Mainland Chinese stocks were down by the early morning. The Shanghai Composite was down by 0.62% to 3,395.68. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down about 0.48% to 28,734.75.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average. Nikkei 225 is trading up 0.07 per cent at 29,642.06 on Thursday, while the Australian Index S&P / ASX 200 rose 0.51 per cent to 7,058.71. South Korea’s Kospi was up by 0.38% to 3194.08.
The FTSE MIB climbed up by 0.15% to 24,606.50 In the cash markets, the DAX futures Germany was trading 0.26% higher at 15,250.25. CAC 40 futures in France climbed up by 0.17% to 6,219.60, while the FTSE 100 futures in the U.K. rose by 0.35% to 6,962.41, at the time of writing.
In the U.S. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.16% at 33,730.27 the S&P 500 was down 0.41% to 4,124.86 and the Nasdaq 100 was up 0.99% at 13,857.35.
In the Forex market, GBPUSD rose 0.05% at 1.3784. The USDJPY was down 0.01% at 108.91. The USDCHF was down 0.01% at 0.9224. EURUSD was up 0.05% at 1.1984, EUR/GBP was up 0.03% at 0.8694, at the time of writing.
In the commodity market, U.S. Gold futures rose 0.63% at $1,747.45. Elsewhere, Silver futures rose 0.41% to $25.628 per ounce, Platinum rose 0.76% at $1,184.90 per ounce, and Palladium was up 1.12% at $2,711.50.
Crude Oil was up on Wednesday ; Brent crude oil was down 0.12% to $66.50 barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (CLc1) fell 0.10% at $63.10.
In the Cryptocurrency Markets, BTCUSD is at $63,070 down 1.89%, Ethereum at 2,471.18 up 4.16%, Litecoin at 275.541 down 0.25%, at the time of writing.
TOP STOCKS TO WATCH OUT TODAY:
SAP up 0.56% at 114.120, Apple Inc. down 1.79% at $132.03, Facebook down 2.24% at $302.82, TESLA Inc. down 3.95% at $732.23, Moderna up 6.89% at $160.03., Goldman sachs up 2.34% at $335.35, Sony up 1.12% at 12,205.
The U.S. economy picked up speed going into the spring on the back of growing confidence among consumers, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell said it is on track for stronger growth and hiring in the coming months.
Economic activity between late February and early April was buoyed by increased COVID-19 vaccinations and strong fiscal support, and the labor market also improved as more people returned to work, the U.S. central bank said in its latest “Beige Book,” a collection of anecdotes about the economy from its 12 regional districts.
The pace of hiring rose the most in the manufacturing, construction, and leisure and hospitality sectors.
“Reports on tourism were more upbeat, bolstered by a pickup in demand for leisure activities and travel which contacts attributed to spring break, an easing of pandemic-related restrictions, increased vaccinations, and recent stimulus payments among other factors,” the report said.
Overall, outlooks were more optimistic since the last report in March, the Fed said.
Hospitality contacts told the Atlanta Fed they had “solid bookings for the remainder of spring and through the summer months and beyond,” according to the report.
Among the most notable areas of improvement was tourism, with a number of districts pointing to signs that the sector hit hardest by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last year was getting back on its feet.
Perhaps for no district was the tone of commentary around tourism as improved as it was for New York.
Three months ago, New York Fed officials used the Beige Book to describe tourism in New York City as “exceptionally weak.” Wednesday’s report said “tourism has continued to trend up,” with air travel rising sharply and hotel occupancy rates finally climbing above 50%.
That improvement appeared to bolster conditions for the region more broadly. While most districts said the pace of growth in their regional economies was moderate, the New York Fed said its economy “grew at a strong pace for the first time during the pandemic, with growth broad-based across industries.”
That occurred despite an increase in COVID-19 cases in the region, the New York Fed said. “Moreover, business contacts have grown increasingly optimistic about the near-term outlook.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he shared concerns over a growing lobbying scandal involving former leader David Cameron who tried to get ministers to help out the now failed supply-chain finance firm Greensill Capital.
Though Cameron’s strategy ultimately failed, Johnson has launched an independent review to look at allegations that lobbyists have an “open door” to his government.
Cameron’s role has raised questions about access to ministers by former colleagues, particularly on behalf of Greensill.
The government said on Tuesday a former procurement chief was allowed to take a part-time role advising the company in 2015 – when Cameron was prime minister – while remaining a public official, or civil servant.
The reports have fuelled accusations from some lawmakers that Johnson’s government operates a so-called “chumocracy” where contracts are handed to friends – a charge denied by the government, which says that Cameron’s lobbying did not yield his desired objective.
Asked by opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer whether lobbying rules were fit for purpose, Johnson told parliament: “I indeed share the widespread concern about some of the stuff that we’re reading at the moment.”
He said civil servants should have experience of the private sector but he cast doubt over whether the boundaries in the case of the former procurement chief had been “properly understood”.
Asked about his contacts with Cameron, Johnson said he had not been in contact with the former premier since the case was reported and that he could not “remember when I last spoke to Dave”.
Johnson launched the review on Monday after the Financial Times and Sunday Times newspapers reported that Cameron contacted ministers on behalf of Greensill, including sending text messages to finance minister Rishi Sunak and arranging a drink between banker Lex Greensill and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Greensill was brought in to advise the government while Cameron was prime minister from 2010 to 2016. After leaving office, Cameron became an adviser to Greensill’s now-insolvent company.
On Sunday, Cameron said in a statement he did not break any codes of conduct or government rules and that ultimately the outcome of the discussions on Greensill’s proposals on a loan were not taken up.
The Treasury Committee in the lower house of parliament said it would launch an inquiry into Greensill’s failure and how Sunak’s finance ministry responded to the lobbying efforts.
“The Committee will focus on the regulatory lessons from the failure of Greensill Capital and the appropriateness of HM Treasury’s response to lobbying in relation to Greensill Capital,” the committee said in a statement.
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