5 Things You Need To Know In Financial Markets
- Facebook Surges On User Engagement, Shrugs Off FTC Fine
Shares in Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) surged more than 8% in premarket trade Thursday after the social media company reported strong first-quarter results and set aside $3 billion for a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Revenue and sales in the first three months of the year beat estimates, while user engagement metrics, key for social media, showed strong growth. Monthly active users and average revenue per user were both better than expected.
Facebook expects the FTC fine to range between $3 billion – $5 billion, which would be the largest civil penalty ever paid to the agency.
Even a fine of $5 billion would only represent a third of Facebook’s first-quarter revenue and, more importantly for investors, would end the investigation into whether Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million of its users with Cambridge Analytica.
- Microsoft Adds To Upbeat Sentiment In Tech
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) added its own upbeat contribution to the wider tech narrative with first-quarter profit and sales beating expectations thanks to a strong contribution from its cloud-based services.
Shares jumped more than 4% in premarket trade.
However, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) (NASDAQ:TSLA) fell 0.4% after posting a wider-than-expected loss, accompanied by a heavy hint from CEO Elon Musk that the company would have to raise more capital. He also predicted a return to profitability in the third quarter.
Thursday’s session will face another torrent of earnings with 3M (NYSE:MMM) (NYSE:MMM), UPS and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NASDAQ:CMCSA) reporting before the bell and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) (NASDAQ:INTC), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) (NASDAQ:AMZN), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) (NASDAQ:SBUX) after the close.
- Wall Street Points To Flat Open Despite Tech Support
U.S. futures pointed to a flat open on Thursday as the spotlight remains on earnings. Dow futures struggled to move into positive territory while the tech sector was buoyed by Facebook and Microsoft.
An accommodative Federal Reserve and a strong start to earnings season were the keys to U.S. stocks hitting record highs this week. The S&P retreated from those dizzying heights on Wednesday, consolidating ahead of the next round of results.
At 5:50 AM ET (9:50 GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures slipped 20 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 futures were little changed, while the Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 8 points, or 0.1%.
- Dollar Hits Fresh 2019 Highs, BoJ Supports
The dollar hit fresh 2019 highs against major rivals on Thursday as the Bank of Japan lent support with a dovish outlook.
The BoJ announced that it expected to keep interest rates at extremely low levels through at least spring 2020.
The BoJ joined the chorus of central banks focusing on a pledge to maintain accommodation. The Bank of Canada cut its growth forecasts on Wednesday and abandoned its previous language about possible rate hikes.
Although the Federal Reserve is not expected to make changes to monetary policy when it announces its decision next week, recent strength in stock markets may lead it to hold off from considering the possibility of further accommodation.
- Durable Goods Orders Seen Rebounding
Durable goods orders highlight the Thursday’s economic calendar a day ahead of the first-quarter GDP release.
The Commerce Department will release the latest figures on orders for long-lasting goods at 8:30 AM ET (12:30 GMT).
On average, economists expect that orders for goods lasting three or more year rebounded to rise 0.7% in March. Core durable goods orders, which exclude transportation, are expected to have risen 0.2% last month.
At the same time, the weekly jobless claims figures arrive.
Initial jobless claims are forecast to have risen to 199,000 last week.
“Published & Edited By: Senior Financial Analyst. Alaa Tabib – Gulf Brokers DMCC – Regulated & Licensed By SCA & DGCX”
“Reuters & CNN & CNBC Arabia May Have Contributed To This Article”