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LGT Navigator: US economy picks up speed and Amazon delivers record profit

April 30, 2021

Although the US economy did not grow as strongly as economists had forecast in the first quarter, momentum has picked up noticeably compared with the final quarter of last year. If the trend continues and the pandemic can be overcome thanks to increasingly rapid vaccination coverage, central banks will also soon have to take their foot off the gas. With Amazon, another heavyweight among the large technology stocks was able to convince with its quarterly earnings report, showing a record profit.

US economy picks up speed

On the New York Stock Exchange, the mostly strong corporate news, most recently from Amazon, created a good mood. The solid growth figures of the US economy, the Fed's commitment to maintain its expansionary course for the time being, the projects announced by US President Joe Biden and the vaccination progress in the United States were positive factors. The Dow Jones Industrial climbed above the 34,000 mark to close +0.71% higher at 34,060.36 points. The S&P 500 reached another record high and ended Thursday with a solid gain of +0.68% at 4,211.47 points. The Nasdaq technology exchange recorded gains of about half a percent.

In Asia, the stock indices mostly did not follow the positive guidance from the US and Europe and tended to close the week mostly in negative territory. In Europe, growth figures for the first quarter will be published today.

Amazon posts record profit

The world's largest online retailer Amazon continues to benefit from the Internet shopping boom in the corona crisis and strong demand for cloud services. In the first quarter, the group more than tripled profits to USD 8.1bn, posting a record profit. Sales increased by +44% to USD 108.5bn. With the quarterly report delivered after the close of the stock exchange, Amazon clearly exceeded market expectations and was also optimistic in its business outlook.

US economy gains momentum

The world's largest gross domestic product grew in the first three months of the year at an annualized rate of +6.4% compared to the previous quarter. From a European perspective, this equals growth of around +1.6%. On average, however, analysts had expected somewhat stronger annualized growth of +6.7%. Compared with the GDP expansion rate of +4.3% achieved in the final quarter of 2020, however, the US economy is visibly gaining momentum. On the one hand, the Americans can rely on the dual stimulus of monetary and fiscal policy and on the rapid success of vaccinations in the fight against the pandemic.

Meanwhile, on the US labor market, the weekly reported number of initial jobless claims fell, albeit less sharply than expected. In the week ended April 24, jobless claims fell 13,000 from the previous week to 553,000. Economists had forecast a decline to 528,000. The more meaningful four-week moving average fell 44,000 from the previous week to 611,750, still the lowest level since mid-March 2020.

Economic sentiment in the eurozone continues to recover

According to a recent survey by the European Commission, the general assessment of economic development brightened significantly again and more strongly than expected in April. The indicator derived from this survey climbed from 100.9 points in March to 110.3 points. Analysts had expected 102.0 points. According to the EU executive (EU was?), economic sentiment is noticeably above the long-term average and above pre-crisis levels for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. The recovery is also well supported regionally. The indicator improved in all major EU economies: in Germany by +5.7 points, in France by +8.5, in Italy by +5.3, in Spain by +9.1 and in the Netherlands by +10.7 points.

Higher cost of living in Germany

In Germany, the level of consumer prices continued to rise. According to the latest calculations by the Federal Statistical Office, the annual inflation rate climbed to +2.0% in April. This means that inflation has continuously risen since the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the year, the inflation rate was +1.0%, in February +1.3% and in March +1.7%. On the one hand this is due to higher energy prices as a result of the CO2 levy due since the beginning of the year and on the other hand due to the discontinuation of the temporary reduction in VAT. Month-on-month, German consumer prices rose by +0.7%.

Inflation in Spain picks up noticeably

In Spain, consumer prices rose more strongly than expected in April. On an annual basis, inflation was +1.9% compared with +1.2% a month earlier (consensus +1.7%).  Month-on-month, the cost of living increased by +1.1% in April.



Economic Indicators April 30

MEZ Country Indicator Last
07:30 FR GDP  Q1 (q/q) -1.4%
08:30 SZ Retail Sales (March, y/y) -6.3%
08:45 FR Consumer Prices (April, y/y) +1.4%
09:00 SZ KOF Economic Indicator (April) 117.8
09:00 SP GDP Q1 (q/q) -0.5%
09:00 AUT GDP Q1 (q/q) -0.2%
10:00 GE GDP Q1 (q/q) +0.3%
10:00 IT GDP Q1 (q/q) -1.9%
10:00 SZ SNB President Jordan Speech
10:30 POR GDP Q1 (q/q) +0.2%
11:00 EZ GDP Q1 (q/q) -0.7%
11:00 EZ Consumer Prices (April, y/y) +1.3%
11:00 EZ Core Consumer Prices (April, y/y) +1.0%
11:00 IT Consumer Prices (April, y/y) +0.6%
14:30 US Core PCE Price Index (March, y/y) +1.4%
14:30 US Consumer Spending (March, m/m) -1.0%
14:30 US Personal Income (March, m/m) -7.1%
15:45 US Chicago PMI (April) 66.3
16:00 US Consumer Confidence University Michigan 86.5

Earnings Calender April 30

Country Corporate Period
SZ Swiss Re Q1 
FR BNP Paribas Q1 
AUT Erste Group Q1
UK AstraZeneca Q1
UK Barclays Q1
US Chevron  Q1
US Exxon Mobil Q1
US Colgate Palmolive Q1


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Source: LGT Bank (Switzerland) Ltd.

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US employment growth remains dynamic at the beginning of the year