Morning Bid: Nvidia vigilance almost over

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Kevin Buckland

Two of the biggest events of this week are almost upon us, as Wednesday brings an end to the drawn-out two-day news vacuum that has seen markets drift along with little clear direction.

The headliner surely is the long-awaited earnings report and accompanying commentary from AI darling Nvidia, which undoubtedly will determine whether the Nasdaq bursts through the all-time highs it sets this week – or beats a sharp retreat.

AI fever has propelled the Nasdaq to a more than 12% gain this year, while the Philadelphia SE semiconductor index – or SOX – is up a staggering 21.5%, giving both plenty of room to fall.

Nvidia’s options signal volatility ahead: They’re primed for an 8.7% swing in either direction by Friday, equivalent to $200 billion in market cap.

Next in the rankings, at least from a global investor’s perspective, is the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting.

While the meeting predicts the widely welcomed downside surprise in US CPI from last week, it will still be carefully parsed for clues on the likely policy path, particularly as Fed officials have so far refused to turn sanguine on inflation risks.

Governor Waller, Vice Chair of Supervision Barr and no fewer than three regional Fed chiefs all urged continued patience overnight, adding to a chorus that has been building for the day. Chicago Fed boss Goolsbee takes the podium later today.

The dollar has been content to drift sideways to slightly higher against its major rivals this week.

Sterling, though, has shown particular resilience, marking a two-month top on Tuesday. The currency will be tested today by UK CPI data, the biggest event locally.

The extent to which price pressures mitigate, or refuse to, in the April figures is likely to tip the odds for a June rate cut, which is currently seen as a coin toss.

Unlike at the Fed, Bank of England policy makers have been split on the outlook, with Governor Bailey saying this month that future cuts might need to be more than those markets have priced in, only for chief economist Pill to say the next day that betting too heavily on a June cut would be a bad idea.

Deputy Governor Breeden takes part in a panel discussion today. Pill speaks on Friday.

Key developments that could influence markets on Wednesday:

-UK CPI, PPI, RPI (retail prices) (all April)

-FOMC minutes from April 30-May 1 meeting

-Nvidia earnings (after market close)

(By Kevin Buckland; Editing by Christopher Cushing)