US futures soar and global stocks climb as investors cheer huge Apple and Facebook earnings

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© Karl Mondon/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook. Karl Mondon/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

US stock futures climbed sharply on Thursday in the wake of blowout earnings from Apple and Facebook, and after the Federal Reserve promised to keep up its support for the economy.

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Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1%, boosted by the big-tech earnings. S&P 500 futures rose 0.67% while Dow Jones futures climbed 0.43% as investors also mulled a major speech by President Joe Biden on his taxing and spending plans.

Booming iPhone sales helped Apple’s profit more than double and revenue soar in its latest fiscal quarter, year on year. The company’s shares rose 2.82% in pre-market trading after it announced a $90 billion share buyback program.

Facebook’s revenue also jumped, helped by soaring advertising prices. Its shares rallied 7.04% in pre-market.

The Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate decision added to the good mood in the market. The Federal Open Market Committee held interest rates near zero and pledged to keep buying bonds at a pace of $120 billion a month.

And Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled that the central bank would keep up its support for the economy, despite the outlook brightening, saying: “We’re a long way from our goals.”

The dollar index fell after the decision and press conference, standing at 90.65 on Thursday, down more than 2.7% in April.

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In the bond market, the yield on the key US 10-year Treasury note fell on Wednesday, but picked up again on Thursday morning to stand at 1.647%. Yields move inversely to prices.

“The Fed maintained their very dovish policy stance overnight despite acknowledging the robust US economic recovery at the start of this year,” Lee Hardman, currency analyst at Japanese bank MUFG, said.

“The lack of any hawkish policy shift last night from the Fed has encouraged an extension of the bearish US dollar trend that has been in place this month.” Low US interest rates tend to make dollar-denominated investments less attractive, which weighs on the currency.

Asian and European stocks climbed on Thursday, supported by the Fed and a raft of strong earnings. China’s CSI 300 rose 0.88%, while Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 was up 0.49% in early trading, boosted by strong earnings from consumer goods company Unilever and oil major Shell.

Oil prices – which boosted Shell’s results – rose for the third day on Thursday. The improving outlook in many of the world’s biggest economies supported the market, despite the raging pandemic in India.

Brent crude oil climbed 0.58% to $67.16 a barrel, while WTI crude climbed 0.58% to $64.23 a barrel.

Investors were also weighing President Joe Biden’s Wednesday night speech to Congress, in which he laid out his plan to boost spending and raise taxes to support the US economy.

Biden proposed higher taxes on companies and the rich to pay for a big expansion of the social safety net. He said: “It’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1 per cent of Americans to pay their fair share. Just pay their fair share.”

Stocks initially fell when Biden’s plan to raise taxes on investments were first reported last week, but have since recovered strongly.

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