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Nasdaq and S&P 500 Reach 9-Month Highs as Wage Pressure Eases

Market Update - Daniel Ang The Accidental Trader Traders Academy International 7

In today’s daily market update, we will discuss the recent developments in the stock market, U.S. debt ceiling, manufacturing sector, currency exchange rates, crude oil prices, and the performance of gold and Bitcoin. These updates provide valuable insights into the current state of the economy and help investors make informed decisions. Let’s dive into the details of each sector.

Stock Market Performance
On Thursday, June 2, 2023, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indices reached fresh 9-month closing highs, bringing optimism to investors. The market was encouraged by signs of slowing wage pressure, which raised hopes that the Federal Reserve would pause its interest rate hikes. Market participants embraced the resilient labor market and expressed confidence that the Fed can engineer a soft economic landing. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed at their highest levels since August 2022, reflecting the positive sentiment among investors.

Wage Inflation and U.S. Debt Ceiling
According to the ADP, wage inflation is showing signs of slowing down. Additionally, a report from the Labor Department revealed a 4.2% growth rate in the price of labor per unit of output in the first quarter. This figure represents a downward revision from the previously estimated 6.3% growth pace in May. These findings suggest that wage pressures may not be as significant as initially projected, providing further support for the Federal Reserve’s potential decision to pause hiking interest rates.

In a significant development, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. The bill now awaits approval from the Senate before Monday to avoid a potential government shutdown due to a lack of funds. This decision alleviates concerns about the government’s ability to meet its financial obligations, providing stability and confidence to the markets.

Manufacturing Sector and Employment
The manufacturing sector in the United States contracted for the seventh consecutive month in May. New orders continued to decline amidst higher interest rates, indicating a challenging environment. However, factories were able to boost employment to a nine-month high, showcasing resilience and adaptability within the sector. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported a decline in the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) from 47.1 in April to 46.9 in May.

Stock Market Indices
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 154.09 points or 0.47% to reach 33,062.36. The S&P 500 experienced a gain of 41.26 points or 0.99%, closing at 4,221.09. The Nasdaq Composite surged by 165.70 points or 1.28%, reaching 13,100.98. These robust gains indicate the overall positive sentiment and increased investor confidence in the market.

Currency Exchange Rates
The U.S. Dollar experienced its most significant daily loss in nearly a month on Thursday. U.S. manufacturing data, coupled with comments from Federal Reserve officials, reinforced the expectation that the central bank would likely skip an interest rate hike at its upcoming meeting. Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker emphasized that raising interest rates should be avoided, despite the slow pace at which high inflation is decreasing.

EUR/USD recovered from a two-month low on Thursday following a statement by European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde. She expressed the necessity for further policy tightening. As a result, the EUR/USD exchange rate rose by 0.64% to 1.0757, rebounding from its lowest level in two months.

In the currency market, GBP/USD was trading at 1.2524, recording a 0.67% increase for the day. Similarly, AUD/USD rose by 0.98% to 0.6570. USD/JPY experienced a decline of 0.38% at 138.80.

Crude Oil Prices
Crude oil prices saw a notable increase on Thursday, marking the most substantial gains in two weeks. The market’s attention has shifted to the upcoming OPEC+ meeting scheduled for Sunday. This meeting involves the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia. Although a Reuters report indicates that OPEC+ is unlikely to deepen supply cuts at the meeting, some analysts believe it is still a possibility due to disappointing demand indicators from China and the United States in recent weeks.

Moreover, U.S. crude oil stockpiles unexpectedly rose last week, driven by increased imports and a decrease in strategic reserves. These stockpiles are now at their lowest level since September 1983, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose by $2.01 or 3% to settle at $70.10 per barrel, representing the most significant daily gain since May 5. Brent crude futures settled at $74.28 per barrel, recording a $1.68 increase or 2.3% to $74.65 per barrel, marking the most substantial daily gains since May 17.

Performance of Gold and Bitcoin
Gold prices reached a more than one-week peak on Thursday, benefiting from the tumbling U.S. Dollar following weaker-than-expected economic data. The market anticipates the Federal Reserve to skip an interest rate hike at its June policy meeting. Spot gold was up 0.7% at $1,976.81 per ounce after reaching its highest level since May 24, with COMEX gold futures settling 0.7% higher at $1,995.50 per ounce. Spot silver rose by 1.7% to reach a two-week high at $23.88 per ounce.

Bitcoin (BTC) experienced a second consecutive day of selling pressure on Thursday. Fears regarding inflation and ongoing rate hikes have resurfaced, leading to a 1% decline in BTC, which settled at $26,800. Over the past month, Bitcoin has lost more than 6% of its value, highlighting the recent volatility in the cryptocurrency market.

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