finished mixed.
- The Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly mortgage applications rose 7% last week, marking the third consecutive increase. This comes as the rate on a 30-year mortgage has dropped from 7.3% in October to 6.2% currently, boosting housing affordability.
- Infrastructure-software giant Microsoft (MSFT) reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and in-line revenue, but the company said cloud demand is slowing. The slowdown in cloud growth means Amazon (AMZN) is likely to strike a similar tone when it reports next week.
- Semiconductor manufacturing bellwether Texas Instruments (TXN) guided first-quarter earnings and revenue below Wall Street's expectations. CEO Rich Templeton said demand was weak across all end markets as customers work through excess inventory.
- The Bank of Canada raised interest rates by another 25 basis points to 4.50%. But Governor Tiff Macklem said it's going to hold off on any additional monetary-policy changes as it weighs the economic fallout from rapid tightening. The change could be a precursor of what's to come from the Federal Reserve later this spring.
Within the S&P 500 Index, 6 of the 11 sectors finished higher...
European equity markets finished lower.
- German business confidence for January rose compared with December as economists become increasingly optimistic about the growth outlook.
- British Producer Price Index ("PPI") growth for December eased for the third consecutive month, taking pressure off the Bank of England to keep raising interest rates.
- Spanish PPI growth for December hit its lowest level since last April on an annualized basis, while the monthly numbers have remained in contraction since October.
- European shares experienced their second straight day of selling. The primary driver was the technology sector, which sold off on the heels of earnings reports from Microsoft and Texas Instruments. In addition, semiconductor-equipment manufacturer ASML (ASML) said export controls related to China could hurt its growth outlook.
- Utilities were one of the bright spots following an earnings release from power producer RWE Aktiengesellschaft (RWEOY). Preliminary data showed the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization ("EBITDA") beat expectations, rising 73% in 2022 compared with 2021.
Asian equity markets finished higher.
- Australia's Consumer Price Index ("CPI") growth for December was higher than anticipated as core prices jumped, increasing pressure on the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise interest rates even more.
- New Zealand's fourth-quarter CPI growth held at the highest level in over three decades but undershot the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's forecast, giving it room to slow rate hikes.
- Optimism about recovering global economic growth drove the narrative once more. China remained the primary topic of focus. Visitor data out of Hong Kong and Macau showed that tourism is rebounding with the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions. According to Bloomberg, Hong Kong's Sha Tin racetrack drew a record crowd on Tuesday and experienced $263 million in bets. That was the highest total since 1997. So, as the mainland starts to see infections subside, investors anticipate spending will boom.
(Narratives written as of local market close.)
WTI Crude +0.40%
Brent Crude +0.23%
Nat Gas -7.58%
What we're paying attention to this week...
- Chicago Fed Manufacturing Index for December (Thursday)
- GDP for Q4 (Thursday)
- Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index for January (Thursday)
- Personal Consumption Expenditures for December (Friday)
- U.K. – CBI Distributive Trades Survey for January (Thursday)
- France – Consumer Confidence Survey for January (Friday)
- China – Markets Closed for Lunar New Year Holiday (Monday-Friday)
- South Korea – GDP (Advanced) for Q4 (Thursday)
- Japan – CPI for January (Friday)
Have a great evening!