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Good morning. Large cap U.S. tech shares were boosted by earnings reports, there was more reaction to a Covid-19 drug trial and euro area GDP numbers are due. Here’s what’s moving markets.
Big Tech Lifted
U.S. big tech boosted stocks after strong results from Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others put the Nasdaq Composite on track to erase losses for the year. Facebook is now seeing “signs of stability” after an initial steep decrease in March advertising revenue, while remote workers have been a boon for Microsoft’s cloud services. Tesla Inc.’s numbers added to investors’ exuberance, though that didn’t stop CEO Elon Musk from ranting. Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. was among other technology companies whose stocks gained in post-market trading after earnings.
Gilead Trial Reaction
The U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert said early trial results offered “quite good news” regarding a potential Covid-19 therapy. Maker Gilead Sciences Inc. spurred risk assets higher on Wednesday by suggesting the data showed remdesivir helped patients recover more quickly than standard care. The treatment is likely to get some form of accelerated approval or expanded use, Wall Street predicted, while remaining somewhat cautious on its definitive prospects. Gilead’s boss said 50,000 courses of the drug are ready to ship.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urged lawmakers to deliver more fiscal stimulus to shield the economy from the coronavirus as he warned of a weak recovery even once the pandemic passes. Meanwhile in this region, today's gross domestic product data from the Euro area, Spain, France and Italy will show the start of the economic downturn, though it is expected to get much worse next quarter. The European Central Bank meets today having already ramped up bond-buying in reaction to the pandemic.
Norway Cuts Production
Western Europe’s biggest oil producer, Norway, joined international efforts to curb supply for the first time in almost two decades. The Nordic country will cut production by 250,000 barrels a day in June and 134,000 barrels in the second half of the year, the Petroleum and Energy Ministry said. The move is a sign of how brutal the market rout is for producing nations that are grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, though note that oil is trading higher on Thursday.
There’s lots of corporate earnings in this region again today with oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc, telecoms groups Orange SA and Nokia Oyj, and chemicals firm BASF SE among big names due to update. In the U.S., Twitter Inc. and McDonald's Corp. report today and Amazon.com Inc. and Gilead update after the close in New York.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
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