Despite a raft of disappointing economic data from France, Germany and the UK which saw services activity slide into recession territory, European equity markets managed to finish the day higher yesterday.
Rather perversely markets took these data misses as evidence that rate hikes were starting to work and that further rate hikes were likely to be unnecessary, sending bond yields sharply into reverse, as markets started to price an increased probability of recession.
Yesterday’s economic data will certainly offer food for thought for central bankers as they get set to assemble today at Jackson Hole for the start of the annual symposium, ahead of interest rate meetings next month where they are likely to decide whether to raise rates further to combat sticky inflation. If yesterday's data is in any way reflective of a direction of travel, then we could see a Q3 contraction of 0.2%.
Of course, one needs to be careful in reading too much into one month of weak PMIs, especially in August when a lot of industry tends to shutdown or pare back economic activity, however the weakness in services was a surprise given that the summer holidays tend to see that area of the economy perform well.
Back in Q1 when Nvidia set out its revenue guidance for Q2 there was astonishment at the extent of the upgrade to $11bn. This was a huge increase on its Q2 numbers of previous years, or any other quarter, with the upgrade being driven by expectations of a big increase in sales of data centre chips, along with investments in Artificial Intelligence.
Last night Nvidia crushed these estimates with revenues of $13.5bn, datacentre revenue alone accounting for $10.3bn of that total, a 171% increase from a year ago. For comparison, in Q1 datacentre revenue accounted for $4.3bn.
Gross margins also beat expectations, coming in at 71.2% as profits crushed forecasts at $2.70 a share. Nvidia went on to project Q3 revenues of $16bn, plus or minus 2%.
The company also approved an extra $25bn in share buybacks, with the shares soaring above this week’s record highs in after-hours trading, with the big test being whether we’ll see those gains sustained when US markets reopen later today.
On the back of last night's positive finish, as well as the exuberance generated by the belief that interest rate hike pauses are coming next month, European markets look set to open higher later this morning.
The focus today is on the latest set of weekly jobless claims numbers which are set to remain unchanged at 239k, as well as July durable goods orders, excluding transportation, which are forecast to see a rise of 0.2%, a modest slowdown from June’s 0.5% gain.
EUR/USD – bounced off the 200-day SMA at 1.0800 with support just below that at trend line support from the March lows at 1.0750. Still feels range bound with resistance at the 1.1030 area.
GBP/USD – the 1.2600 area continues to hold with resistance still at the 1.2800 area and 50-day SMA. A break below 1.2600 targets 1.2400.
EUR/GBP – briefly hit an 11-month low at 0.8490 before rebounding sinking towards support at the 0.8520/30 area. A move below 0.8500 could see 0.8480. Above the 100-day SMA at 0.8580 targets the 0.8720 area.
USD/JPY – the failure to push above the 146.50 area has seen a pullback below the 145.00 level. This raises the prospect of a move towards the 50-day SMA at 142.70 area.