Here is what you need to know on Thursday, February 25:
Stock markets are back to "risk-on" after Fed Chair Powell reiterated his support for the economy. The rise in shares and retreat of the dollar comes despite new highs in US yields. Bitcoin continues battling $50,000 and GameStop has shot up again. US GDP, Durable Goods Orders, and Unemployment Claims are eyed.
Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, dismissed inflation fears also in his second testimony, only hoping to reach the bank's 2% target within three years. The world's most powerful central banker stressed that ten million Americans are out of work.
Powell's words joined upbeat news on the vaccine front: The US FDA gave its nod to Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 single-shot immunization, and a widespread study in Israel showed that the Pfizer/BioNTech jab reduces infection by 94%. The S&P 500, NASDAQ and Dow Jones indexes rose, with the latter touching record highs.
US ten-year bond yields breached the 1.40% level, but the dollar remains on the back foot. Commodity currencies are advancing rapidly with AUD/USD eyeing 0.80 and USD/CAD flirting with 1.25. WTI Crude Oil is hovering above $63. On the other hand, yieldless gold is struggling to make headway, changing hands below $1,800.
A big bulk of US economic indicators awaits traders on Thursday. Economists expect Gross Domestic Product for the fourth quarter of 2020 to be upgraded from the initial 4% annualized read. Durable Goods Orders also carry expectations for healthy rises while weekly Unemployment Claims are forecast to decrease after the disappointing leap last week.
- US January Durable Goods and Q4 GDP Preview: Consumers worry but they spend
- US Initial Jobless Claims Preview: Exceptional layoffs become mundane
Bitcoin continues battling the $50,000 level yet volatility has somewhat subsided after moves ranging more than $12,000 earlier in the week. Ethereum and XRP are also somewhat calmer.
GameStop has made a comeback into public attention after shares of the veteran video gaming firm doubled following the departure of the CFO. Another short squeeze may be underway in GME and also in other "Reddit" stocks.
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