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Tech defends economic woes amid Alphabet’s AI development

Wall Street

US stocks extended the divergent moves between cyclical stocks and growth sectors as Alphabet’s AI blueprint flared up buying frenzy in tech again, while growth-sensitive sectors, such as banks and energy, continued to suffer recession fear-led selloff. This led to another mixed close on Wall Street, with Nasdaq rising for the second straight trading day while Dow and the S&P 500 were down. Disney’s disappointing earnings slashed its shares by more than 8% due to another user loss in the streaming business, which also dragged on Dow. The in-troubled bank, PacWest, plunged more than 20%, pressing on risk sentiment.

The US reported another promising economic data to prove cooled inflation, with the April headline PPI slowing to 2.3% from 2.7% in the prior month. In the meantime, the jobless claims jumped to 264, 000, the highest level since October 2021. The data may point to an imminent economic downturn.

The US dollar strengthened, despite a drop in rates. This may be interpreted that investors sought haven assets. Commodity prices fell broadly amid a strong USD, typically in silver, copper, and crude oil, which are seen as the parameter of economic health, slashing commodity currencies against the USD, including the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, and the New Zealand dollar.

The US-listed Chinese shares jumped after the e-commerce giant JD.com beat earnings expectations, sending the Hang Seng Index higher, with futures pointing to a higher open of 0.67%. However, the ASX 200 futures were down 0.17%, and Nikkei 225 futures were flat.   

Price movers:

  • 8 out of 11 sectors in the S&P 500 finished lower, with energy and real estate stocks leading losses, down 1.24% and 1.02%, respectively. The telecommunication sector outperformed, up 1.65%. And Consumer discretionary and consumer staples also ended in the green.  
  • Alphabet’s shares jumped for the second straight trading day to 116.59, the highest seen in August 2022. The search engine giant introduced a series of AI-powered software and hardware. Google announced that its workplace tools would let users create and populate documents into spreadsheets with AI.
  • Elon Musk posted on Twitter that he would step down as Twitter’s CEO and will hire a new CEO. His role will transition to executive chair and CTO, overseeing product, software, and sysop,s as stated on Twitter. Tesla’s shares rose 2% on Thursday.
  • The Chinese second largest e-commerce company JD.com jumped 7.8% after the company reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings. The rival of Alibaba’s revenue came as 243 billion yuan (US$35 billion), topping an expected 239.42 billion yuan. Its net profit came in at 6.3 billion yuan, compared with a loss of 3 billion yuan from a year ago. It announced that CEO Xu Lei would step down, and CFO Sandy Ran XU was appointed the new CEO.  
  • Bank of England raised the interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.5%, as expected. Governor Andrew Bailey upgraded the UK GDP growth to be flat in the first half of the year and 0.9% by mid-2024 from a decline in the previous meeting. However, both GBP and FTSE 100 fell as markets doubted the economic outlook.

SGX announcements/news:

  • Singapore shines as third-largest growth in gold reserves in the past decade.
  • StarHub’s (SGX: CC3) net profit attributable to shareholders rose 26% YoY to $37.5m in Q1. The company stated that they experienced growth across all segments.

Today’s agenda:

  • New Zealand visitor arrivals for March m/m and inflation expectations for the second quarter.
  • UK’s March GDP.

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