London: Asian and European stock markets mostly edged higher and the dollar dropped Thursday ahead of first-quarter US growth data.
Blockbuster earnings lifted the tech-heavy Nasdaq on Wednesday, with both Microsoft and Meta soaring after delivering expectation-beating reports, but recession fears and concerns over the banking sector dragged down the Dow and the S&P.
The earnings season is in full swing and as usual paints a mixed picture.
Japan’s Nomura bank saw its share price plunge more than seven percent after announcing its profits tumbled 76 percent to $55.3 million in the last quarter.
South Korean tech giant Samsung meanwhile reported its worst quarterly profits in 14 years, blaming slowing consumer spending and falling microchip prices.
Although the company’s first-quarter net income slumped 86 percent its stock closed higher.
In Hong Kong, excitement over a stock-market launch by Chinese baijiu liquor maker ZJLD fizzled as its shares closed down almost nearly 17 percent.
Global sentiment was dampened by fears for the health of the banking sector, with investors keeping an eye on the embattled First Republic Bank, which ended down nearly 30 percent on Wednesday after another bruising session.
But British bank Barclays rallied, topping London’s benchmark FTSE 100 stocks index, thanks to a jump in quarterly profits.
Across the Atlantic, “we cannot rule out the possibility developments around First Republic could unfold in a manner that would lead the” Federal Reserve to pause on interest-rate rises, noted Krishna Guha, head of central bank strategy at Evercore ISI.
Uncertainty over the Fed’s next move with regards hikes to borrowing costs that are aimed at cooling inflation comes as lacklustre US consumer confidence data deepens fears of a broader recession.