Tech Stocks Drag Down US Futures, Eyes on Weak Yen: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Technology stocks led declines in US equity futures Thursday after Meta Platforms Inc.’s disappointing outlook underscored the risk of volatility in a high-stakes earnings week.

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Nasdaq 100 contracts fell 1.2%, with Meta accounting for about half of that decline. The Facebook parent tumbled as much as 19% in US after-hours trading as it projected second-quarter sales below analyst expectations and increased spending estimates for the year. Alphabet Inc., which reports earnings later along with Microsoft Corp., also dropped. S&P 500 futures slid 0.6%.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index retreated as traders processed a deluge of corporate updates on the busiest day of the earnings season. Anglo American Plc soared 13% after rival mining giant BHP Group made an all-share takeover proposal valuing it at £31.1 billion ($38.8 billion).

Aside from results, traders are keenly awaiting US economic growth figures due later after weeks of scaling back their expectations for Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict GDP likely cooled to around 2.5% in the first quarter, with the figures still potentially suggesting persistent inflationary pressures.

“Any downside surprises could see markets bringing expected Fed interest rate cuts earlier — after having been pushed out to much later this year,” economists at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg said. “However, upside surprises could see continued market volatility as the market tries to ascertain the risk that a hotter-than-expected economy poses to anticipated interest-rate cuts.”

The yen extended losses after weakening beyond 155 per dollar for the first time in more than three decades on Wednesday, heightening the chances of intervention ahead of Bank of Japan’s policy decision Friday.

The yen depreciated to as weak as 155.74 per dollar on Thursday, a new 34-year low versus the dollar. The BOJ is forecast to keep its interest rate settings unchanged Friday, while the currency’s plunge makes it more likely the bank will tone down its stance on keeping policy easy.

“Ueda’s press conference is expected to take a hawkish tone, and even if depreciation in the yen doesn’t accelerate, the government is likely to intervene at the same time and swing the yen stronger by about 5 yen,” said Eiji Dohke, a strategist at SBI Securities. The first intervention would probably be of trillions of yen followed by smaller long-term purchases, he said.

Treasuries were little changed after yields rose in the previous session. Investors absorbed a $70 billion sale of five-year Treasuries on Wednesday at a slightly higher-than-anticipated yield, following an even-stronger show of demand for the auction of two-year notes on Tuesday.

In Asia, a gauge of the region’s equities dropped by more than 1% as shares in South Korea and Japan tumbled. Stocks outperformed in Hong Kong amid increased purchases by Chinese investors. Mainland traders have snapped up $20 billion of Hong Kong stocks on a net basis since March, putting the market on track for the biggest two-month inflow since 2021, BNP strategists including Jason Lui said in a note.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the world’s largest economies must “lay out our differences,” as he began two days of talks in China, with the threat of US sanctions targeting Beijing over its support of Russia’s war in Ukraine looming over his visit.

Corporate Highlights:

Barclays Plc posted first-quarter revenue that topped analyst estimates after its stock traders collected a surprise windfall from tumultuous global markets.

Deutsche Bank AG relied on its traders and investment bankers to make up for a slowdown in income from lending, as Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing seeks to deliver on an ambitious revenue goal.

BNP Paribas SA’s fixed-income traders trailed all of the large Wall Street banks in the first quarter, taking the shine off a strong performance in other parts of the investment bank.

Unilever Plc sales jumped more than expected in the first quarter as Chief Executive Officer Hein Schumacher pushes ahead with his turnaround plan.

Nestle SA sales growth sputtered in the first quarter as the maker of Nespresso coffee was hit by cooler demand in North America and supply constraints at its vitamins unit.

STMicroelectronics NV reported weaker sales than analysts expected, exacerbated by a slowdown in chip demand from the automotive sector.

AstraZeneca Plc’s profit rose in the first quarter, buoyed by demand for its cancer blockbusters Imfinzi and Tagrisso as well as newcomer Enhertu.

Hermes saw Chinese buyers snap up its luxury products as the Kelly bag maker showed its resilience amid a broader slowdown in demand for the sector.

Pernod Ricard SA said quarterly sales were flat as weak demand in the US and China markets for its pricey booze continued.

Key events this week:

  • US GDP, wholesale inventories, initial jobless claims, Thursday

  • Microsoft, Alphabet, Airbus earnings, Thursday

  • Japan rate decision, Tokyo CPI, inflation and GDP forecasts, Friday

  • US personal income and spending, PCE deflator, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, Friday

  • Exxon Mobil, Chevron earnings, Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:


  • The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.3% as of 8:44 a.m. London time

  • S&P 500 futures fell 0.7%

  • Nasdaq 100 futures fell 1.2%

  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%

  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.1%

  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 0.6%


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed

  • The euro rose 0.2% to $1.0717

  • The Japanese yen fell 0.2% to 155.60 per dollar

  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 7.2666 per dollar

  • The British pound rose 0.3% to $1.2498


  • Bitcoin fell 0.2% to $63,945.27

  • Ether rose 0.2% to $3,135.49


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 4.64%

  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 2.57%

  • Britain’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 4.32%


  • Brent crude rose 0.2% to $88.19 a barrel

  • Spot gold rose 0.3% to $2,322.92 an ounce

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Masaki Kondo, Tania Chen, Winnie Hsu and Jan-Patrick Barnert.

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