Yesterday, U.S. markets managed, if not to rebound, to cut their losses in the end. This is the first time in seven sessions that the Nasdaq has shown a variation of less than 1%.

This is despite Jerome Powell admitting that the rate increases implemented to curb inflation could hit the economy in the short term: "The process of getting inflation down to 2% will also include some pain", he said on the Marketplace radio program. He reiterated that further half-percentage point increases would likely be appropriate at coming meetings, and refused to rule out larger increases if economic data requires such measures. He did say, however, that a 75-basis point rate hike in July, the new scarecrow of investors, is not on the agenda. We've reached the stage where investors would sell their mothers for good news, so this update is no stranger to Wall Street's small boost in confidence yesterday at the end of the day.

In Powell's language, this means that the Fed is ready to put the financial markets and the economy under increased pressure by raising interest rates until it has achieved a sufficiently convincing result on reducing inflation.

In other news, earnings season is coming to an end, at least as far as big companies are concerned. Commodities are still jittery: wheat has strengthened after the US authorities announced that the Ukrainian crop will be one third smaller than last year, while oil remains high despite consistent indications that the European Union will not be able to impose unanimity on banning Russian oil.

In China, officials have denied a containment plan in Beijing, and those in Shanghai are hopeful that they will have prevented the spread of the coronavirus by mid-May. The dollar continues to push towards parity with the euro and is pushing down gold, while a counterattack is underway from cryptocurrencies. For investors still looking for a low point, yesterday's resistance in the US is a signal for optimism.


Today's economic highlights:

The European industrial production for March and the US consumer confidence index are today's main indicators.

The dollar is trading at EUR 0.9632. Despite the tensions, the ounce of gold is trading at USD 1814. Oil looks unstoppable, with North Sea Brent at USD 108.98 per barrel and US WTI light crude at USD 107.13, with a narrowing spread. The yield on 10-year US debt is steady at 2.89%. Bitcoin rebounds after US indexes stabilize at USD 30,600.


On markets:

* Twitter - Elon Musk announced Friday that his proposed $44 billion takeover of Twitter was on hold pending clarification on fake accounts and spam. In pre-market trading, Twitter cut its losses to 9.7 percent as Elon Musk said he intends to pursue the buyout. TESLA, of which Elon Musk is CEO, gained 5.3%.

* Robinhood - Cryptocurrency exchange FTX CEO and founder Samuel Bankman-Fried has taken a 7.6 percent stake in Robinhood Markets, according to a stock document released Thursday night. In after-hours trading, Robinhood's share price was up 27%.

* Berkshire Hathaway - Billionaire Warren Buffett's investment firm increased its stake in Occidental Petroleum this week by buying 901,774 shares for $51.7 million, according to financial notices.

* Affirm Holdings said Thursday it raised its annual revenue target after quarterly sales grew 54 percent and extended a multi-year partnership with U.S. online shopping platform Shopify. The payment services group was up 25.6 percent in pre-market trading.


Analyst recommendations:

  • Atmos Energy: Goldman Sachs downgrades to neutral from buy. PT up 0.8% to $113.
  • Coca-Cola HBC: Jefferies upgrades to buy from hold. PT up 19% to 2,000 pence.
  • Copa Holdings: Barclays raised its recommendation to overweight from underweight. PT rises 41% to $96.
  • Crispr Therapeutics: Needham adjusts price target to $122 from $170, keeps buy rating.
  • CyberArk Software: Summit Insights adjusts price target to $150 from $225, reiterates buy rating.
  • Drax: Credit Suisse downgrades to underperform from neutral. PT down 16% to 650 pence.
  • Globus Medical: Morgan Stanley lowers price target to $68 from $74, maintains equalweight rating.
  • Occidental Petroleum: JPMorgan adjusts price target to $70 from $66, maintains neutral rating.
  • Rivian Automotive: Goldman Sachs adjusts price target to $36 from $48, maintains neutral rating.
  • Sonos: DA Davidson adjusts price target for sonos to $40 from $49, maintains buy rating.
  • The Wendy's Company: BofA Securities lowers price target to $19.50 from $24, maintains underperform rating
  • United Parcel Service: J.P. Morgan downgrades Class B shares to neutral from overweight. PT up 13% to $202.
  • Vodafone: Jefferies changes from Buy to Neutral. The target price is revised downwards from GBp 150 to GBp 125.
  • Walt Disney: DA Davidson cuts price target to $171 from $210, reiterates buy/add rating.