March 28, 2023

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On Friday, US stocks mostly closed lower, as they were weighed down by consumer discretionary and technology shares, whereas stronger-than-expected US manufacturing data pushed the dollar higher. However, the market mostly shrugged off this data due to which US Treasury yields fell. According to data firm IHS Markit, the first half of this month saw an increase in its flash US manufacturing PMI to 61.5. After October 2009, this is the highest reading and was after a final reading in April of 60.5. Markets seemed to be spooked due to the increasing US inflationary risks. Furthermore, the minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday indicated that some policymakers were looking to taper bond purchases for reducing stimulus.

Patrick Harker, the President of the Philadelphia Fed Bank said on Friday that Fed officials now need to start discussing the best way of cutting down their asset purchases. Nonetheless, not all data indicates that the economy may be overheating. Furthermore, the increase in COVID-19 cases globally still remains a major concern. On Friday, the World Health Organization said that the official tolls that highlight the number of deaths attributed to the pandemic, whether directly or indirectly, is going to be significantly undercounted. 

Market experts said that a lot of money had been taken out by institutional investors due to inflation concerns, but as soon as these fears are alleviated, the money will flow into tech stocks once more. There was a 0.5% decline in the S&P 500 index, while a 0.6% fall was reported by the consumer discretionary index. There was a 0.36% increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as it climbed by 123.69 points. In contrast, the S&P500 fell by 0.8% or 3.26 points. The NASDAQ composite had also gone down by 0.48% or 64.75 points. There was a 0.4% decline in the S&P 500 for the week.

A 0.57% increase was reported in the pan-European STOXX 600 index and a 0.03% increase was also seen in the MSCI’s gauge of stocks around the world. The flash Composite Purchase Managers’ Index by IHS Markit is regarded as a good guide to the economic health and it had climbed in the Eurozone to 56.9 in the month of May. This was the highest it had been since February 2018. There was also a 9.2% surge in British retail sales in April, which was twice the forecast by economists. In addition, a record high was achieved by the UK Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index as it reached 62.0. 

Sterling was last down by 0.02%, as it reached a value of $1.4144. There was a 0.27% increase in the dollar index, but the euro fell by 0.38% to reach $1.2179. Bitcoin slid in the Bitcoin market after China increased its efforts to prevent financial and speculative risks by cracking down on the trading and mining of the world’s most popular and largest cryptocurrency. The US Treasury Department had also introduced new rules requiring reporting large crypto transfers to the Internal Revenue Service and the risk to financial stability due to cryptocurrencies was also flagged by the Fed. 

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