CNBC Daily Open: Investors are pricing in the best of both worlds

A Wall St. sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, on Monday, March 20, 2023.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our new, international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

Investor fears subside. Is it premature?

What you need to know today

  • U.S. markets traded higher Thursday as a measure of market volatility showed investor fears are abating. Asia-Pacific stocks mostly rose Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.91% as the country’s consumer price index (excluding fresh food) rose 3.2% in March, 10 basis points lower than February’s reading.
  • In the event of a bank rescue in the European Union, the EU will start by “absorbing equity stack, and then the AT1 and then the Tier 2 and then the rest,” Dominique Laboureix, chair of the EU’s Single Resolution Board, told CNBC in an exclusive interview.

The bottom line

Fears are subsiding and markets are rebounding. But it’d be too premature to celebrate — at least not until we find out how the economy’s doing from reports coming out soon.

Yesterday, all major indexes rose. The S&P 500 climbed 0.57%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.43% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.73%. Investors continued flocking to technology stocks: Amazon rose 1.75%, Microsoft gained 1.26% and Netflix climbed 1.93%. “The Silicon Valley Bank fiasco was just the oxygen the tech bull needed to snap out of its funk and get back to work,” CNBC’s Jim Cramer said.

How do we know investors are regaining confidence, other than inferring their sentiment from market moves? We look at the CBOE Volatility Index. Derived from the price of S&P 500 options, the volatility index measures the market’s expectations of how the S&P will move over the next 30 days. Hence, it serves as a proxy of investors’ fears. Currently, it’s around levels last seen at the start of March, before SVB collapsed.

In other words, markets seem to be pricing in the best of both words: “a recession that allows rates to be low and brings inflation down sharply, yet one that does not have a massively negative effect on corporate earnings,” Ajay Rajadhyaksha, global chairman of research at Barclays, wrote in a Thursday note.

That might be premature, as Rajadhyaksha suggests. While yesterday’s jobless claims number is 7,000 more than the previous week’s, it’s still below what the Federal Reserve would like to see for the labor market to slow substantially. We’ll get more granular data on the economy with the release of the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index later today, and the March jobs report next week.

For now, though, it’s undeniably nice to have a respite from the banking crisis.

— CNBC’s Dan Mangan contributed to this report

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