There's nothing to see here. Equity markets have resumed their positive trend on a gentle slope, after a few jolts at the end of August in Europe. The Nasdaq took advantage of this to set a new record and Asian markets seem to be regaining some color after a start to the year that was far removed from Western performance. The coronavirus, which is still circulating, is no longer really a destabilizing factor for investors, who now believe they can correctly anticipate its consequences.
Trading is likely to pick up pace next week, after the Labor Day holiday.
But for now, monetary policy and the way in which central banks will unravel their support mechanisms is the main focus, a topic that is always on the back burner but which logically takes on more weight as important deadlines approach.
After Jackson Hole, investors are now looking to the European Central Bank's policy. Its head Christine Lagarde stated in Time Magazine that Europe only needs "surgical" support focused on sectors still in difficulty, given the economic upturn. In the hours that preceded, Luis de Guindos, Jens Weidmann and Robert Holzmann had also said something along these lines. This looks like a concerted communication plan, and it reinforces the interest of the ECB's monetary policy meeting next week.
The euro greeted these more hawkish than dove-like statements with a rally against the dollar. The dollar/euro pair could be in the news again with U.S. employment data, including leading indicators this afternoon and the official August figure released tomorrow. Economists believe that the Fed will use these numbers to set the timetable for the reduction of its own support program. It is possible, but not certain, that volatility will be a bit higher this weekend.
Today's economic highlights:
Another busy session in indicators, with the July producer price index in Europe, the Challenger survey on layoffs, new weekly jobless claims, unt labor costs and productivity excluding agriculture and the July trade balance and durable goods orders.
The euro rose to EUR 0.8433. The ounce of gold remains close to USD 1810. Oil is slightly higher at USD 73.10 per barrel of Brent and USD 70.32 per barrel of WTI. In the sovereign debt market, the US 10-year yield reached 1.30% and the Bund -0.38%. Bitcoin is back above USD 50,000.
* Apple on Wednesday announced a new relaxation of rules for its App Store that will allow some content providers, such as Netflix, to direct users to their websites to buy subscriptions.
* Alphabet - The U.S. Justice Department is preparing a second lawsuit against Google for abuse of dominance over its online advertising business, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
* Facebook - The Irish Data Protection Authority on Thursday fined Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp 225 million euros after an investigation into the messaging service's sharing of user data with other group companies.
* General Motors will cut production at several North American assembly plants later this month due to semiconductor shortages, the automaker announced Thursday.
* JPMorgan Chase - The bank will pay a 25 million euro fine in France as part of a settlement of suspected tax fraud, the French National Financial Prosecutor's Office said.
* Baxter International, a supplier of drugs and medical devices, announced on Thursday that it would buy rival Hill-Rom Holdings for about $10.5 billion. In pre-market trading, Hill-Rom is up 3.2%.
* Didi lost 1.3% in pre-market trading after it was summoned, along with 10 other VTC companies, to a meeting organized by Chinese authorities, who urged them to comply with existing rules and protect the security of user data.
* Alibaba - China's online retail giant confirmed Thursday that it plans to invest 100 billion yuan to support the government's "common prosperity" policy, a plan previously reported by the Zhejiang Daily.
* Tesla halted some operations at its Shanghai plant in August due to the global shortage of semiconductors, Bloomberg News reported Thursday, citing sources close to the matter. Production is now back to normal, the agency said. In pre-market trading, the automaker was reported down 1%.
* Moderna has submitted an application to the U.S. drug agency for a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, the pharmaceutical company announced Wednesday.
* Nikola gained more than 5% in pre-market trading after announcing a partnership with Bosch in the fuel cell business.
- Advance Auto Parts : Argus Research adjusts pt to $225 from $215, maintains buy rating
- AstraZeneca: Berenberg remains Buy with target price raised to GBP 100 from GBP 95.
- Blade Air Mobility: Deutsche Bank initiates coverage with buy rating, $15 price target
- Coca-Cola HBC: J.P. Morgan upgraded from Overweight to Neutral with a target of GBp 2850.
- Designer Brands : UBS adjusts price target on designer brands to $16 from $19, maintains neutral rating
- Homeserve: Barclays upgrades to overweight from equal-weight. PT up 21% to 1,160 pence
- Innovative Industrial Properties : BTIG adjusts innovative industrial properties' price target to $290 from $245, keeps buy rating
- Rio Tinto: Jefferies is positive on the stock with a Buy rating. The target price is revised downwards from GBp 7600 to GBp 6500.
- SiTime: Roth Capital adjusts pt to $260 from $200, maintains buy rating
- Trane Technologies: Deutsche Bank upgrades to buy from hold, adjusts price target to $56 from $196
- Twilio: President Capital Management raised the recommendation to buy from neutral. PT up 20% to $430
- Unilever: J.P. Morgan upgrades its rating to Underweight from Neutral with a target of GBp 3850.
- WEC Energy: Argus Adjusts WEC Energy Group PT to $104 From $100, Maintains Buy Rating
- Zymergen : UBS downgrades zymergen to neutral rating from buy, adjusts price target to $13 from $56