This was a somewhat unexpected stance by Jerome Powell, who wants to end the extraordinary monetary support measures a bit sooner than expected. Up until now, Powell was positioned more in the camp of the soft and accommodative central bankers. The new stance towards a quicker end to the asset purchase program is a consequence, he made no secret of it, of the central bank's concern about the strength of inflation.
Wall Street's stall yesterday was gradual, but it was accentuated by the discovery of a first case of Omicron variant in California. As in previous waves and based on implacable logic, America will follow Europe’s path. News is saturated with the new variant and its consequences, without having the necessary hindsight to draw any conclusion. This uncertainty will continue to fuel volatility in the days to come. The key markers to watch will be the virulence of the disease, the ability of health systems to absorb cases requiring hospitalization and the impact on children.
At the macro level, there are several events to watch today. First, partial US employment statistics on the eve of the monthly labor market data. Initial jobless claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the week that ended Nov. 27, the Labor Department said. This is higher than last week, but less than the 240,000 Wall Street expected.
Today’s agenda also includes a bevy of Fed bankers at various meetings. They are expected to comment on their boss's latest outing and give their views on inflation and the impact of the new pandemic wave. Finally, the Opec+ meets in a particular context of decline in oil prices, under the dual impact of the release of part of the strategic reserves of large consumer countries and the resurgence of the coronavirus. Will the cartel decide to put the brakes on its plans to increase production in an attempt to raise prices? The decision will come any minutes now.
The mood on stock markets is once again a bit strange this morning, with very bullish US leading indicators, as if indexes wanted to erase their correction of the previous day. Volatility remains high as the VIX index passed the 30-point mark for the first time since February.
Economic highlights of the day:
European employment figures for October, the US Challenger survey on layoffs and weekly unemployment claims.
The dollar is trading at $0.8823 this morning, while gold remains around $1,775. Oil rebounds after falling again yesterday to USD 68.31 for Brent and USD 65.05 for WTI. US 10-year debt is paying 1.44% (-1 point) while the Bund is unchanged at -0.35%. Bitcoin is trading around USD 56,374.
* Apple told its suppliers that demand for its iPhone 13 lineup was weakening as shortages and delivery delays caused some consumers to forgo buying the smartphone for the holiday season, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. Apple shares are down 1.4 percent in premarket trading while those of its suppliers, such as QUALCOMM, SKYWORKS, BROADCOM and QORVO, are down 0.3 percent to 1.6 percent.
* The Boeing Company gains 4.3% in pre-market trading after the Chinese aviation authority issued new navigation guidelines that pave the way for a possible lifting of the ban on the 737 MAX, a plane involved in two deadly 2018 and 2019 accidents in Ethiopia and Indonesia, from flying in China.
* Vir Biotechnology - GlaxoSmithKline said Thursday that a preliminary analysis showed its antibody-based COVID-19 treatment developed with Vir Biotechnology was effective against the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Vir Biotechnology shares jumped 8% in pre-market trading.
* Kellogg announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement with a labor organization after two months of strikes by employees at several of the company's U.S. grain plants.
* Grab - The Asian VTC services giant, which merged for $40 billion with a SPAC (an investment vehicle) led by private equity firm Altimeter Growth, is set to make its stock market debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday.
* Digital World Acquisition - Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), which is in the process of merging with SPAC (an investment vehicle) Digital World Acquisition, is looking to raise up to $1 billion more for the former U.S. president's social network, two sources close to the matter told Reuters. Digital World Acquisition shares jumped 28 percent in after-hours trading.
* Square - The digital payments company led by Jack Dorsey, the founder and now ex-CEO of Twitter, announced Wednesday that it now wants to call itself "Block Inc," a name change that should reflect its desire to diversify into new technologies like blockchain.
* Twitter announced on Thursday that it had deleted 3,465 user accounts that were operating for the benefit of six foreign states including Mexico, China and Russia.
* Uber Technologies announced plans Thursday to launch a new feature in India that would allow customers to make vehicle reservations via Meta Platforms' WhatsApp messaging, which has more than 500 million users.
* Tesla on Thursday launched a four-wheeled electric quad bike for children in the U.S. called "Cyberquad for Kids" for $1,900 (1,675 euros).
* Weibo - The Chinese social network is up 3.6 percent in pre-market trading after announcing a proposed listing in Hong Kong to raise $385 million, three sources said.
- Ambarella: Craig-Hallum adjusts price target to $250 from $170, reiterates buy rating
- American Tower: Morgan Stanley adjusts price target on to $294 from $316, maintains equalweight rating
- Callaway Golf Company: Berenberg adjusts price target to $43 from $40, maintains buy rating
- Crown Castle International: Morgan Stanley adjusts price target on to $208 from $213, maintains overweight rating
- Cushman & Wakefield: Morgan Stanley adjusts price target on to $23.75 from $21.75, maintains overweight rating
- EasyJet: Berenberg remains Buy with target lowered to GBP 750 from GBP 800.
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise: Goldman Sachs adjusts 's price target to $13 from $14, keeps sell rating
- International Business Machines: Evercore ISI reinstated coverage. with a recommendation of inline. PT up 6.9% to $125.
- Microchip Technology: Jefferies adjusts price target on to $109 from $98, maintains buy rating
- NetApp: Northland Capital adjusts price target to $111 from $107, keeps outperform rating
- Salesforce.com: Goldman Sachs still consider the stock as a Buy opportunity. Previously set at USD 360, the target price has been slightly modified to USD 370.
- Superdry: RBC upgrades from sector perform to outperform with a target of GBP 425.
- Twitter: Citigroup adjusts price target to $47 from $60, keeps neutral rating
- United Utilities: AlphaValue upgrades from Sell to Hold with a GBp1026 target.
- UnitedHealth Group: UBS adjusts price target to $452 from $435, maintains neutral rating