An accident or a coup? As OpenAI unravelled over leadership troubles, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella seized the moment to hire ousted executives Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, bolstering the tech giant's prowess in AI. Consequently, Microsoft's stock surged 2% to a record $2.81 trillion market valuation, reflecting Wall Street's optimism about the company's future AI prospects. Although details remain uncertain, Nadella appears intent on ensuring Altman helps advance Microsoft's partnership with OpenAI, which has already borne fruit via investments totalling $3 billion as well as technologies like GPT-4. Time will tell whether Nadella's adept personnel manoeuvre also helps Microsoft catch up to rivals like Google in the high-stakes AI race, with Altman spearheading its AI research arm.
The Nasdaq climbed higher Monday as investors cheered Microsoft for hitting a record peak after poaching top AI talent from OpenAI, while anticipation builds for Nvidia's earnings to gauge AI demand. Boeing also took flight after Deutsche Bank turned bullish on expectations of cash flow relief from accelerating aircraft deliveries. However, Bristol Myers stumbled on diminished confidence in new anti-clotting meds after Bayer halted a key trial.
Gold prices rose Tuesday as a weaker dollar and falling Treasury yields boosted the precious metal, with investors awaiting the Fed minutes for clues on interest rates. If the minutes point to moderating hikes, it could extend gold's rebound, but hawkish signals may limit gains. Still, doubts are growing that peak rates are near signs of an economic slowdown, reviving gold's appeal as an inflation hedge.
Oil gained even as demand anxieties overshadowed potential OPEC+ cuts, with prices finding support from a weaker dollar and expectations for an extension of supply curbs into 2024 to combat forecasts of slowing consumption growth and surging non-OPEC output. Though economic uncertainties persist, resilient US and emerging market demand could steady rates around $83 per barrel next year, according to JPMorgan.
As easing rate hike bets batter the dollar, Asian currencies shine while the yuan strengthens on optimism that Chinese officials' vows to support property will buoy regional sentiment, although they have already injected 80 billion yuan of liquidity into the economy. Still, minutes and speeches may revive tightening fears if inflation persists, so further forex volatility could continue.