U.S. stocks were set to rise at open today, as investors assess a flurry of quarterly earnings reports. PepsiCo beat expectations for its first-quarter sales, General Motors gained 5% after the automaker unveiled better-than-expected results, while Spotify gained 8% on strong subscribers growth.

Monday's attempt at a rebound was crowned with success on the equity markets, with gains across the board, with the Nasdaq 100 recovering 1%. Not enough to make up for the previous week's huge slump, but the bleeding has stopped. The broad S&P500 index recovered 0.9% after six consecutive sessions of decline. But it was Europe that stood out, and the British market in particular. The FTSE 100 gained 1.6%, topping the 8,000-point mark and beating its February 2023 record. The City had been lagging behind the other major indices for a number of years, after the financial crisis in 2008, Brexit and Liz Truss.

As for US investors, they let their natural optimism do the talking, counting on the numerous corporate results expected this week to divert attention from fears about interest rate trends. While they are not expecting much from Tesla, which reports tonight, they have higher hopes for Meta Platforms (tomorrow) and the Microsoft/Alphabet duo on Wednesday.

The rise in Western equities spread to Asia this morning, with the exception of mainland China, where the market continues to struggle. Hong Kong rose, boosted by a note from UBS, which has turned positive on the MSCI China index. Going long on China is something of a contrarian bet, given that the market has been a stock market disaster for years. It's a bit like betting on a fall in the US deficit or on a hug between Volodymir Zelenski and Vladimir Putin. The Swiss bank believes that the MSCI China index is well supplied with consumer stocks, which should improve, and less so with property stocks. In any case, this helped push the index up by 1.1% this morning, after 1.8% gains yesterday. Elsewhere in the region, gains are cautious in India, South Korea and Australia. The Nikkei 225 closed up 0.5%.

Today's expectations are for a large number of US results, in particular from Visa, Tesla, PepsiCo, Danaher, GE Aerospace, Texas Instruments, Philip Morris, United Parcel Service and Lockheed Martin. After SAP SE last night, Europe awaits Novartis, Kering, ASM International, Akzo, Renault and Eiffage. On the macroeconomic front, the first PMI activity indicators for April are on the agenda. These leading indicators of purchasing managers' morale are closely watched, even though America prefers the ISMs, which will be published later. The Japanese manufacturing PMI published earlier exceeded expectations. In the eurozone, overall business activity grew at its fastest pace in nearly a year this month.

The day's main movements are to be found in gold, which fell sharply after what appears to be a good old-fashioned margin call (at least that is the theory defended by some banks and by Bloomberg). Oil has recovered. European leading indicators are still bullish, and so are US futures.

Today's economic highlights:

The flash PMI indicators for April return, notably in France, Germany, the eurozone, the UK and the US. We also have the Richmond Fed manufacturing index. The full agenda is here

The dollar is worth EUR 0.9374 and GBP 0.8073. The ounce of gold is losing ground to $2311. Oil is slightly down, with North Sea Brent crude at USD 86.35 a barrel and US WTI light crude at USD 81.22. The yield on 10-year US debt fell slightly to 4.61%. Bitcoin is trading at USD 66,000.

In corporate news:

