Stocks dip, dollar rebounds amid mixed economic signals

March 27, 2024

This week witnessed a slight retreat in major U.S. stock indexes, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Jones Industrial Average all experiencing downturns, contrasting sharply with their recent record highs. Notably, Tesla, Seagate Technology, and Krispy Kreme outperformed, driven by positive developments. Mixed economic data revealed robust durable goods orders but a drop in consumer confidence, setting a cautious tone for investors as they await key reports on personal consumption and labor market trends. In currency markets, the dollar index recovered, supported by U.S. Treasury yield rebounds and anticipation of upcoming economic data releases. The forex market sees cautious trading, with the USD/JPY pair in focus amid intervention concerns, and the EUR/USD facing downward pressure due to diverging central bank policies and economic forecasts. The market remains watchful, with investors poised for the next set of economic indicators to gauge future directions.

Stock market updates

The S&P 500 experienced a downturn for the third consecutive session, evidencing a modest retreat in the broader market. This downtrend saw the S&P 500 decline by 0.28%, closing at 5,203.58, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped by 0.42%, ending the day at 16,315.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slightly decreased by 31.31 points, or 0.08%, to settle at 39,282.33. This cooling period contrasts sharply with the performance seen last week when all three indexes reached record highs on Thursday, and the Dow neared the 40,000 milestone. Notably, Tesla, Seagate Technology, and Krispy Kreme were among the stocks that bucked the day’s downward trend, posting significant gains due to various positive developments.

Market dynamics on Tuesday were influenced by a mix of economic indicators and corporate news. Tesla’s shares surged nearly 3%, marking a notable rebound for the electric vehicle giant amidst a challenging year. Seagate Technology enjoyed a 7.4% uplift after an optimistic rating upgrade by Morgan Stanley, fueled by artificial intelligence prospects. Krispy Kreme’s shares skyrocketed by 39% following the announcement of an expanded partnership with McDonald’s, signaling positive investor sentiment towards these corporate strategies. According to Tom Hainlin, a senior investment strategist, the market’s expansion to include more cyclical sectors is a reflection of enduring economic health and persistently high inflation, despite mixed signals from Tuesday’s economic data, including robust durable goods orders but declining consumer confidence.

As the month draws to a close in a relatively quiet trading environment, expectations are set for the market’s performance in light of upcoming economic reports. Ross Mayfield, an investment strategy analyst, suggests that investors are adopting a wait-and-see approach ahead of crucial updates on personal consumption expenditure and labor market openings. The major stock indexes are poised for their fifth consecutive month of gains, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Jones Industrial Average showing increases of over 2%, 1.4%, and 0.7%, respectively, for March. This resilience underscores the market’s capacity to sustain growth momentum amidst varying economic signals.

Currency market updates

The dollar index witnessed a revival, climbing back to positive territory amidst cautious trading ahead of the quarter-end and upcoming holidays, bolstered by mildly supportive U.S. economic data and anticipation of Friday’s core PCE update. The uplift in Treasury yields and the dollar was partly fueled by a rebound in U.S. durable goods orders, although mixed signals came from regional Fed manufacturing indexes and a dip in consumer confidence below expectations. The two-year Treasury yields saw a brief recovery, influenced by a solid five-year auction, setting the stage for potential shifts in yield and dollar movements post the critical core PCE, income, and consumption data release, with the forex market open for trading despite the closure of bond and stock markets on Friday.

In the currency pairs, USD/JPY modestly increased after overcoming concerns of potential Japanese intervention, which had been a hot topic following the Bank of Japan’s rate hike. Despite speculation and previous interventions aimed at curbing the yen’s decline, the upcoming U.S. economic data could solidify the dollar’s uptrend, making it difficult to justify intervention based on fundamental analysis. Meanwhile, EUR/USD experienced a slight decline, with market sentiment influenced by expectations of policy divergence between the ECB and the Fed, further compounded by pessimistic GDP forecasts for Germany contrasted with an upgraded U.S. GDP outlook by the FOMC.

The Swiss franc emerged as the weakest among major currencies, influenced by expectations of further rate cuts by the Swiss National Bank. Sterling remained stable, facing resistance ahead of recent highs, while the yuan found some footing after a previous setback, hinting at state-supported stabilization efforts. The currency market’s dynamics continue to be shaped by a complex interplay of economic indicators, central bank policies, and geopolitical factors, awaiting more definitive direction from upcoming high-tier U.S. data and its implications for global financial markets.

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

EUR/USD holds steady as central banks signal easing cycles amid mixed economic signals

In a day marked by slight movements, the US dollar saw a marginal rise, leading to a modest decline in the EUR/USD pair, which hovered around 1.0830. This minor fluctuation occurred amidst a backdrop of falling US and German yields, reflecting broader uncertainties and a cautious outlook from investors. Central banks on both sides of the Atlantic are gearing up for anticipated easing cycles starting possibly in June, with the pace of interest rate cuts expected to vary between the Federal Reserve (Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB). Despite differing strategies, the ECB is poised not to fall significantly behind the Fed in its monetary easing efforts.

The week also highlighted contrasting perspectives within the Fed regarding the timing and necessity of rate cuts, underpinning a broader debate on how to navigate current economic challenges while aiming for a “soft landing.” With the FedWatch Tool indicating a rising probability for a rate cut in June, and ECB officials signaling readiness for easing, the stage is set for potential shifts in monetary policy that could impact currency dynamics.

Amid these developments, the enduring resilience of the US economy, juxtaposed with the euro area’s more tepid fundamentals, suggests a medium-term outlook favoring a stronger dollar. This scenario sets the stage for a potential deeper correction in the EUR/USD pair, with targets looming at the year-to-date low around 1.0700 and possibly extending towards the 1.0500 level observed in late 2023. The interplay of central bank policies, economic indicators, and market sentiment will be critical in shaping the currency pair’s trajectory in the coming months.

Chart EUR/USD by TradingView

On Tuesday, the EUR/USD moved higher, able to reach near the upper band but then moved back lower to reach the middle band of the Bollinger Bands. Currently, the price is moving slightly below the middle band, suggesting a potential slight downward movement to reach the lower band. Notably, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) maintains its position at 42, signaling a neutral but bearish outlook for this currency pair.

Resistance: 1.0858, 1.0911

Support: 1.0785, 1.0723

 Economic Data
CurrencyDataTime (GMT + 8)Forecast
AUDCPI y/y08:303.4% (Actual)