© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Japanese yen and U.S. dollar banknotes are seen with a currency exchange rate graph in this illustration picture taken June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo
By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar edged higher against the pound and the euro on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady but stiffened its hawkish stance with a further rate increase projected by the end of the year.
The pound and Swiss franc tumbled on Thursday after the British and Swiss central banks kept rates unchanged, while the Japanese yen strengthened against the greenback before Friday’s Bank of Japan policy announcement.
The Fed held interest rates steady at the 5.25%-5.50% range, in line with market expectations on Wednesday, but it signalled that its officials increasingly believe hawkish policy can succeed in lowering inflation without wrecking the economy or leading to large job losses.
Along with another possible rate hike this year, the Fed’s updated projections show significantly tighter rates through 2024 than previously expected.
“Dollar bulls absolutely got what they wanted yesterday,” Helen Given, an FX trader at Monex USA.
“Though Powell didn’t go as far as to say he expects a soft landing, it’s pretty clear between the dot plot and the Fed’s updated growth forecasts the central bank has convinced markets that is where the U.S. economy may be headed,” Given said.
“Of course, this contrasts fairly directly with guidance from the ECB and BoE, facing much more dire economic situations,” she said.
The euro fell 0.02% to $1.0658.
The pound fell to its lowest since March after the Bank of England held interest rates steady on Thursday, following a cooler-than-expected inflation report the previous day.
Thursday marked the first time since December 2021 that the BoE did not raise rates at its monetary policy meeting, a halt to a run of 14 consecutive rate hikes.
The pound was 0.41% lower at $1.2293.
Earlier, the Swiss franc dropped after the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly held rates steady, marking the first time the central bank has not hiked since March 2022, although it kept options open for further rate rises.
Meanwhile the yen was up 0.62% at 147.38 per dollar as attention stayed fixed on the possibility of the Japanese government intervening in foreign exchange markets to prop up the currency.
Japan will not rule out any options in addressing excess volatility in currency markets, the government’s top spokesperson said on Thursday, issuing a fresh warning against the yen’s decline towards the psychologically important 150-mark per dollar.
“Traders are repositioning before both the meeting tomorrow and CPI releases,” Monex’s Given said.
“(BOJ Governor Kazuo) Ueda did mention that if CPI continues strong the BoJ would look at raising interest rates – hence why it likely will not come tomorrow, but the following meeting is a great candidate for it,” she said.
“Any reading above expectations of 3.0% would put a hike from the BoJ squarely on the table, prompting today’s moves,” Given said.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s Riksbank and Norway’s central bank both raised rates by 25 basis points, in line with expectations.
The euro was up 0.4% against the Swedish crown and about flat against the Norwegian crown following the respective decisions.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin was down about 2.1% on the day at $26,563.
U.S. stocks soar after better than expected inflation stokes rate hopes
Investing.com — U.S. stocks surged on Tuesday after data showed that inflation cooled more than expected in October, offering support to the view that the Federal Reserve may be closing to ending its rate-hiking cycle.
By 10:55 ET (15:55 GMT), the was up 505 points or 1.5%, while the was up 2% and the was up 2.3%.
The main indices on Wall Street closed mixed on Monday in subdued trading at the start of a new week. The 30-stock Dow added 0.2%, while the benchmark S&P dipped by 0.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.2%.
U.S. CPI cools more than expected
These gains followed the release of data showing headline inflation in the U.S. slowed by more than expected in October, in a boost for Federal Reserve officials keen on corralling price pressures in the world’s largest economy.
The U.S. rose by 3.2% in October on an annualized basis, decelerating from a rate of 3.7% in September. It was the reading’s first decline in three months. Month-on-month, the measure came in flat, down from a gain of 0.4% in September.
Economists had forecast a 3.3% annual gain and a 0.1% gain from the prior month.
Fed Chair indicated last week that further interest rate hikes were still possible as the central bank attempts to bring inflation back down to its 2% target, but the market still widely expects the Fed to stand pat at the year’s last meeting as inflationary pressures show signs of cooling. This result has prompted investors to speculate that the Fed’s next move may be a cut next year.
Home Depot reports drop in 3Q sales
On the corporate side of the equation, big-box retailers are stepping up with earnings reports.
Home Depot (NYSE:) reported a smaller-than-anticipated 3.1% decline in third-quarter comparable sales as customers undertook more modest projects and home repairs. The retailer also indicated caution about the coming months, as it narrowed its full-year outlook, now expecting sales to fall by 3% to 4% from the prior year, compared with a previous expectation of a 2% to 5% decline. Shares rose 6.3%.
