Enter your details to join our mobile app waitlist and receive early access to the Bell Direct App.
Wall Street closed higher on Friday as investors welcomed comments made by Fed Chair Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole symposium regarding stronger economic growth than expected.
The Nasdaq advanced almost 1% on Friday while the S&P500 rose 0.7% and the Dow Jones also lifted 0.7%. The Nasdaq and S&P500 snapped three-week losing streaks while the Dow Jones extended its weekly losing run into a second week.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell showed confidence in the US economy’s resilience in the face of rising interest rates as he cited “especially robust” consumer spending and signs of recovery in the housing market as boosting economic strength. Although no signs were given about the outlook of interest rates, Powell reiterated the central bank’s commitment to ensuring inflation is pulled back down to 2%.
Buy now, pay later company Affirm jumped 30% on Friday after posting stronger-than-expected Q4 results and uplifted guidance. Nordstrom shares on the other hand tumbled 11% on Friday after the department store retailer warned of declining sales and high theft-related losses.
Over in Europe, markets closed mixed on Friday ahead of the European Central Bank President’s speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium in Wyoming over the weekend. On Friday, the STOXX600 fell 0.04%, Germany’s DAX rose 0.07%, the French CAC added 0.21% and, in the UK, the FTSE100 rose 0.07%.
ECB President Christine Lagarde said interest rates in the European Union will need to stay higher for as ‘long as necessary’ to slow the stubbornly high inflation in the region. The European Central Bank is in a sticky position as it has to manage a stagnating economy against high inflation.
Locally on Friday, the ASX200 fell 0.93%, weighed down by the tech sector falling 2.51%, while consumer staples and consumer discretionary stocks were the only to sectors to finish the final trading session of the week in the green. Lovisa rose 6.3% on Friday after the fashion jewellery retailer released strong FY23 results including revenue up 30% to $596.5m and net profit lifting 16.7% to $68.2m. While the results fell short of Bell Potter expectations, investors appeared impressed with the company’s report. Wesfarmers also rallied 3.2% on Friday after also releasing strong FY23 results led by a surge in revenue for Kmart and NPAT up 4.8% in FY23 against a slowing consumer spend environment. Another inclusion for Wesfarmers was the announcement of a 6.1% rise in the full year dividend.
What to watch today: