Weak data, Nvidia lift risk appetite

FILE PHOTO: A view of a Nvidia logo at their headquarters in Taipei

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Ankur Banerjee

We are back to “bad news is good news” as soft economic data revived hopes central banks could be more or less done raising interest rates, leading investors to rush into risky assets but with wary eyes on the Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium.

Stock markets also got a lift from Nvidia.

The blockbuster earnings and forecast from the stock market darling helped lift AI-related stocks, U.S. futures and Asian equities. MSCI Asia ex-Japan IT Index surged 2.5%, on course for its best day in more than two months.

Nvidia far exceeded expectations with its quarterly revenue forecast on Wednesday as an artificial-intelligence boom fuelled demand for its chips. It also announced a bumper $25 billion buyback programme.

Meanwhile, fresh signs are emerging that U.S. consumer spending is under stress after lacklustre results and forecasts from retailers ranging from Macy’s to Foot Locker.

With the European economic calendar bare, the AI craze is likely to help buoy stocks, with futures indicating a higher open and comes at the right time for the pan-European STOXX 600, which is down about 4% and set for its worst monthly performance in the year.

The excitement could be short-lived as worries remain sticky, with a majority of analysts polled by Reuters expecting global stock markets to head for a correction in coming months.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.5% but is still on course to clock its worst monthly performance since February.

Investor focus will be on a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole conference on Friday, where traders will parse through his every word to figure out the next steps in monetary policy.

Data on Wednesday showed U.S. business activity approached the stagnation point in August, with growth at its weakest since February, while the downturn in euro zone activity was far deeper than expected. That brought Treasury yields lower, weighing on the U.S. dollar.

Key developments that could influence markets on Thursday:

Economic events: US jobless data

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)