US stocks are slightly higher as a wide range of companies are starting to release earnings results. When looking at the top and bottom lines, we are seeing most results either beating or coming close to inline with expectations. The dollar is mixed again in what has been a lackluster session so far. EUR/USD has stayed within a 20 pip range, while GBP/USD recapture tentatively recaptured the 1.30 handle with a 0.2% gain.
- USD – Slight bid as US Futures climb higher
- Earnings – Lockheed crushes it and Verizon misses on subscriber growth
- Brexit – Parliaments back from Easter break
- Oil – Still riding high on US decision on Iranian waivers
- Gold – Drifts lower as earnings as geopolitical tensions ease
The dollar has minimal gains against its major trading partners as investors await a wrath of earnings results this week and the release of US Q1 GDP numbers on Friday. While the G10 central banks are all pretty much on the dovish side of things or just waiting for a few more months of data before reassessing their policy biases, we may see emerging market currencies outperform here. While we have not had any major updates on the trade front in recent days, an inevitable trade deal between China and US could allow the Chinese to unleash more stimulus which would benefit EM.
Peak earnings season is here, and a flurry of results are seeing many big names beat expectations, but cloudy outlooks are preventing some shares from soaring higher. Lockheed Martin delivered a strong beat on the EPS with a $5.99 result, much higher than the $4.34 expected by analysts. The world’s largest defense contractor also delivered strong guidance that topped estimates.
Verizon saw shares surge higher on the initial read of results, but the lower-than-expected subscriber gain is concerning and that is why shares erased most of their gains. Verizon decided not to have a lot of price promotions or giveaways like their competitors and that is why we are seeing weak subscriber numbers. The company did boost their outlook and are leading the way forward with 5G, so if we see any weakness, it may be short-lived.
Parliament is back from Easter recess and May returns to calls for her to step down. The Prime Minister will hold a cabinet meeting today and will likely try to devise a plan to present a new withdrawal agreement bill to be voted on next week.
It appears not much has changed, May is under pressure, May is trying to get Labour on board, but talks seem to be going nowhere. A longer extension with someone new at the helm might be how this plays out. While no-deal Brexit is very unlikely, we may see bullish bets on cable fade on the failure to reach a deal before the European Parliament elections in May.
West Texas Intermediate crude continues to ride momentum from the US decision to end waivers that for the last six months allowed eight countries to buy Iranian crude. Iranian Oil minister Zanganeh noted, “U.S. dream to cut Iran’s crude exports to zero won’t be fulfilled.” He also noted that Iran has export deals with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Turkey.
The US decision on Iranian crude imports is one that will test OPEC + and possibly end the production deal. While Saudi Arabia has been over-delivered on their end of the cuts, we will probably see Russia less likely be interested in holding back production while the Saudis and US are ramping up their levels.
Gold prices are softer on the day, mostly following the decline with European equities. The precious metal remains near the session lows as a wrath of earnings results from the likes of Twitter, Coca-Cola and Harley Davidson delivered decent results. Safe-haven demand has been hurt by trade optimism and improving global growth prospects. If we continue to see better than expected earnings results, gold may continue to make fresh 2019 lows. Gold could find some support around the $1,250 level. While a better global economy will hurt demand for gold, the de-dollarization story could see central banks buy gold and provide a backdrop that would prevent a complete freefall.