01.11 - Stocks hit record-highs, Bitcoin is on fire
Global stocks are pointing up today after hitting another record high, supported by strong earnings and optimism about global growth. After the closing bell, Facebook and Tesla will publish their quarterly reports, strong earnings from the two giants can give another boost to the markets. Also happening today - the Fed will decide on interest rates in its policy meeting at 18:00 GMT. In the crypto field, Bitcoin just smashed another record high after surpassing the $6,500 level. Here are the biggest things to know for today’s trading.
World shares started the month on a positive note to hit their latest in a run of record highs, supported by strong corporate earnings results and optimism about global growth.
Asian-Pacific markets ended higher. Among notable standouts, Japan's Nikkei soared 1.9% to reach fresh 21-year highs. Across the Korean Strait, South Korea's Kospi rose 1.3% to touch a fresh record high, boosted by gains in tech stocks.
In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 jumped to a more than two-year high, with almost all sectors trading in positive territory, as investors focused on earnings reports.
On Wall Street, U.S. stocks pointed to a higher open, as investors looked to key earnings reports to set the tone for the markets. Wall Street's three major indexes ticked up on Tuesday to end October with their biggest monthly gains since February.
Traders are waiting for another round of earnings reports from big names such as Allergan, Groupon, Sodastream, Clorox, Cognizant, New York Times and Thomson Reuters, all due to post results ahead of the opening bell.
After the close, Facebook, Tesla, Qualcomm, Kraft Heinz, Allstate, FireEye, Fitbit, GoPro and Yelp are set to release earnings.
More than half of the S&P 500 has already reported quarterly results. Around 75% of those companies have surpassed earnings expectations, while 66% have surpassed sales estimates.
The Fed is not expected to take action on interest rates at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting at 18:00 GMT, keeping it in a range between 1.0%-1.25%.
The central bank will likely point to a firming economy in its policy statement as it edges closer to a possible rate hike next month. The Fed's comments on inflation will also be in focus.
The policy decision takes place just before President Donald Trump names a new Fed chair on Thursday, with sources saying the pick to replace Janet Yellen when her term ends in February is going to be current Fed Governor Jerome Powell.
Powell is seen as being more dovish on monetary policy than other contenders for the post, especially compared to Stanford University economist John Taylor, who has been regarded as another top challenger for the position.
Besides the Fed, there is a batch of data on today's economic calendar, including the ADP jobs report at 12:15 GMT, manufacturing PMI at 13:45 GMT and both ISM manufacturing data and construction data at 14:00 GMT. There are also car sales for October.
Investors also awaited tax reform details following news that Republican lawmakers will delay the release of tax legislation for a day, as they try to overcome differences involving the treatment of retirement savings accounts and state and local taxes, sources said. The bill was initially expected on Wednesday, but the sources said it would be released on Thursday instead.
Bitcoin prices hit a fresh all-time high, taking them above the $6,500-level, boosted by bets the cryptocurrency could enter the financial mainstream after CME Group, the world's largest derivatives exchange operator, said it would launch a futures contract for bitcoin later this year.
The digital currency rallied to a peak of $6,522, surpassing the previous record of $6,330 recorded late last month. Prices pulled back slightly to trade at $6,505.
Bitcoin has been on an absolute tear in 2017, rising over 500% against the dollar so far this year.
- by Roger Gain