Steady Markets Digest NASDAQ New High

In a strong finish to February, the NASDAQ closed above 16,000 and at its first new all-time high since November of 2021. US indices finished the month with gains of 6.1% for the NASDAQ, 5.2% for the S&P 500 and 2.2% for the Dow. The S&P/TSX Composite climbed 1.6% in February.

US markets are off to a quiet start today with the three main index futures contracts trading flat. Over in Europe, the Dax and FTSE are both up about 0.6%. Asia Pacific trading saw Tokyo take a run at 40,000 with a 1.9% gain while Hong Kong and Shanghai both rose about 0.4%.

It’s a busy day for economic news, headlined by Manufacturing PMI reports from around the world. China Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMI beat expectations and came in above 50 in expansion territory. European Manufacturing PMI numbers have been mixed relative to expectations and generally in the high 40s, slightly in contraction territory. Meanwhile, inflation pressure from Eurozone consumer prices continued to ease but not as much as traders had hoped (3.1% vs street 2.9% and previous 3.3%).

Canadian Manufacturing PMI (previous 48.3) is due at 9:30 am EST, followed by US ISM Manufacturing PMI (street 49.5) at 10:00 am. With inflation numbers in focus heading into this month’s round of central bank meetings, the ISM Prices Paid component may also attract attention, along with comments from three Fed speakers today. US construction spending (street 0.2% vs previous 0.9%) and consumer sentiment are also due at 10:00 am today.   

Oil prices are on the rise this morning with US Crude up 1.9% and approaching $80.00/bbl. In metals action, Gold is up 0.25% while Copper is down 0.25%. Cryptocurrencies have levelled off today, consolidating gains made earlier in the week.

We continue to see extreme reactions to selected business developments. Consumer technology giants Dell Technologies ($2.20 vs street $1.73, up 22.1% premarket) and Hewlett Packard ($0.48 vs street $0.45, down 5.5% premarket) had a mixed response from investors despite both beating expectations. Meanwhile, troubled New York Community Bancorp is down 25.7% premarket after announcing internal risk management issues and replacing its CEO.

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