Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, July 27:
1. Dollar licks wounds near 13-month lows on dovish Fed
The U.S. dollar was nursing losses at 13-month lows against a basket of the other major currencies after the Federal Reserve's more cautious wording on the U.S. inflation outlook added to expectations that policy tightening would be glacial at best.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was at 93.35 in early trade after touching a low of 93.00 overnight, the weakest since June 2016.
While the Fed said it expected to start shrinking its massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon", the central bank also noted weakness in U.S. inflation more explicitly than before.
The recognition of soft inflation added to expectations that the Fed's plan to raise interest rates a third time this year might be delayed.
According to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, conviction for another rate hike before the end of the year has faded, with less than 40% of market players expecting another move by December.
Traders will eye data from the U.S. to gauge the strength of the world's largest economy and how it will impact the Fed's view on monetary policy.
2. Markets brace for busiest day of the earnings season
About 60 S&P 500 companies are due to report corporate results, making it the busiest day of the reporting season.
Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), UPS (NYSE:UPS), Mastercard (NYSE:MA), Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) and MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) are among the big names reporting before the opening bell.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) and First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) are due to report after the closing bell.
3. Facebook shares on track to open at record high
Facebook's mobile advertising business grew by more than 50% in the second quarter, the company said in its earnings report late on Wednesday, as the social network continued to establish itself as the venue of choice for an ever-growing array of online advertisers.
Shares in Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), owner of four of the most popular mobile services in the world, rose more than 4% to an all-time high of about $173 in pre-market trading.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to more record highs at the open on Wall Street, with the blue-chip Dow futures indicating a gain of 33 points, or around 0.2%; the S&P 500 futures ticked up 4 points, or about 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures rose 30 points, or roughly 0.5%.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a popular measure of Wall Street fear, was on track to open down 2.5% at 9.36, not far from the lowest levels on record.
4. European earnings fail to impress
Investors in Europe weighed a slew of corporate financial reports, which failed to impress for the most part, leaving the region’s equity benchmark little changed.
Shares in German lender Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) slumped around 3% after forecasting lower full-year revenues and only a modest improvement in earnings, as second-quarter sales were hit by a drop in capital markets trading.
British drugmaker AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) fell 15% to its lowest level in almost five months after a closely watched advanced lung cancer trial failed. Separately, AstraZeneca swung to a profit, but revenue fell, in the second quarter.
Nestle (SIX:NESN) results also disappointed. Its shares fell 1.5% after the world's largest food group trimmed its 2017 sales outlook, adding fuel to shareholder demands on CEO Mark Schneider to speed up a turnaround.
Diageo (LON:DGE) was also higher after the food-and-beverage company raised its margin growth forecast and launched a share buyback.
5. Gold soars to highest level since mid-June
The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.
Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures rallied to a five-week high of $16.73 a troy ounce.
Meanwhile, copper futures stayed near their highest level in more than two years amid talk China may ban imports of some scrap metal from the end of 2018.
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