Stocks advance ahead of earnings onslaught, Fed meeting

·3-min read
Traders will be keeping a close eye on the Federal Reserve meeting this week for an idea about the US recovery and its plans for monetary policy

Stock markets rose modestly Monday at the start of a busy week featuring Federal Reserve and OPEC meetings and major US corporate earnings.

The dollar was mixed ahead the Fed's rate decision Wednesday.

Oil prices sank on stubborn fears over demand given the spike in cases in India -- a major consumer -- and before OPEC and its allies meet on Wednesday as part of their regular review of production.

After a mixed showing in Asia, European stocks pushed higher and US stocks were up in late morning trading.

"Markets remain quiet ahead of Tesla earnings tonight, which mark the shift to reports from a vital part of the market –- the big tech names," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading IG.

A number of big name firms like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google-parent Alphabet, Boeing, Caterpillar, McDonald's, Mastercard, Chevron, and ExxonMobil are releasing their first quarter results this week, with Tesla leading the way after US markets close on Monday.

Around one-third of the S&P 500 is reporting earnings this week.

In addition to the Fed's latest policy meeting, this week investors are due to get an initial estimate of first quarter GDP.

"The US economy is in a much better position compared to a few months ago, thanks to government stimulus and the fast pace of Covid vaccinations," noted ThinkMarkets analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

"So far, the strength of US data has not prevented the Fed from keeping the quantitative easing taps wide open.

"But if the improvement in data persists then it will only be a matter of time before the Fed tapers its emergency stimulus measures."

US President Joe Biden is also due to make his first address to Congress and may unveil another big spending plan.

Susannah Streeter, a senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said that investors could "glimpse of a post crisis future" on Monday "where the haves and the have nots will be decided on the speed of vaccination programmes in countries around the world."

She pointed to travel stocks soared higher during London trading on hopes that the introduction of vaccine passports could save the crucial summer travel season and the prospect of US tourists being able to visit Europe.

Shares of IAG, which owns British Airways and Iberia plus a handful of other airlines, rose 4.1 percent.

Low-cost easyJet saw its shares jump 4.3 percent.

In Europe, shares in Lufthansa climbed 3.5 percent and shares in Air France-KLM gained 1.4 percent.

On the other hand, oil prices were hit as India saw five straight days of more than 300,000 new cases in a surge that has overwhelmed hospitals and left severe oxygen and medicine shortages.

- Key figures around 1530 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 34,080.59 points

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 4,020.87

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 6,963.12 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 15,296.34 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 6,275.52 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 29,126.23 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.4 percent at 28,952.83 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.0 percent at 3,441.17 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2079 from $1.2097

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3885 from $1.3876

Euro/pound: DOWN at 87.00 pence from 87.18 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 108.41 yen from 107.88 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.4 percent at $65.82 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.2 percent at $62.01 per barrel

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