US stocks rallied after a steady dose of impressive earnings and economic data. The economy doesn’t look bad at all after strong earnings from Moderna, Gilead Science, CVS, Electronic Arts, Starbucks, and SoFi. The economic data broadly came in higher than expected as the service part of the economy seems to be stabilizing and price pressures are improving.
The ISM services index surged to 56.7, much better than the consensus estimate of 53.5. The ISM report clearly shows an improvement with both business activity and new orders. What is confusing about the report is that prices paid plunged almost 8 points, while 16 industries reported higher prices paid. Inflation is cooling, but if several industries are still reporting rises, further declines may not be happening anytime soon.
US factory orders also impressed, another sign the economy keeps chugging along. The June factory order data rose 2.0%, while the prior month was upwardly revised to 1.8%. Expectations will grow for an improvement with the second reading of Q2 GDP.
The debate over what the Fed will do in September won’t be answered until we get closer to the Jackson Hole Symposium, possibly the August NFP and inflation reports, but right now it seems way too early to say that a 75 basis point increase is off the table.
A Hong Kong-based fintech company just brought Meme stock mania back and put it on steroids. AMTD Digital, a subsidiary of investment holding company AMTD Idea Group saw its share prices skyrocket sending its market cap higher than many big-name stocks. AMTD does not deserve to be bigger than GE, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, or Bank of America, so this latest fad will likely see a quick regulatory gauntlet thrown its way.
Bitcoin is hovering around the USD 23,500 region as risk appetite returns to Wall Street. Bitcoin needs a crypto specific catalyst to trigger a meaningful move above the USD 24,700 level. The news has not been positive for crypto as wallets with Solana have been hacked and Nomad, a key bridge protocol, suffered a security exploit and lost almost USD 200 million.
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