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LGT Navigator: Strong economic data fuel hopes of recovery, but also worries of overheating

April 6, 2021

While there was no trading on the European stock exchanges for holiday reasons, the indices on Wall Street posted solid gains at the start of the week. The latest economic data from the US and Europe fuel hopes of a further and faster recovery of the global economy, but also increase the concerns of many market participants of a possible overheating and rising inflation risks. Asia's stock markets showed a mixed trend today. On the one hand, positive impetus came from overseas, while on the other hand concerns that China could curb credit growth weighed on investor sentiment. 

Strong economic data fuel hopes of recovery, but also worries of overheating

Against the backdrop of solid US economic data, the Dow Jones Industrial started yesterday with a solid daily gain of +1.13% at 33'527.19 points in the new trading week. The broad S&P 500 even set a record in the meantime and closed +1.44% higher at 4'077.91 points. Even stronger were the gains on the technology exchange Nasdaq. The Nasdaq 100 gained +2.02% to 13'598.16 points and the Nasdaq Composite climbed +1.7% to 13'706 points. In Asia, the positive trend initially continued, but was then weighed down by concerns that China could curb credit growth. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 and the broader Topix are down -1.1% and -1.3%, respectively, after strong gains the previous day. The Shanghai Composite is about -0.2% lower, while the Hong Kong stock exchange is closed for a public holiday.

On European stock markets, the focus will most likely be on the Credit Suisse shares. After the debacle surrounding Greensill and Archegos, the bank will post a loss in Q1 and cut its dividend proposal. In addition, top risk chief Lara Warner and investment bank chief Brian Chin have to resign.

US labor market recovery continues stronger than expected

Employment in the US economy increased more than analysts anticipated in March, and the unemployment rate fell from 6.2% to 6% compared with the previous month. According to Labor Department data in Washington, 916'000 new jobs were created last month. The market consensus had been for a smaller gain of 660'000 new jobs. Nevertheless, there are still 8.4 million fewer jobs in the US one year after the start of the corona crisis. It is therefore impossible to speak of a full recovery. However, the partial easing of corona restrictions in some states, the ongoing vaccination campaign and the economic stimulus packages are likely to have provided impetus. According to the CDC, more than 154 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have now been administered in the US, and around 30% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

American companies in good shape

In the United States, the much-watched leading indicators in the form of the monthly Purchasing Managers' Surveys point to a strengthening recovery trend in the economy. This was made clear by the stronger-than-expected results of the ISM purchasing managers' indices in both the industrial and service sectors. According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the manufacturing purchasing managers' index improved from 60.8 points in February to 64.7 points (consensus 61.7), indicating a strong acceleration of growth in the industrial sector. ISM's result was also confirmed by the purchasing managers survey of London-based IHS Markt, whose PMI rose to 59.1 from 58.6 points in March. Survey data in the US service sector also provided a positive picture. The corresponding ISM Purchasing Managers' Index climbed by 8.4 to 63.7 points in March compared with the previous month (consensus 59.0) – the highest level since the start of the data series in 1997.

Europe's industry in dazzling mood despite ongoing crisis

European industrial companies appear to be in high spirits despite the ongoing corona pandemic. This is evident from the latest survey results from IHS Markit. The Purchasing Managers Index based on the survey climbed 4.6 points to 62.5 in March, the highest level since the monthly survey began nearly 24 years ago. IHS Markit chief economist Chris Williamson summarized, “the eurozone industry is booming!” However, he added that the fact that there are supply bottlenecks due to solid demand is problematic and therefore transportation costs have risen sharply.

Like in the euro area, the UK industry is also in good shape. The Purchasing Managers' Index rose from 55.1 points in the previous month to 58.9 points in March – the highest level since February 2011. IHS Markit explained that industry is benefiting from rising domestic and export demand, particularly from Asia.


Economic Indicators Arpil 6

MEZ Country Indicator Last
10:00 IT Unemployment Rate (March) 9.0%
11:00 EZ Unemployment Rate (March) 8.1%

Earnings Calender April 9

Country Corporate Period
SZ Ems Chemie Q1 Sales


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US employment growth remains dynamic at the beginning of the year