Amidst a relentless cautionary deluge of commentary from global financial leaders gathered at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring meetings in Washington, investors appear to be taking a hiatus after witnessing significant market movements in recent weeks.

The relentless selling pressure in bonds, which had been prevalent in the past, reversed on Wednesday, leading to a decline in yields. However, gold fell conspicuously, while oil experienced a notable 3% drop, marking its most substantial decline in over two months as tensions in the Middle East appear to be easing, at least at the headline level.

Despite the somewhat improved situation in the Middle East, stocks wobbled against the backdrop of Fed policy uncertainty.

While we can speculate about buyer fatigue hinting at a desire to retreat from the barrage of headlines emanating from Washington, investors also appear to be scaling back on overall risk exposure as part of their early Spring housekeeping, perhaps heeding the age-old adage of "sell in May and go away."

Stocks continued their descent for the fourth consecutive day, with the S&P 500 extending its decline from its recent all-time high. Chipmakers faced significant selling pressure following a sharp decline in orders for ASML Holding. Among the megacap stocks, market favourite Nvidia experienced notable losses. Hinting that earnings season jitters are also starting to take hold.

After a robust 10% stock rally in the first quarter, marking the strongest start to a year since 2019, investors are growing increasingly skeptical about the market's near-term prospects. This skepticism is amplified against the backdrop of a higher implied floor for market discount rates.

In their inaugural trilateral meeting on Wednesday, financial leaders from the United States, Japan, and South Korea pledged to "consult closely" on FX markets, acknowledging Tokyo and Seoul's concerns regarding recent sharp declines in their currencies.

The agreement comes against the backdrop of diminishing expectations for an imminent U.S. interest rate cut, which has driven the yen to 34-year lows, prompting speculation about potential yen-buying intervention by Japanese authorities.

While Japan may not actively pursue an export-driven currency competitive advantage, a weaker Yen will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows. Still, it is enough to trigger intervention plunge control measures from the Ministry of Finance.

SPI Asset Management provides forex, commodities, and global indices analysis, in a timely and accurate fashion on major economic trends, technical analysis, and worldwide events that impact different asset classes and investors.

Our publications are for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell securities.

Opinions are the authors — not necessarily SPI Asset Management its officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. Losses can exceed investments.

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