Daily market review

United States

Equities were narrowly mixed Thursday with growth stocks ahead and value lagging. The Dow Jones industrial average was unchanged, the S&P 500 was up 0.2 percent, and NASDAQ composite gained 0.4 percent.

The market viewed US jobless claims data as adding to prospects for US fiscal stimulus, as they remained elevated despite a decline in the latest week.

Technology fared best while lagging were energy, communications services, and utilities. Among techs, chipmakers led gainers as Intel rose 3.1 percent while Microsoft rose 0.7 percent. Among energy stocks, oil driller Apache fell 3.6 percent and Chevron declined 0.5 percent as oil prices retreated.

Earnings remained the focus. Uber fell 3.9 percent after a revenues miss. Equinix, the data center leader, lost 4.4 percent on disappointing guidance. Cerner, the health information company, declined 3.9 percent on weak guidance.

On the positive side, Zillow, the real estate leader, rose 17 percent after beating expectations for revenues and profits amid the pandemic home-sales boom. Kraft Heinz, the food giant, rose 4.9 percent on an earnings beat. Tempur Sealy, the mattress company, rose 9.4 percent on beats and better guidance.

In US economic data, though down 19,000 in the February 6 week to 793,000, initial claims remained elevated. The 4-week average fell more than 30,000 but at 823,000, was still well above the mid-750,000 range going into year-end.

These price data reflect observations at 4:00 PM US ET: Dated Brent spot crude oil fell 45 cents to US$60.81 while spot gold fell US$16.39 to US$1,826.39. The US dollar was mixed vs. major currencies. The US Treasury 30-year bond yield was up 4 basis points at 1.96 percent while the 10-year note yield was up 1 basis point at 1.16 percent.


Equities edged up Thursday with mixed corporate earnings in focus. The Europe-wide STOXX 600 gained 0.5 percent, the German DAX rose 0.8 percent, the French CAC was flat, and the UK FTSE-100 firmed 0.1 percent.

In macro news, Germany extended its lockdown into March, and members of Italy's 5Stars party endorsed Mario Draghi to lead a new technocratic government in Rome, as expected.

Among sectors, best were media, travel & leisure, and technology, while lagging were basic resources, finance, and real estate.

Among companies in focus, Credit Agricole rose 4.5 percent on an earnings beat. Schneider Electric rose 1.3 percent after topping earnings and revenues expectations. AstraZeneca was flat after reporting in-line earnings and the World Health Organization recommended its Covid-19 vaccine for all adults.

On the downside, Unibail-Rodamco, the French commercial real estate firm, fell 8.5 percent after suspending its dividend and guidance. Vontobel, the Swiss bank, fell 8.5 percent after maintaining cautiously high capital ratios. Commerzbank fell 6 percent after launching its restructuring plans.

Asia Pacific

Asian markets were narrowly mixed Thursday in light trading as Chinese, Korean, and Japanese markets were on holiday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.5 percent in a half-day session on short-covering before the Lunar New Year holiday. Markets reacted favorably to news that US President Biden and Chinese President Xi had spoken by telephone for the first time since Biden became president.

Among sectors in Hong Kong, technology, internet, finance, and property shares outperformed. Among companies in the news, ecommerce leader Tencent declined 0.5 percent on news one of its executives was under investigation for corruption.

Indian markets edged up on positive earnings and strength in a handful of heavily-weighted stocks, including conglomerate Reliance Industries which gained 4.4 percent. The NSE Nifty 50 index and the BSE Sensex both rose 0.4 percent.

Australian shares eased on weakness in industrials and technology stocks, offset in part by gains in miners and telecom. The All Ordinaries index eased 0.2 percent.

Among Australian companies in focus, CIMIC Group, the engineering firm, fell 3.3 percent on disappointing quarterly results. AMP, the financial services firm, dropped 11 percent on news its acquisition by Ares had fallen through. Miners advanced, with goldminer Newcrest up 4 percent on a positive earnings surprise. Telecom outperformed with support from Telstra, which rose 3 percent on positive earnings and dividend news.

Looking ahead*

On Friday in Asia, Indian CPI and Indian industrial production figures are due. In Europe, UK GDP, UK industrial production, UK merchandise trade, UK monthly GDP, and Swiss CPI reports are scheduled. In North America, the US consumer sentiment report is on tap.

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