Stock Market Today – 7/25: Stocks Higher Ahead of Fed Meeting, ‘Make-or-Break’ Week For Big Tech Earnings

A huge week for U.S. markets awaits, with crucial growth and inflation data, a slate of big tech earnings, capped by the Fed’s interest rate decision on Wednesday.

U.S. equity futures moved higher Monday, while the dollar slipped lower and Treasury yields held steady, as investors braced for what could be the most important week of the trading year, capped by a crucial interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve.

With global stocks blunted by the prospect of recession, and activity data in some of the world’s biggest economies indicating continued slowing, investors have been reluctant to embrace risk markets for much of the past few weeks. That said, U.S. stocks have had a surprisingly solid performance over the month of July — with a 4.66% gain for the S&P 500 — following the worst first half start in more than fifty years.

U.S. corporate earnings, however, have thus far failed to provide the near-term support for a sustained market recovery, and with the 106 S&P 500 companies reporting so far this season, only around 75.5% have beaten Street forecasts, compared to the recent four-quarter average of 80.6%.

Around 172 S&P 500 companies will report June quarter earnings this week, highlighted by the four of the market’s biggest stocks: Apple  (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report, Amazon  (AMZN) – Get Inc. Report, Google  (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Report and Meta Platforms  (META) – Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report.

Second quarter earnings are forecast to grow by around 6.2% from last year, to a share-weighted $467.2 billion, but that pace is largely the result of record profits for the energy sector. Stripping away that contribution leaves earning down 3.2% from last year, according to Refinitiv data.

Activity data is also starting to wilt under the pressure of the Fed’s inflation fight, with S&P Global’s closely-tracked PMI index for the services sector — the lynchpin for U.S. economic growth — falling below the 50 point mark that separates growth from contraction for the first time in two years this month.

Stocks Higher, Week Ahead, Boeing, Volkswagen and Monkeypox – Five Things To Know

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told NBC’s ‘Meet The Press’ Sunday that the economy isn’t in recession — despite having likely contracted for two consecutive quarters — but is rather “in a period of transition in which growth is slowing and that’s necessary and appropriate.”

Bond markets aren’t indicating that same optimism, however, with the U.S. Treasury yield curve remaining deeply inverted as growth slows and inflation continues to test multi-decade highs. Benchmark 2-year note yields were last seen trading at 3.001% and 10-year notes pegged at 2.796% in overnight dealing.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies and often moves in the opposite direction of stock prices, was marked 0.42% lower on the session at 106.282.

The CME Group’s FedWatch suggests a firm 77.5% chance of a 75 basis point rate hike Wednesday, a move that would take the Fed’s key rate to a range of between 2.25% and 2.5%, but with bets on a smaller follow-on move in September outweighing those for more large-sized moved, suggesting the Fed is beginning to worry about their impact of growth and employment in the world’s biggest economy. 

U.S. stocks are holding their ground this morning despite a mixed overnight session, with European shares rising in the face of a closely-watched index of business conditions in Germany, the region’s biggest economy, slumped to a two year low this month.

The region-wide Stoxx 600 gained 0.26% by mid-day trading in Frankfurt, following on from a 0.28% decline for the MSCI ex-Japan index in Asia.

On Wall Street, futures tied to the S&P 500 are indicating a 23 point opening bell gain while those liked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are priced for a 180 point move to the upside. Futures linked to the tech-focused Nasdaq are indicating a 70 point bump.

In terms of individual stocks, Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report shares were the move active in pre-market trading, rising 1.32% following an SEC filing showing the carmaker booked a $170 million loss on its bitcoin holdings over the first six months of the year.

Boeing  (BA) – Get The Boeing Company Report shares were also modestly lower following a weekend vote from some 2,500 union members to begin strike action at three St. Louis area plants starting August 1.

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