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Nasdaq: the red Snap signal is lit before the rally

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Major U.S. stock indices closed on the third consecutive day of growth, but today this rally has a chance to break.

Although the capitalization of Snap (owner of the social network Snapchat) reached only $27 billion yesterday afternoon, after falling more than 5 times, the company has already twice brought down the stocks of corporations valued at hundreds of billions and even trillions of dollars. In May, the collapse was triggered by the announcement that Snap would not meet its revenue and earnings targets. Now the reason was the Q2 report, published after the end of the main trading session.

It was worse than even the downwardly revised forecasts. The loss per share was 2 cents, not one. Revenue fell to $1.11 billion versus an expected $1.14 billion.

Shares of Snap, along with other battered tech stocks, were among the leaders yesterday, adding 5.42% at the close. But within minutes of the report, they collapsed 27.83% on the post-market.

Snap attributed the results to weakening demand on its online advertising platform. It cited a tougher economy, an iOS update in 2021, and increased competition. The company said that even quite healthy businesses have been cutting back on its operations because of cost pressures from inflation. At the same time, it said it wasn’t giving third-quarter forecasts because it’s incredibly difficult to forecast right now.

The market habitually extrapolated this situation to other companies, as it did in May. In particular, this led to a drop in shares of Alphabet, which has a capitalization of more than $1.5 trillion, by almost 3%. Shares of other technological giants also plummeted.

Meanwhile, Thursday was the third straight day of gains for major U.S. indices. The S&P 500 rose 0.99%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.51% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.36%. Some analysts were already expressing hope that the “bottom” of the market had passed. But the latest events make it doubtful.

In many respects, growth was connected with cases when the statements exceeded downward revised forecasts. But gradually their weight is diminishing. According to Refinitiv, on Tuesday, of the 48 S&P 500 companies that reported earnings, 89.2% exceeded forecasts. On Wednesday, after 60 reports, they were 78.3%. And yesterday morning, when 91 companies already reported, that share dropped to 78%.

Some disappointments turn out to be very noticeable, although they are not always related specifically to the Q2 results. For example, AT&T stock fell 7.6% yesterday after its annual cash flow forecast fell – the 3-month results beat expectations. Shares of American Airlines fell 7.4% due to an anticipated slowdown in growth. Carnival lost more than 11% after it announced it had placed an additional share issue. United Airlines, on the other hand, fell just below expectations, with its stock plummeting by more than 10%.

Nevertheless, the market was generally up yesterday. Today, it’s going to be more difficult. Snap isn’t the only one with bad surprises after the close of the main trading session.

Shares of toy maker Mattel fell 2.8% as it said its earnings were hurt by a sharp rise in the dollar. Capital One Financial lost 4.9% after disappointing results. Intuitive Surgical shares plummeted 12.6% for a similar reason. And Boston Beer also lost 8.4% due to a decline in its annual outlook.

At the same time, the impact of Snap on the quotes of other companies on Thursday evening expanded like circles on water. Social networks were falling. For example, Pinterest stock was losing more than 7 percent. Advertising and related technology companies were selling off. In particular, Trade Desk stock was down about 7%.

A lot of other companies, from Apple and Microsoft to Walmart and Target, also rode this wave, albeit not as badly (down within a percent). Futures on major U.S. indices went into the red zone. So Friday does not promise to be an easy day. But Twitter is just reporting today, and whether the fall will accelerate or slow down may be determined by this very company.


Gold prices muted as rate fears keep traders to the sidelines

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Gold prices muted as rate fears keep traders to the sidelines
© Reuters.– Gold prices moved in a flat-to-low range on Wednesday, extending their recent run of muted performance as anxiety over higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates persisted ahead of key economic readings.

The yellow metal remained squarely within a $2,000 to $2,050 trading range established over the past month, as any upside in gold was largely limited by a string of Federal Reserve warnings that the bank was in no hurry to begin trimming rates early in 2024. Strength in the , which remained near three-month highs, also pressured gold prices.

Still, gold prices also remained firm above the key $2,000 an ounce support level, indicating that fears of a global economic slowdown and geopolitical tensions in Russia and the Middle East were feeding some safe haven demand for the yellow metal.

steadied at $2,030.69 an ounce, while expiring in April fell 0.2% to $2,039.45 an ounce by 00:20 ET (05:20 GMT). 

PCE inflation, GDP data awaited for more cues

Markets were now awaiting key inflation and economic growth readings for more trading cues.

data- the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge- is due on Thursday, and is expected to show inflation remained sticky in January. Such a scenario gives the Fed more impetus to keep interest rates higher for longer.

Several Fed officials also warned this week that sticky inflation will keep the Fed from lowering interest rates early in 2024. 

Before the inflation data, a second reading on fourth-quarter is due later on Wednesday, and is expected to show some cooling in economic growth.

But the U.S. economy is still expected to remain well ahead of its developed world peers, giving the Fed enough headroom to keep rates higher for longer. 

Higher rates herald more pressure on gold, given that they increase the opportunity cost of buying bullion. Other precious metals also retreated on this notion, with falling 0.5% to $892.05 an ounce, while fell 0.7% to $22.602 an ounce on Wednesday. 

