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Stocks Recoup Post-Fed Losses As Traders Challenge Powell, Regional Banks Crack, Gold Rises: What’s Driving Markets Thursday?

Veteran Trader Peter Brandt Asks Macro Guru If Bitcoin Bull Has Finally Awoken From Deep Slumber

The day after the Federal Reserve meeting is marked by a rebound on Wall Street, with all major stock indices in the green, buoyed by strong corporate earnings and the market’s continued dovish expectations regarding the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cuts.

Speculators seem poised to challenge Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who stated that a cut in March is unlikely and that more confidence is needed to assert that inflation is heading toward the Fed’s 2% target.

The odds for the March meeting, according to fed futures prices, assign a 41% chance for a cut and a 59% chance for no change. Yet speculators are increasing their bets from May onward, factoring in six rate cuts on a meeting-by-meeting basis until December 2024.

On the data front, initial jobless claims increased for the second consecutive week, reaching their highest level in two months as labor costs decelerated and the number of job cuts surged. Survey data on manufacturing activity showed better-than-expected conditions in January.

Here is how major markets traded during the day:

Both the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 show gains of 0.8%, while blue chips and small caps are slightly softer, at 0.6%.
Cracks are re-emerging in the regional banking sector following the nightmarish results published Wednesday by New York Community Bancorp (NYSE:NYCB), which is plunging another 13% after closing down 37% the day before. Analysts are beginning to scrutinize individual banks’ exposure to troubled real estate loans, particularly commercial properties and offices.
The sector’s gauge, the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (NYSE:KRE), is falling more than 4%, on track for the worst performing two-day streak since March 2023.
Treasury yields are down across all major maturities, with the 10-year yield dropping 7 basis points to 3.85%, after having risen to a more than 4% yield the previous day. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NASDAQ:TLT) is up 1.6%.
The market’s dovish view on interest rates and banking uncertainties have revived interest in gold, with the yellow metal rallying 1.2%, its strongest day since mid-December 2023, and putting it on track for the fourth straight positive session.

Thursday’s Performance In Major Indices, ETFs

Index Price % Change
S&P 500 4,885.51 0.8%
Nasdaq 100 17,277.46 0.8%

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