Global market report - January 31

The Federal Reserve set the tone for an uptick in world equity prices today, helped by a strong week of tech earnings from Facebook and Apple

James Gard 31 January, 2019 | 7:00PM

North America

Facebook continued to defy the adverse publicity it generates by posting higher revenues in the last three months of 2018. Shares rose in after-hours trading, while Apple was also boosted by a fair wind from Tuesday’s results. Amazon (AMZN), which is level pegging with Microsoft (MSFT) for the crown of biggest listed company in the world, releases earnings after the market closes tonight.

In economics, weekly jobless claims are due – ahead of tomorrow’s non-farm payrolls – and in Canada, November’s GDP number will be released.

The US economy is expected to have added 165,000 jobs in January, down from the 312,000 jobs created in December.

Europe

It is a busy day for FTSE 100 dividend heavyweights Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB), Unilever (ULVR) and Diageo (DGE), which all posted a rise in profits for the reporting period. While Unilever’s pre-tax profit was up over 50% on 2017, the company’s shares were in the doldrums and were among the FTSE 100’s biggest fallers.

The FTSE 100 has built on yesterday’s gains to moved closer to 7,000 points, with a rise of 45 points to 6,985, helped by Shell’s move higher.

Eurozone indices were mixed as investors reacted to a flurry of economic data, including the GDP release for the whole currency bloc. The Eurozone grew 1.2% on a year on year basis in the fourth quarter, or 0.2% quarter on quarter, and this data was exactly in line with forecasts. German retail sales crashed by nearly 4.5% month on month, a further sign that the Eurozone’s largest economy is struggling.

Asia

Stock markets in Asia were broadly positive, tracking a higher close on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve’s cautious outlook for 2019 triggered a move into riskier assets. Positive tech results from the likes of Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL) this week helped Hong Kong’s tech-sensitive stocks. The Hang Seng moved up over 1% to 27,942 points, which is nearly 3,000 points higher than at the start of the year.

Chinese economic data also supported regional equities, with both manufacturing and non-manufacturing indices beating expectations for January. China’s cap-weighted CSI 100 was up over 1% to head above 3,200 points.

 

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James Gard

James Gard  James Gard is subeditor for Morningstar.co.uk.