Stock markets enjoyed a positive week. Strong economic data and a slew of upbeat company earnings reports were enough to offset concerns over the continued spread of the delta variant and talk of central banks ending their extraordinary support packages.
- US: Buoyed by evidence of the economic rebound
The S&P 500 gained 0.9% as strong economic data and corporate earnings updates overshadowed guidance from the Federal Reserve on the likely end to its quantitative easing programme. The US economy added 943,000 jobs in July.
- Japan: Manufacturing lifts sentiment in the face of Covid
The Nikkei 225 returned 2.0%, even as the spread of the delta variant necessitated tighter social restrictions in some districts. Investors were cheered by data showing strong output from the manufacturing sector in July.
- Asia: Political risk remains in the spotlight
In China, the CSI 300 rose 2.3%, regaining some of the ground lost last week. Regulation remained in focus as Tencent, the technology behemoth, dropped 5.3% on news that it will limit the time children can spend playing computer games each day.
- Europe: All-time highs as corporate profits soar
The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 2.1%, ending at an all-time high after its best week since mid-March. The reopening of the economy has been a strong tailwind to company earnings, most noticeably in the banking sector.
- UK: Strong earnings, but a word of warning from the BoE
The FTSE 100 climbed 1.2%, while the FTSE Mid 250 gained 2.2%. Stock market gains have been fueled by strong company earnings reports. However, sentiment was tempered later in the week by a reminder from the Bank of England that it is looking into how and when it will begin to withdraw and reverse its extraordinary support policies