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GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar pause, China economy support pledge lift markets

reuters.com · 04/29/2022 07:36
GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar pause, China economy support pledge lift markets

Hong Kong listed tech stocks gain as much as 10%

MSCI world stocks rise but set for worst month since March 2020

Nasdaq futures fall 0.7% on poor Amazon earnings

Dollar softens but set for best month since 2015

Adds quote, China detail, updates prices

By Sujata Rao

- A dollar pullback from 20-year highs and Chinese authorities' pledge to support economic growth offered respite to battered equity markets on Friday, though Wall Street remained poised to open lower after lacklustre earnings from retail giant Amazon.

World stocks remain on course for their worst month since March 2020 with a 5.8% loss, and while Asian and European stocks clawed their way higher, Nasdaq futures NQcv1 were down 1% by 1020 GMT and S&P 500 futures fell 0.7%.

Frankfurt-listed shares in Amazon fell 8% AMZN.F AMZN after it became the latest U.S. corporate giant to blame rising costs for pressuring earnings nL3N2WQ4SI.

April has been a dramatic month for global markets, with an unprecedented 5% dollar surge, driven by expectations of an aggressive U.S. rate hike cycle, as well as safe-haven flows from investors concerned about the Ukraine war and signs of economic slowdown.

The dollar's index =USD is set for its biggest monthly rise in seven years but eased 0.6% on Friday, snapping a four-day streak of gains against a basket of currencies.

That allowed the euro and the yen, which have hit five-year and 20-year lows respectively on Thursday, to claw back some losses EUR=EBS, JPY=EBS

"Perhaps the dollar crescendo has peaked," Colin Asher, senior economist at Mizuho, said, noting that aggressive interest rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve had already been priced in and there was "some two-way risk on whether the Fed actually makes good on what's priced."

Markets expect 150 basis points of rate hikes in the next three Fed meetings, far outpacing other global central banks.

Those bets were not derailed by Thursday data showing the U.S. economy shrank in the first 2022 quarter, though the figures underscored the risks to growth posed by tighter monetary policy.

"If they tighten as much as is priced in, you will get no (U.S.) growth by the end of this year," Asher added.

MSCI's global equity index rose 0.5% and a pan-European benchmark was 0.8% higher .MIWD00000PUS, .STOXX.

Markets were also buoyed by a Chinese state media report that a meeting of the Politburo, the Communist Party's decision-making body, had pledged to protect economic growth and achieve economic targets for 2022 nL2N2WR07P.

The meeting, chaired by President Xi Jinping, also hinted at measures to support property markets.

That lifted Hong Kong .HSTECH tech shares 10% on hopes Beijing might stop its regulatory clampdown on the sector. Gains were led by e-commerce players JD.com JD, Alibaba BABA and Meituan MPNGY which gained 12%-15%

Chinese blue chips .CSI300 rose 2.4%, while Shanghai shares .SSEC gained 2.4%. However both indexes are down 5%-6% this month, as Beijing's zero-COVID policy clouds growth prospects.

"Clearly, in response to unexpected shocks, the government has accelerated the policy easing measures that have already been approved in the (National People's Congress) meeting," JPMorgan analyst Haibin Zhu told clients.

GROWTH VS INFLATION

The first-quarter earnings season so far has been healthy, with most companies beating estimates, but worries are growing that high input costs and a slowing global economy will crimp the outlook.

BofA analysts predicted that for European stocks "support from rising inflation and energy earnings upgrades is set to come to an end...the most important macro trend over the coming months will be a sharp loss of global growth momentum.

Companies also face headwinds from higher borrowing costs, with benchmark 10-year U.S. yields US10YT=RR having risen as high as 2.981% on April 20. While it stood on Friday to 2.87%, it has now risen for five months straight US/.

European government bond yields rose too, as data showed euro zone inflation at a record high 7.5% in April, on the heels of above-forecast French and German prints nL2N2WR0O5

Money markets moved after the data to price 90 basis points of European Central Bank rate hikes by year-end and the euro rose 0.7% at $1.0568 EUR=EBS.

Elsewhere the yen, which swept past the key psychological 130 yen level on Thursday, clawed back 0.75% at 129.9 JPY=EBS.

China's offshore-traded yuan also firmed but was headed for its biggest monthly drop since 1994 CNH=EBS

"A lot of the dollar pricing has been done and a catch up is due for the laggards," Mizuho's Asher said.


The unstoppable dollar?https://tmsnrt.rs/38FaEte

Global markets in 2022https://tmsnrt.rs/3LwfXcL

(Reporting by Sujata Rao; additional reporting by Alun John in Hong Kong and Marc Jones in London; editing by Kim Coghill and Chizu Nomiyama)

((sujata.rao@thomsonreuters.com ; +44 207 542 6176/020 7536 7473/44 7990567646))

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