Top Stories Last Week
• Global Stocks Ended Lower
Global stocked ended the week lower amid the terrorists’ attack on Boston Marathon. S&P index fell by 2.1%, and MSCI EAFE index tumbled 2.2%. The MSCI Emerging Market Index dropped 0.3%. Gold price tumbled by 6%. The SPGC commodity index slumped 2.3% as oil prices continued to decline. The bond markets were little changed. Barclays US Treasury index remained flat and US high yield bonds was down slightly 0.3%.
• Terrorists Attacked Boston Marathon
Terrorism struck again in the U.S. as two bombs ripped through the iconic Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three and injuring more than170 people. One suspect was killed during a firefight with Boston-area police and the other was captured in a boat in the Boston suburb of Watertown on Friday. The city slowly returned to normal after a lockdown on Friday.
• Gold Slid for a Fourth Week
Gold tumbled 6% this week, marking its fourth weekly drop in a row. Gold for June delivery (GCM3) lost $105.80 to settle at $1,395.60 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On a percentage basis, it was the biggest weekly loss for a most-active contract since Sept. 23, 2011. Technical selling put a lot of pressure on gold prices.
• Bank Earnings were Mixed Bag
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. beat estimates. Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. narrowly missed expectations even though they reported sharp profit increases. Morgan Stanley’s first quarter result was surprisingly weak.
• Signs of Weakness in Corporate Earnings
General Electric warned that European economy softened in the first quarter, and weakness was worse than expected. International Business Machines (IBM) missed profit estimates for the first time since 2005, on a drop in revenue from hardware.
• China’s First-Quarter GDP Growth Slowed
The Chinese economic recovery lost some of its momentum during the first quarter of this year, surprising analysts who had expected growth to accelerate on the back of ample credit, strong infrastructure spending and firm exports. The economy expanded by just 7.7% during the first quarter of the year, compared with a year earlier, short of the 8% that economists had projected, and slower than during the previous quarter, when gross domestic product rose 7.9% year-on-year.
Top Stories to Watch This Week
• More Earnings Reports
Apple, Dow Chemical, Bristol-Myers Squibb and UPS will report earnings.
• US First Quarter GDP
The initial US GDP data will show a first quarter growth of 2.8% YOY, according to economists.
• US New Home Sales
Economists expect the new home sales to inch higher in March.
• Bank of Japan Meeting
Bank of Japan will keep interest rates unchanged, but continue aggressive asset purchases.