On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial and the market-wide S&P 500 already reached further record values in the first minutes of trading. The Dow increased until the close of trading by +0.48% compared to the previous day's close to 34,200.67 points. On a weekly basis, the benchmark index notes a gain of about +1% and a solid gain of almost +12% since the beginning of the year. The S&P 500 closed +0.36% higher at 4'185.47 points on Friday. A new record high was also recorded by the technology-heavy Nasdaq 100, but then closed with a somewhat more moderate daily gain of +0.11% at 14,041.91 points. The stock market sentiment remains friendly in view of good economic data and progress in the Corona vaccinations in the United States.
In Asia, most stock indices followed the positive cues of Wall Street and at the beginning of the week, investor sentiment seems to remain optimistic given signs of global economic recovery and corporate earnings outlook. For Europe's stock markets, futures are signaling an opening above the previous week's close. In addition to the ongoing corporate reporting season, the focus this week will be the European Central Bank's (ECB) interest rate decision on Thursday.
The gold price continues to recover and last week recorded the largest weekly gain since December. Thus, the precious metal increased in price within a week by about 2%. On Friday, the troy ounce of gold cost up to USD 1,778 and was as expensive as it had last been at the end of February. Gold is thus recovering from the setback in March: the price had fallen to USD 1,676 at that time and was as low as it had last been in the summer of 2020. This was triggered by the sharp rise in yields on long-term US government bonds, with ten-year paper yielding over 1.7% at times. Currently, ten-year bond yields are hovering just below 1.6%.
American consumers are once again more confident about the future. This can be seen from the consumer confidence index of the University of Michigan. The index rose to 86.5 points in April (+1.6), its highest level in more than a year. Market observers had expected an increase to 89 points. Progress on vaccinations and an improvement in the employment situation were responsible for the optimism. Household inflation expectations also rose, reaching their highest level in nine years.
The construction industry in the US recovered in March from the onset of winter in the previous month. This was reflected in housing starts, which increased +19.4% from February, according to the Commerce Department on Friday. Analysts had expected a plus of +13.5%. The number of building permits also rose significantly, signaling a further increase in construction activity in the coming months. The data followed up on the strong economic figures of previous days, supporting the impression that the US economy is recovering across the board.
Inflation in the euro area increased significantly in March. Thus, consumer prices were +1.3% higher than a year earlier, the statistics office Eurostat reported on Friday. In February, the price increase was still at +0.9%. The increase is mainly due to rising energy prices, which were +4.3% higher than twelve months earlier. Despite the increase, the inflation rate is still well below the inflation target of the European Central Bank, which is just below 2%.
|01:50||Japan||Exports (March, y/y))||-4.5%|
|06:30||Japan||Industrial production (Feb, m/m)||-2.1%|
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Source: LGT Bank (Switzerland) Ltd.
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