Win streak may continue for China stock market
The China stock market has finished higher in three straight sessions, collecting almost 35 points or 1 percent along the way. The Shanghai Composite Index now rests just beneath the 3,475-point plateau and it may extend its gains on Friday. The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat thanks to solid earnings news and rising crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead. For the day, the index gained 17.83 points or 0.52 percent to finish at 3,474.90 after trading between 3,447.59 and 3,478.07. The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 4.71 points or 0.20 percent to end at 2,305.65.
S&P 500, Nasdaq hit record highs
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes hit record levels on Thursday after stellar earnings from Apple and Facebook powered a rally in tech stocks, while upbeat economic data supported bets of a swifter economic recovery. Apple Inc gained 1.0 percent after posting sales and profits ahead of Wall Street estimates, led by much stronger-than-expected iPhone and Mac sales. Facebook Inc jumped 6.6 percent to hit an all-time high on beating analysts’ expectations for both quarterly revenue and profit, helped by a surge in digital ad spending during the pandemic, along with higher ad prices. The S&P 500 communication services sector, which houses Facebook, jumped 2.4 percent, leading gains among the 11 major S&P sectors. Data showed the US economic growth accelerated in the first quarter, fueled by massive government aid to households and businesses, while a Labor Market report showed 553,000 people filed for state unemployment benefits last week, compared with 566,000 in the prior period.
FTSE 100 flat; Unilever rises
London’s FTSE 100 closed flat on Thursday after hitting a one-week high hours earlier as a wave of positive corporate earnings from companies including Standard Chartered and Unilever helped the blue-chip index outperform its European peers. The index retreated after rising as much as 0.8 percent to 7,019.71 points during the session, with Standard Chartered gaining about 5.6 percent after posting a stronger than expected first-quarter profit. Lender NatWest returned to profit in the first quarter of 2021, joining rivals in releasing some of the cash it had set aside to cover expected bad loans. Its shares, however, fell 3.4 percent. The banks index added about 1.5 percent as the Bank of England launched a post-Brexit landmark rethink of regulation that would simplify rules for smaller banks. The FTSE 100 was further supported by Unilever, which gained 3.3 percent after announced a 3 billion euro ($3.6 billion) share buyback and said it was confident of hitting sales targets this year.
Tokyo’s key Nikkei index opens lower
Tokyo’s key Nikkei 225 index opened lower on Friday in subdued trade during Japan’s Golden Week holiday period. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.35 percent or 100.89 points at 28,953.08 in early trade, while the broader Topix Index gained 0.06 percent or 1.06 points to 1,910.12. Investors were closing their positions after a national holiday on Thursday and ahead of an extended weekend that will see the market closed from Monday until Wednesday. Normal trading will resume from Thursday. On Wall Street, the Dow finished up 0.7 percent, as did the S&P 500. The tech-rich Nasdaq rose 0.2 percent. The Tokyo market remained well supported following the US Federal Open Market Committee’s latest meeting, while investors digested the Biden administration’s policy announcement, analysts said.
Sensex, Nifty end flat after a three-day rally
After three days of stellar gains, benchmark indices on Thursday ended flat in a volatile session amid F&O expiry. Sensex gave up 50,000 mark, hit at open, and Nifty slipped below the 15,000 level. Sensex hit a high of 50,375, and a low of 49,535.98 intraday. On the sectoral front, metals and pharma led the rally, while auto, IT, and FMCG ended in the red. Indian markets had opened on a positive note on global cues Sentiment was, however, positive in global markets as US President Joe Biden laid out a $1.8 trillion social-support plan and after the US Federal Reserve said it was too early to consider rolling back emergency support for the economy. Bajaj Auto March-quarter profit rose to 13.32 billion rupees vs 13.10 billion a year ago. Total revenue from operations rose to 85.96 billion from 68.16 billion. The board has recommend a dividend of 140 per share. Rahul Bajaj has resigned as non-executive chairman of the company, while Niraj Bajaj has been appointed chairman with effect from 1 May.
U.S. stocks end lower
U.S. stocks closed lower Wednesday after the Federal Reserve opted to keep rates near zero, as expected, and monetary policy loose at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting. Investors also geared up for President Joe Biden to unveil a new $1.8 trillion package of spending and tax cuts Wednesday evening that aims to bolster children and families. On Tuesday, major benchmarks were largely in a holding pattern, with the Dow DJIA, +0.71 percent posting a gain of 3.36 points, or less than 0.1 percent, at 33,984.93, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.68 percent shed less than 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.22 percent gave up 0.3 percent.