  • Nvidia - Chinese universities and research institutes recently obtained high-end Nvidia artificial intelligence chips through resellers, despite the tightening of the US embargo on semiconductor exports on November 17, a Reuters review of hundreds of tender documents shows. These chips have been integrated into server products manufactured by Super Micro Computer, Dell Technologies and the Taiwanese group Gigabyte Technology.
  • Apple - The US group's smartphone sales in China fell by 19.1% in the first quarter of 2024, while those of its rival Huawei jumped by 69.1%, according to data from Counterpoint Research, which now estimates Apple's market share in China at 15.7% compared with 19.7% a year ago. China is the world's leading market for smartphones.
  • Microsoft unveiled a lighter, cheaper version of its artificial intelligence model, Phi-3-mini, capable of performing tasks such as creating content and posting on social networks on Tuesday.
  • General Motors has published Tuesday quarterly results and raised its annual forecasts, citing stable prices and demand for its petrol-engined vehicles. The stock gained 4.6% before the opening.
  • United Parcel Service reported lower first-quarter profits on Tuesday, as margins came under pressure from weaker demand and higher labor costs. The stock nevertheless gained 1.8% before the opening.
  • Rtx reported a 20% rise in first-quarter profit on Tuesday, thanks to a strong commercial parts market and demand for military equipment.
  • PepsiCo beat Wall Street's expectations for its first-quarter sales on Tuesday, as demand for its snacks remained strong in its international markets. The stock nevertheless lost 0.7% before the opening.
  • Halliburton posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, as rising demand for drilling in international markets helped the oilfield services company counter a slowdown in activity in North America.
  • Ge Aerospace raised its full-year profit forecast on Tuesday on strong demand for jet engine parts and services. The stock gained 5% before the opening.
  • Spotify reported Tuesday 615 million active monthly users (AMU) for the first quarter, a figure up 19% but below estimates, as the Swedish group spent less on marketing activities to attract more listeners.
  • Adobe announced on Tuesday that it plans to integrate a tool for generating images using artificial intelligence into its flagship Photoshop software later this year.
  • Tapestry, Capri - The FTC, the US Federal Trade Commission, asked on Monday to block the $8.5 billion plan by Tapestry, the parent company of Coach, to buy Capri, the owner of Michael Kors, on the grounds that the deal would harm competition in luxury handbags.
  • Boeing expects a slowdown in production and deliveries of its 787 jetliner, as the US aircraft manufacturer faces shortages at its suppliers "on a few key parts," a group official said in a note to employees on Monday.
  • Tesla gained 0.7% in premarket trading ahead of the publication of its quarterly results at the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Hibbett - JD Sports Fashion is to buy US sportswear retailer Hibbett for around $1.08 billion, the two groups announced on Tuesday.
  • UnitedHealth Group said on Monday evening that hackers had stolen a "substantial amount" of US citizens' personal and health data from its systems in February, while the health insurer is working to limit the damage to its Change Healthcare division.
  • The mining groups Newmont and Barrick Gold fell by 1.2% and 1.7% respectively in pre-market trading in the wake of the fall in metal prices, gold having fallen to its lowest level since April 5 amid easing fears of an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East.

Analyst recommendations:

  • Datadog, Inc.: Wells Fargo upgrades to overweight from equalweight with a price target raised from USD 130 to USD 150.
  • Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.: Stifel maintains its buy recommendation and reduces the target price from USD 434 to USD 217.
  • Airbnb, Inc.: Jefferies maintains its hold recommendation and raises the target price from USD 145 to USD 150.
  • Alphabet Inc.: New Street Research LLP maintains its buy recommendation and raises the target price from USD 166 to USD 185.
  • Amazon.com, Inc.: BMO Capital Markets maintains its outperform rating and raises the target price from USD 205 to USD 215.
  • Booking Holdings Inc.: Jefferies maintains its buy recommendation and raises the target price from USD 4150 to USD 4240.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.: Wells Fargo maintains its overweight recommendation and raises the target price from USD 2800 to USD 3285.
  • Intel Corporation: Raymond James maintains its outperform rating and reduces the target price from USD 52 to USD 42.
  • Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.: Stifel maintains its buy recommendation and reduces the target price from USD 434 to USD 217.
  • On Semiconductor Corporation: Wells Fargo maintains its overweight rating and reduces the target price from USD 110 to USD 95.
  • The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.: Daiwa Securities maintains its outperform recommendation and raises the target price from USD 430 to USD 455.
  • Walt Disney Company (The): Wells Fargo maintains its overweight rating and raises the target price from USD 128 to USD 141.
  • Learning Technologies Group Plc: Berenberg downgrades to hold from buy with a price target reduced from GBX 120 to GBX 90.
  • Reckitt Benckise: Jefferies upgrades to hold from underperform with a target price raised from GBX 4100 to GBX 4400.
  • Rentokil Initial Plc: JP Morgan resumes coverage with a neutral rating and a target price of GBP 5.
  • Bce Inc.: CIBC Capital Markets upgrades to outperform from neutral with a target price of CAD 52.
  • Thomson Reuters Corporation: National Bank Financial upgrades to sector perform from underperform with a price target raised from CAD 210 to CAD 217.