Better than expected earnings from companies like Apple, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, American Express, Capital One and Amazon are buoying the S&P and helping to drive the dollar lower as investors grow more tolerant of risk.
For example, Apple blew analysts’ expectations out of the water on Monday with fiscal Q4 earnings of $1.82 a share vs. the $1.42 consensus expectation. Its shares surged more than $12 (6.4%) to over $200 in afterhours trading that day. The report showed that Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the period, a 7% improvement over the previous quarter.
Capital One said on Thursday after U.S. markets closed that Q3 earnings were $425.6 million, or 94 cents per share vs. the 14 cents a share analysts had expected.
Amazon shares, already up 83% this year, gained another 9.2% after U.S. markets closed Thursday to $102, the stock’s best level since December 1999. It reported fiscal Q3 net income increased 69% from a year earlier to $199 million, or 45 cents a share, vs. the 33 cent per share estimate. The company expanded its foreign presence and said eBook reader Kindle was its “No. 1 bestselling item.”
The dollar has been getting absolutely pummeled as global stock markets improved. Since the S&P 500 hit bottom on March 9 it’s lost 19.61% to the euro, 20.84% against the pound, 46.63% to the A$ and 53.96% vs. the K$. For forex traders, it’s much more valuable to look at these currencies separately rather than looking at the dollar index, which doesn’t include the Australian and New Zealand currencies in the basket.
In other news, it’s being speculated in some circles that Chinese officials could start to reign in its fiscal spending and begin to urge Chinese banks to slow the pace of lending, but don’t believe it for a second.
China is in the process of rebalancing its economy to be less export driven and more dependent on consumer spending, reforms which likely will take years to implement. For one thing, China is spending massively on new power, highway and rail systems, projects which figure to last well into the next decade. And to boost spending (which naturally demands a decrease in the savings rate), the government will need to rebuild its social safety net system more in-line with U.S. Social Security.
To a certain extent this is already taking place; Chinese GDP expanded at an annualized 8.9% in the third quarter even as year over year exports declined over 20%.