Market Wrap: 6 April 2023

Market Wrap: 6 April 2023

Stocks Slide on Recession Fear Before Easter Break:

  • Equity benchmarks in China, Japan and Korea trade lower

  • Flight to safety boosts government bonds, dollar and yen

US equity futures fell with Asian stocks and government bonds rallied against the backdrop of weaker-than-expected economic data that supported forecasts for recession. Contracts for the Euro Stoxx 50 were little changed. 

Benchmarks declined in China, Japan, South Korea and Australia on Thursday. Contracts for US shares fell after the S&P 500 retreated 0.3% Wednesday as selling pressure clustered in vulnerable corners of the market. The Nasdaq 100 dropped 1%, eroding a stellar first quarter in which the tech-heavy index rose by fifth.

Indian shares provided a relative bright spot in Asian trading, with the Nifty 50 advancing after the central bank paused its rate hikes.

“It’s going to be a rocky few quarters for global equities,” John Vail, chief global strategist for Nikko Asset Management, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “We don’t see a recession in the States this year and that will surprise some investors on the positive side.”

Haven assets retained their strength, with two-year and 10-year Treasuries rising slightly, keeping yields near their lows for the year. Government bonds rose in Australia and New Zealand. The moves downward in 10-year yields were around eight basis points. 

An index of the dollar extended its advance while the yen held gains from Wednesday. Gold was down slightly but remained near a 13-month high reached in the prior session.

The flight to safety precedes the Good Friday holiday that will see many developed market equity bourses closed — including those in the US, Europe, Hong Kong and Australia.


The moves reflected signs of a slowing US economy ahead of crucial data to be released later Thursday and on Friday. 

The Institute for Supply Management’s index fell to a three-month low of 51.2, below consensus estimates. Private payrolls data from ADP also underwhelmed relative to expectations. The data precede Friday’s US payrolls report, which is forecast to show employers added about a quarter of a million jobs last month and the unemployment rate held at a historically low level.

Elsewhere in markets, the Indian rupee gave up earlier gains on the central bank’s decision, which contrasted with forecasts of a 25 bis point hike. The move followed a surprise 50 basis points hike by New Zealand’s central bank on Wednesday and a decision to pause from the Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday.

“It’s probably time to say goodbye to the phase where we saw central banks moving in lockstep,” Hebe Chen, an analyst with IG Markets Ltd., said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “It will be getting more and more difficult to predict where central banks will move next.”

Key events this week:

  • US initial jobless claims, Thursday
  • St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks, Thursday
  • US unemployment, nonfarm payrolls, Friday
  • Good Friday. US stock markets closed, bond markets close for part of the day



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