LONDON, May 1 — Wall Street opened higher today ahead of an interest-rate update from the US Federal Reserve, while many of the world’s stock markets were shut for May Day.
New York’s S&P 500 stocks index built on the previous day’s record highs and the Nasdaq also rose on positive earnings in the tech sector.
Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare said there were also “plenty of good earnings headlines to go around to feed the market’s bullish appetite”.
He the more than five per cent rise in Apple’s share price yesterday following better-than-expected results was “all you need to know” about why the markets were pointing upwards.
In other positive news for the US economy, payroll data showed that private hiring surged by 275,000 new positions in April, beating the consensus forecast by more than 100,000.
Dean Popplewell, analyst at Oanda trading group, said that “with most of continental Europe and Asia closed for the May 1 bank holiday, trading ranges have been tightly contained with thin liquidity as we wait for the main event for today — the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) monetary policy announcement.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to announce that the US central bank will keep its main interest rate at 2.25-2.5 per cent.
But as the Fed kicked off its third meet of the year yesterday, US President Donald Trump again slammed it for prior interest rate hikes and reiterated his call for a cut.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index meanwhile ticked downwards after media reports suggested Prime Minister Theresa May wants a conclusion from cross-party Brexit talks by the middle of next week.
However fresh data today showed that Britain’s manufacturing sector slowed last month on Brexit uncertainty.
The Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for April came in at 53.1, down from 55.1 in March.
A figure above 50 indicates growth.
Oil prices were mixed today after claims of an attempted military coup in OPEC-member Venezuela — as well as the US Secretary of State saying that it was “possible” Trump would take military action in the South American country.
Key figures around 1340 GMT
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 per cent at 7,399.13 points
New York – Dow: UP 0.2 per cent at 26,654.80
Pound/dollar: UP at US$1.3068 from US$1.3032 at 2100 GMT Tuesday
Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.91 from 86.06 pence
Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.1225 from US$1.1215
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.34 from 111.42
Oil – Brent Crude: UP 19 cents at US$72.28 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN eight cents at US$63.86
Source: The Malay Mail Online