Marketmind: “A ways off” and that’s good

A look at the day ahead from Sujata Rao.

We know now the Fed is still “a ways off” tightening monetary policy. Data showing China’s economy grew 7.9% in the second quarter — less than half the Q1 pace — confirms the PBOC shares Fed boss Jerome Powell’s view.

You couldn’t call China’s data dismal — average growth actually surpassed Q1 while June retail sales and industrial output beat expectations. But it does show authorities, who last week unleashed one trillion yuan into the financial system, will ensure conditions stay loose.

But markets’ delight after Powell told Congress he saw no need to rush the shift towards tighter post-pandemic monetary policy, has not lasted long.

Asian shares rallied, led by a 1% rise in Shanghai but U.S. futures are mostly lower, with the exception of the tech-heavy Nasdaq. European markets too, are opening weaker and 10-year Treasury yields are down at 1.33%, almost 10 basis points off Wednesday’s high point.

The news from the corporate world is all good — the four biggest U.S. banks, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan have posted a combined $33 billion in profits. Asset manager BlackRock beat estimates, with assets at a record $9.5 trillion.

Omens in Europe are good too, with Sweden’s SEB, carmaker Daimler and food delivery firm Just Eat all reporting buoyant earnings. And earlier in Asia, Taiwanese chipmaker, TSMC, posted an 11% rise in Q2 profits.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Thursday:

South Korea held rates but signalled pandemic era record-low interest rates was coming to an end

UK added 356,000 jobs in June

ECB Board Member Frank Elderson speaks

Philly Fed index

Bank of England interest rate-setter Michael Saunders speaks

Fed events: Powell testimony continues, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks

US earnings: BNY Mellon, Charles Schwab, US Bancorp, Morgan Stanley, Alcoa