Target (NYSE:) follows with its earnings on Wednesday, while Walmart (NYSE:) and Macy’s (NYSE:) are scheduled to release their results on Thursday.
Electric vehicle maker Fisker Inc (NYSE:) reported disappointing earnings and said it would delay its quarterly regulatory filing. Shares were down 23%.
Oil helped by IEA lifting demand growth forecasts
Oil prices edged higher Tuesday after the International Energy Agency raised its oil demand growth forecasts for this year and next despite economic risks ahead.
The IEA, in its , lifted its 2023 growth forecast to 2.4 million barrels per day from 2.3 million, and 930,000 barrels per day from 880,000 in 2024.
The agency, however, was careful to point to an expected deceleration in economic growth in nearly all major economies next year, but said its expectations were underpinned by hopes of interest rate cuts and the recent fall in crude prices.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries had also slightly raised its 2023 forecast for growth in global oil demand, in its , released on Monday.
(Peter Nurse and Oliver Gray contributed to this item.)
Lloyd’s of London SPAC venture scrapped due to volatile markets
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Lutine Bell during an event to mark accession of Britain’s King Charles at the Lloyd’s Building in the City of London, Britain, September 15, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/File Photo
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Financials Acquisition Corp said on Monday it would enter liquidation as it scraps a planned merger with its newly formed insurance venture, citing “insufficient” cash commitments due to volatile capital markets.
The special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) had unveiled plans to combine with London Innovation Underwriters (LIU) and raise additional funds to deploy in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market.
A shareholder meeting planned for Nov. 14 to approve the tie-up plans and seek up to 300 million pounds has been cancelled, the company said.
The SPAC has an end of year deadline to use funds raised for a takeover, and said it would not seek an extension.
“Consequently, the Company proposes to cease operations, other than for the purpose of returning funds to Shareholders and conducting an orderly winding up of the Company,” Financials Acquisition Corp said in a statement.
“In order to ensure due payment of creditors, the Company proposes to appoint a liquidator as soon as practicable to administer the winding up of operations, and expects to release a further announcement regarding this process in due course.”
LIU said despite interest from a wide range of investors, the level of demand was insufficient to reach the minimum cash threshold required.
LIU said it would consider exploring alternative options to pursue its strategy of accessing the Lloyd’s of London insurance market.
The failed effort comes amid a dearth of new listings in London and concerns over its appeal as a capital markets hub, despite profits at Lloyds (LON:) of London which are booming thanks to rising prices for insuring commercial risks.
Following a frenzy of deals in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, SPACs have lost popularity as they struggleto find businesses to merge with. Others have seen lacklustre stock performance after acquiring a target.
Medical device stocks rise in relief after Wegovy heart benefits data
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A 0.25 mg injection pen of Novo Nordisk’s weight-loss drug Wegovy is shown in this photo illustration in Oslo, Norway, September 1, 2023. REUTERS/Victoria Klesty/Illustration/File Photo
(Reuters) -Shares of U.S. medical device makers rose on Monday as a potential hit from the cardiac benefits of Novo Nordisk (NYSE:)’s weight-loss drug Wegovy was seen as more moderate for the battered sector than initially feared by investors.
To be sure, the full results presented on Saturday at a major medical meeting gave analysts even more confidence in the heart protective benefits of the hugely popular drug.
“We believe key findings could be seen as a marginal positive for some, but not all, verticals within MedTech, especially given currently depressed sentiment,” said Baird analyst Jeff Johnson.
The data, for instance, showed the reduction in risk of non-fatal stroke was not statistically significant over the length of the trial.
That lifted shares of Penumbra (NYSE:), which makes devices used in surgeries for stroke patients, 13% in morning trading.
Its shares have tumbled about 28% as of last close since Novo in August said Wegovy had also shown a clear cardiovascular benefit.
The $4.64 billion iShares US Medical Devices ETF rose 2.3% on Monday, eyeing its biggest one-day percentage gain since April. The ETF is down about 13% this year, through Friday’s close.
Shares of diabetes care device makers Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:), Dexcom (NASDAQ:), Insulet (NASDAQ:), Tandem and Medtronic (NYSE:) gained between 2% and 8%.
Monday’s moves are the latest sign that investors across industries are closely looking at developments with the popular new class of weight-loss and diabetes drugs called GLP-1s such as Wegovy and Eli Lilly (NYSE:)’s Mounjaro and Zepbound.
“The full detailed results … do not shift our outlook that MedTech device stocks appear broadly oversold,” said Leerink analyst Mike Kratky.
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