It's been a good week for Wall Street, which seems to have found its footing following last week's drubbing. The S&P 500 advanced on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, adding 3.0% in total, and the S&P 500 futures are pointing towards more gains at today's opening bell, trading 10 points, or 0.4%, above fair value.
This week's gains have come in the face of rising interest rates, which are up again this morning; the yield on the benchmark 10-yr Treasury note is up three basis points at 2.94%, which marks a four-year high. The 2-yr yield is also higher, up one basis point at 2.18%, which marks its highest level in nearly a decade.
Rising yields are typically a headwind for equities as they make less-risky government bonds more attractive to investors. However, the market has recently chosen to focus on the upside--which is rising interest rates go hand-in-hand with a growing economy, and a growing economy should, in turn, translate to good earnings growth.
Investors will have a big batch of economic data to sift through today, starting with the 8:30 AM ET release of weekly Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 227K), the Producer Price Index for January (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%), the Empire State Manufacturing Index for February (Briefing.com consensus 19), and the Philadelphia Fed Index for February (Briefing.com consensus 22.0).
Industrial Production (Briefing.com consensus +0.2%) and Capacity Utilization (Briefing.com consensus 78.0%) for January will cross the wires at 9:15 AM ET and will be followed by the NAHB Housing Market Index for February (Briefing.com consensus 73) at 10:00 AM ET and Net Long-Term TIC Flows at 4:00 PM ET.
In U.S. corporate news:
- Cisco Systems (CSCO 44.98, +2.89): +6.9% after reporting better than expected earnings and raising its profit and revenue guidance.
- TripAdvisor (TRIP 47.59, +6.87): +16.9% after beating revenue estimates.
Reviewing overnight developments:
- Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly closed on Wednesday in observance of the Lunar New Year. Japan's Nikkei +1.5%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng +2.0% (closed early), India's Sensex +0.4%.
- In economic data:
- Japan's December Core Machinery Orders -11.9% month-over-month (expected -1.9%; last 5.7%); -5.0% year-over-year (consensus 2.2%; last 4.1%). December Industrial Production +2.9% month-over-month (expected 2.7%; last 2.7%) and December Capacity Utilization +2.8% month-over-month (expected -0.3%; last 0.0%)
- Australia's January Employment Change 16,000 (expected 15,300; last 33,500). January Participation rate 65.6%, as expected (last 65.7%) and January Unemployment Rate 5.5%, as expected (last 5.6%)
- Singapore's January Non-Oil Exports +13.0% year-over-year (consensus 9.0%; last 3.1%)
- India's January WPI Inflation 2.84% year-over-year (expected 3.25%; last 3.58%)
- In news:
- Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso commented on the recent yen strength, saying it has not been abrupt enough to prompt an intervention from policymakers.
- South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has been criticized for moving too slow on regulatory reform. President Moon has promised on several occasions to push for drastic deregulation.
- Fitch affirmed New Zealand's AA rating with a 'Stable' outlook.
- Major European indices trade higher across the board. UK's FTSE +0.5%, Germany's DAX +0.8%, France's CAC +1.5%.
- In economic data:
- Eurozone December trade surplus EUR25.40 billion (expected EUR30.20 billion; last EUR26.30 billion)
- France's Q4 Unemployment Rate 8.9% (last 9.6%)
- Italy's December trade surplus EUR5.25 billion (expected EUR4.40 billion; last EUR5.69 billion)
- Spain's January CPI -1.1% month-over-month, as expected (last 0.0%); +0.6% year-over-year (consensus 0.5%; last 1.1%)
- In news:
- Greece's Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis acknowledged that the country wants a closer relationship with China and hopes to build closer ties with other Asian countries like India and Japan.
- Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will make sure that Germany maintains a balanced budget. The Chancellor's party remains opposed to debt mutualization in the eurozone.