Copper prices dip, China PMIs awaited      

Among industrial metals, expiring in March fell 0.4% to $3.8390 a pound. 

The red metal saw a strong run-up in recent weeks on optimism over more stimulus measures in top importer China.

But this rally will be tested on Friday with the release of closely-watched data from the country, which is expected to provide more cues on the state of business activity through February. 

Readings for January showed little improvement in the economy.

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Oil rises more than $1/bbl as OPEC+ mulls extending output cuts

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Oil rises more than $1/bbl as OPEC+ mulls extending output cuts
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Oil rig pumpjacks, also known as thirsty birds, extract crude from the Wilmington Field oil deposits area near Long Beach, California July 30, 2013. REUTERS/David McNew//File Photo

By Arathy Somasekhar

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose more than $1 a barrel on Tuesday as sources said OPEC+ is considering extending voluntary oil output cuts into the second quarter to provide additional support.

futures rose $1.12, or 1.4%, to $83.65 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) were up $1.29, or 1.7%, at $78.87.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, known as OPEC+, agreed in November to voluntary cuts totalling about 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first quarter this year, led by Saudi Arabia rolling over its own voluntary cut.

The producer group could keep the additional cuts in place until the end of the year, two of the sources told Reuters.

“We are going to see some tight supplies down the road,” said Dennis Kissler, senior vice president of trading at BOK Financial.

“OPEC is looking for mid-$80s, may be around $85 a barrel on Brent. If we stay below that, they will curtail production all the way to the year end,” Kissler added.

Also supporting prices on the supply side, Israel and Hamas, as well as Qatari mediators, all sounded notes of caution about progress towards a truce in Gaza, after U.S. President Joe Biden said he believed a ceasefire could be reached in under a week to halt the war for Ramadan.

Yemen’s Houthi spokesperson said the group’s operations in the Red Sea would stop only when Israeli “aggression” against Gaza ends. Houthi missile and drone attacks on international shipping have driven up the cost of transporting energy products and contributed to a tighter market.

In the U.S., crude inventories were expected to have risen about 2.7 million barrels last week, while distillates and gasoline stockpiles were seen falling, a Reuters poll showed.

The American Petroleum Institute will release the industry group’s weekly inventories data at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT), followed by the government’s report on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the 3-2-1 U.S. refinery crack spread , a proxy for refining margins, rose to their highest in more than five months. The surge suggests increased profitability for refineries amidst robust consumer demand for petroleum products.

Markets expect to see some improvement in Chinese oil demand as improving travel demand over the Lunar New Year holiday outweighed worries of slowing macro-economic indicators.

Russian authorities announced a six-month ban on gasoline exports from March 1 to compensate for rising demand and to allow for refinery maintenance.

Global crude oil markets were expected to be fairly stable this year at around $80 a barrel, Russel Hardy, CEO of oil and gas trader Vitol, said.

Speaking at the Energy Institute conference, Hardy also said global oil demand was expected to peak in the early 2030s.

Both oil benchmarks had settled more than 1% higher on Monday after declines of 2-3% over the previous week as markets factored in a greater likelihood that cuts to interest rates might take longer to come than previously expected.

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Oil falls 1% on Fed rate cut caution and stocks build

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Oil falls 1% on Fed rate cut caution and stocks build
© Reuters. Oil, miniatures of oil barrels and U.S. dollar banknote are seen in this illustration taken, June 6, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Files

By Paul Carsten

LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices pulled back on Wednesday as the prospect of delays to U.S. interest rate cuts and a jump in stocks that trounced expectations offset a boost from a potential extension to OPEC+ supply curbs.

futures fell 76 cents, or 0.91%, to $82.89 a barrel by 1227 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures (WTI) were down 83 cents, or 1.05%, at $78.04. Both benchmarks had fallen $1 in earlier trading.

Vandana Hari, founder of oil market analysis provider Vanda (NASDAQ:) Insights, attributed the price falls to profit-taking plus a combined response to a surge in U.S. crude stocks and continuing hopes of a Gaza ceasefire deal in coming days.

U.S. crude stocks showed an 8.43 million barrel build in the week ended Feb. 23, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute (API) figures on Tuesday. 

That shattered expectations of a 1.8 million barrel build, according to analysts polled by Reuters on Monday.

Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman had signalled on Tuesday that she was in no rush to cut U.S. interest rates, particularly given continuing inflation risks. Higher-for-longer rates could dampen economic growth and suppress demand for oil.

Due Thursday is the January U.S. personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation and a key factor in rate decisions.

“The power of inflationary expectations must not be underestimated,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM in a note on Wednesday. “In case tomorrow’s U.S. PCE reading comes in above expectations, a temporary top might have been found” for oil.

Brent and WTI futures rose more than $1 a barrel on Tuesday after Reuters reported that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia (OPEC+) will consider extending voluntary oil output cuts into the second quarter. 

Analysts at ANZ Research said that such a move by OPEC+ would be likely to tighten the market.

Russian authorities on Tuesday announced a six-month ban on gasoline exports from March 1 to compensate for rising demand from consumers and farmers and to allow for planned refinery maintenance.

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