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Wall Street Starts 1st Session on a Positive Note

Olusegun Enujowo


US stocks are trading moderately higher ahead of the first US trading session of 2023. However, sharp pre-market losses of Tesla (- 4.1%) weigh heavily on both the Nasdaq and S&P 500. The EV-pioneer reported fourth-quarter deliveries below estimates.

Market sentiment has improved after a sharp sell-off in December. A surprise drop in German unemployment signaled resilience in the Europe's largest economy. Positive signals that China remains on track back to normalcy despite sky-high Covid cases also support Chinese, HK and Asian-Pacific stocks.

However, as monetary policy remains restrictive, recovery attempts will continue to face profit-taking. Hopes that supply chain issues will ease due to China's reopening and that inflation data will show a further cooling of inflation may help to improve sentiment during the first trading day of the year.

The focus remains on economic data, U.S. labor market data and the minutes of the Fed's December meeting, which will be released on Wednesday. Weaker than expected Chinese PMI data points to a slowdown in the Chinese economy before it improves. A stronger USD is another sign that investors remain cautious and seek refuge in the USD. 

Lower oil and much lower gas prices, as prolonged mild weather dampened demand, weigh on the energy sector, but overall support the growth sector and economies in Europe and Asia. 

The JPY continued to recover and remains on the upswing after the sharp losses of 2022 after the Bank of Japan raised the ceiling on bond yields in December. Risk-sensitive currencies AUD and NZD performed poorly in pre-market U.S. trading, but I expect risk sentiment to remain slightly positive throughout today offering rebound potential. We remain in a bear market and further signs of slowing corporate earnings will continue to provide downward pressure. 

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