The Friday Market Minute
- Global stocks near record highs as corporate earnings in Europe and the U.S. underscore economic potential in the waning months of the pandemic.
- Easy Fed policy, coupled with tame inflation readings and rising consumer confidence, have U.S. stocks at record highs following blowout tech earnings from Amazon last night.
- CDC data shows 99.7 million Americans have now been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, with around 237.3 million doses administered as of Thursday.
- U.S. equity futures suggest softer open on Wall Street ahead of earnings from Exxon Mobil and Chevron and core PCE inflation data at 8:30 am Eastern time.
Wall Street futures edged lower on the final trading day of the month Friday, as investors paused from breath amid a tech-lead rally that has lifted stocks to record highs and extended the dominance of the world's biggest companies.
All-time highs for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 last night underscored TheStreet's founder, Jim Cramer's, assertion that this week's market action was the most important of the year, as Big Tech giants such as Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report, Google (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report, Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report and Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report blasted Wall Street profit forecasts and issued robust near-term outlooks that suggest their dominance will continue to reign even as the economy re-opens in the waning weeks of the pandemic.
Added to the mix has been a dovish Federal Reserve, which pledge to keep interest rate low -- and bond markets supported -- for at least another two years and a roaring economy, which notched its fastest growth rate since 1984 over the first quarter and looks to be firing on all cylinders, with only moderate levels of inflation, heading into the spring months.
CDC data, meanwhile, shows that just under 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, with some 235 shots administered nationwide.
Even Europe is showing signs of life, with 71% of reporting companies on the Stoxx 600 beating earnings estimates so far this season -- compared to an 87% beat rate for the S&P 500 -- and the economy slipping into recession with a smaller-than-expected contraction of 1.8%.
Still, investors look to take a breather ahead of today's reading of the Fed's preferred inflation gauge -- the core PCE Price Index -- at 8:30 am Eastern time and earnings from oil majors Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report and Chevron (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report, with futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicating a 150 point opening bell decline.
Contacts tied the S&P 500, which is up 6% for the month after hitting another all-time high last night, are priced for a 21 point pullback while those linked to the Nasdaq Composite suggest a 90 point retreat.
Amazon was marked 2.6% higher in pre-market trading after last night's earnings blowout, with the online retailer and web services group posting Street-beating earnings of $15.79 per share on revenues of $108.5 billion.
European stocks were marked 0.33% lower in Frankfurt, but still within touching distance of a record high, while Asia shares retreated on the back of government-lead pressure on China's tech giants, which pulled the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan index to a 1% decline on the session.
Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket is six global currencies, was marked 0.2% higher on the session at 90.801, but look set for its fourth consecutive weekly decline amid the Fed's dovish policy outlook. Benchmark 10-year note yields, meanwhile, eased to 1.65%.
Oil prices peeled away from the six-week highs recorded yesterday, thanks in part to a firmer U.S. dollar and concerns for near-term energy demand amid India's ongoing coronavirus crisis.
WTI futures for June delivery were marked 80 cents lower on the session at $64.14 per barrel while Brent contracts for the same month were seen 77 cents lower at $67.77 per barrel.