Global stocks traded mixed Wednesday as investors continued to adopt a cautious stance amid rising commodity prices and a surging U.S. dollar even as corporate profits, particularly in the tech sector continue to impress in a record earnings season.
Early indications from U.S. equity futures suggest a positive session on Wall Street, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Apple surprisingly strong second quarter earnings have boosted stocks in its European supply chain Wednesday, while its German-listed units surged, as investors rushed to return to chipmakers linked to the world's biggest tech company.
Stocks in the company's European supply chain were also on the move, with Austria's AMS AG (AMSSY) , which earns an estimated 35% of its revenues from chipsales to Apple, surging 8.8% to Sfr89.40each in Zurich, were the shares are listed. Apple shares were also marked 2.8% higher in pre-market trading in New York, indicating and opening bell price of $173.86.
European stocks opened higher across the board, with the region-wide Stoxx 600 index gaining 0.69% to 387.62 points as Germany's DAX performance index surged 1.62% thanks to big gains for benchmark heavyweights Infineon Technologies AG (IFNNY) and Volkswagen AG (VLKAY) . Britain's FTSE 100 jumped 0.58% in the opening hour of trading in London.
Broader European shares were boosted by weaker currencies, as the U.S. dollar trades at its highest level of the year ahead of today's interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve. The euro was marked at an early January low of 1.1996 after first quarter GDP in the Eurozone slowed to 0.4% and a weaker-than-expected reading of manufacturing activity in April further dented sentiment. The pound, however, rose to 1.3642 after a surprise rebound in April construction activity following a series of disappointing economic data that have cast doubt on near term rate increases from the Bank of England.
The U.S. dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was marked 0.05% lower on the session at 92.40 after hitting a 2018 high of 92.53 Tuesday in New York.
Overnight in Asia, Apple's bullish outlook wasn't strong enough to lift sentiment in a market that is acutely sensitive to a higher U.S. dollar, which lifts import costs, particularly in energy, and the ongoing gains in commodity prices.
The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index slipped 0.37% into the close of the session -- the only trading day this week were all of the region's exchanges are opening for trading amid a series of national holidays -- while Japan's Nikkei 225 edged 0.16% lower at 22,472.78 points.
Regional sentiment was also dented by news that while China's manufacturing sector showed solid improvement in the month of April, data from the Caixin PMI reading indicated exports fell for the first time since October 2016, suggesting trade tensions could be starting to impact the world's second-largest economy.
Global oil markets continued to bump higher, with investors concerned that President Donald Trump may reimpose economic sanctions on Iran for alleged breaches of a nuclear treaty signed under his predecessor, Barack Obama, a move that could take as much as 500,000 barrels of oil from the market each day.
Brent crude futures for July delivery, the new global benchmark, were seen 5 cents higher from their Tuesday close at $73.19 per barrel while WTI contracts for June delivery, were marked 28 cents higher at $67.53.