Apple and Amazon flexed their financial might in their latest earnings reports, beating expectations amid economic gloom. iPhone sales disappointed slightly, but Apple's services division picked up the slack with 8% growth as its sprawling ecosystem thrives, although investors didn't find it good enough. Meanwhile, Amazon's cloud computing behemoth, AWS, spread its wings, flying past forecasts with a 12% growth rate on the AI boom. Apple played coy on its AI plans during the conference call, while Amazon predicts strong sales and profits ahead. Still, doubts linger about these giants' AI progress and growth runways in the future, as leaked Google documents suggest open-source AI, especially large-language models, will outperform its for-profit counterpart. It will be interesting to see how the race progresses, especially with AI euphoria, which seems to be running out of steam rather quickly.
Wall Street seesawed Thursday as investors braced for the impact of climbing Treasury yields, weighing the latest jobs and services data. After hours, Amazon rocketed on stellar sales, but Apple, Qualcomm, and PayPal nosedived as lacklustre forecasts dimmed outlooks. Unemployment claims remain low, and layoffs dropped to an 11-month low in July, indicating a still-strong job market, moderating inflation, and reducing recession risk.
Gold prices slid this week to their lowest since July as rising yields tarnished the metal's shine, but spot gold glimmered with a slight uptick Friday ahead of an eagerly awaited US payroll report. Still, hawkish central banks continue polishing interest rates to a high sheen, hammering gold's appeal as an interest-free asset.
Oil prices have rallied for six straight weeks as Saudi and Russian supply squeezes offset demand jitters from Europe and China, as well as a weakening dollar. Despite OPEC+'s standstill, Riyadh and Moscow's recent curbs, combined with falling US stockpiles, have kept crude prices buoyant. Producers defend tightening the taps despite White House calls for more supply flow from cartel dealmaking and voluntary reductions.
The Bank of England tapped the brakes on interest rate hikes, slowing to a 0.25% hike as red-hot inflation showed signs of cooling. This put the British pound on a rollercoaster ride as traders slashed bets on how high rates would go, with expectations for the terminal rate dropping from 6.5% to 5.75%. The greenback eased ahead of payroll data, although the bond market is in a downward spiral.