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    S&P 500 and Dow Jones surge, dollar sees slight gains amidst economic anticipation

    March 28, 2024

    Wednesday witnessed a significant uptick in the S&P 500 and Dow Jones, marking a promising close to the first quarter with the best performance since 2019. All sectors of the S&P 500 saw gains, led by utilities, real estate, and industrials, amidst broad market optimism and strategic quarter-end rebalancing. The stock market’s positive trajectory is buoyed by expectations of a soft landing for the U.S. economy and adjusted interest rate cut forecasts. Meanwhile, in the currency market, the dollar index edged up slightly, with USD/JPY experiencing a minor dip amid speculation of Japanese intervention to support the yen. The currency landscape remains cautious, with upcoming U.S. economic data and central bank policy adjustments in focus, especially regarding rate cuts by the Fed and the ECB. Investors and traders are keenly awaiting further indicators, including jobless claims, GDP, and consumer sentiment, to gauge the economic outlook as the second quarter approaches.

    Stock market updates

    The S&P 500 saw a significant rise on Wednesday, marking a new record high as it continues its journey toward the best first quarter since 2019. The index rose by 0.86%, closing at 5,248.49, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a substantial gain, advancing 477.75 points or 1.22% to close at 39,760.08. The Nasdaq Composite also enjoyed gains, rising by 0.51% to close at 16,399.52. This uplift in the stock market ended a three-day losing streak for both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones, highlighting a robust broad rally across the market.

    In terms of sector performance, all 11 sectors of the S&P 500 experienced gains, with utilities leading the charge with an impressive jump of nearly 2.8%. This was closely followed by real estate and industrials, which advanced 2.4% and 1.6% respectively. This widespread rally underscores the market’s positive sentiment, driven by a strategic rebalance toward the end of the quarter. According to Art Hogan, chief market strategist with B. Riley Wealth, this shift indicates a growing enthusiasm for equities, spurred by quarter-end rebalancing and an overall positive outlook for the stock market as we approach the end of the first quarter.

    Looking ahead, the major stock indexes are set to conclude the first quarter on a strong note, with the S&P 500 aiming for a 10% gain, which would be its best first-quarter performance since 2019. The Dow and Nasdaq are also on track for substantial quarterly gains. Additionally, the anticipation of a soft landing for the US economy and adjusted expectations for interest rate cuts contribute to a positive market outlook. Investors are now looking forward to upcoming data on jobless claims, GDP, and consumer sentiment, which will provide further insight into the economic landscape as we move into the second quarter.

    Currency market updates

    The dollar index experienced a slight increase as the market consolidated gains from the previous week, with traders awaiting further U.S. economic data and navigating quarter-end rebalancing. This period of anticipation comes ahead of the upcoming holiday market closures. Despite a broader increase, the USD/JPY pair saw a minor decline, reflecting market reactions to potential Japanese intervention to support the yen and prevent further decline, contrasting with the aggressive yen support seen in October 2022 following the Fed’s rate hiking cycle commencement.

    In currency movements, the USD/JPY dynamics were influenced by speculation around the Federal Reserve’s future rate cuts, with traders eyeing crucial economic data releases for further direction. Meanwhile, the EUR/USD pair dropped slightly amid fluctuations in yield spreads between bunds and Treasuries, indicating a cautious market sentiment towards rate cuts by major central banks. Market pricing shows a significant anticipation of rate adjustments by the ECB and the Fed within the year, highlighting the nuanced interplay between monetary policy expectations and currency valuations.

    The British pound found some stability, managing to stay above a recent low, supported by steady yields spreads between Gilts and Treasuries. This steadiness is amidst a broader market focus on upcoming U.S. economic indicators and a keen interest in Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller’s speech for insights into the central bank’s rate strategy. As the market approaches the holiday weekend, with key economic data on the horizon, currency traders are closely monitoring shifts in monetary policy outlooks and their potential impact on currency markets.

    Picks of the Day Analysis
    EUR/USD (4 Hours)

    EUR/USD outlook influenced by ECB and Fed’s potential easing cycles

    The EUR/USD pair witnessed a slight decline as the US Dollar gained modestly, influenced by expectations of divergent monetary policy strategies between the Federal Reserve (Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB). Both central banks are anticipated to initiate easing cycles possibly in June, albeit at potentially different paces. ECB’s consideration for a rate cut is supported by moderating wage growth in the eurozone, suggesting a cautious approach towards easing. Meanwhile, the probability of a Fed rate cut in June slightly decreased. Despite these developments, the broader economic outlook hints at a stronger Dollar in the medium term, especially as both banks move towards easing, potentially driving EUR/USD towards its year-to-date low and beyond.

    Chart EUR/USD by TradingView

    On Wednesday, the EUR/USD moved lower, able to reach near the lower band of the Bollinger Bands. Currently, the price is moving slightly above the lower band, suggesting a potential slight downward movement to reach the lower band. Notably, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) maintains its position at 38, signaling a bearish outlook for this currency pair.

    Resistance: 1.0858, 1.0911

    Support: 1.0785, 1.0723

     Economic Data
    CurrencyDataTime (GMT + 8)Forecast
    CADGDP m/m20:300.4%
    USDFinal GDP q/q20:303.2%
    USDUnemployment Claims20:30212K
    USDPending Home Sales m/m22:001.4%
    USDRevised UoM Consumer Sentiment22:0076.5