Published: 10:52, May 23, 2024 | Updated: 18:37, May 23, 2024
Stocks catch a ride higher with Nvidia; investors cautious over rates
By Reuters

LONDON - Global shares edged up on Thursday after results from AI poster-child Nvidia ignited a rally across tech stocks, although the prospect that interest rates could stay higher for longer than many had expected tempered some investor optimism.

The dollar was set for its best weekly performance since early April, after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting on Wednesday reflected rate-setters' belief that it will take longer than previously thought for inflation to return to the central bank's 2 percent target.

Nvidia shares shot up 6.6 percent in premarket trading. The AI darling forecast quarterly revenue above estimates after the bell on Wednesday, which lifted shares in other AI-linked companies such as ASML Infineon.

The MSCI All-World index edged into positive territory, helped by a rally in European stocks, where technology shares outperformed the broader STOXX 600, which rose 0.2 percent.

The prospect of a tougher Fed, a warmer-than-expected UK inflation print and a sobering assessment of New Zealand's inflation problems from the country's central bank have caused investors to pare back their expectations for the pace and scale of global rate cuts expected this year.

"One thing that's interesting from the last 24 hours that can be taken away is still the uncertainty from central banks about policy settings and at what levels interest rates have to be at, and where they need to potentially stay at, in order to tame inflation," said Kyle Rodda, senior financial market analyst at

"That's causing uncertainty from a policy point of view, but it's obviously also causing uncertainty from a market point of view."

Nvidia keeps on rolling

S&P 500 futures rose 0.5 percent, while Nasdaq futures gained 0.8 percent, thanks in part to the rally in Nvidia, which has already risen by 200 percent since this point last year.

"Nvidia had great figures, but really it is a very narrow market now and you are exposed to one sector, and we see from history that being exposed just to one sector is a big risk," said Pascal Koeppel, chief investment officer of Vontobel Swiss Financial Advisors.

"We have seen that with many sectors, oil, banks before 2008," he said, "As an investor you should diversify a little bit."

In Britain, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak surprised both markets and other lawmakers on Wednesday by calling a national election for July 4.

The pound, which hit two-month highs after data on Wednesday showed inflation in Britain slowing less than expected, was last up 0.1 percent at $1.2735. Investors have taken an axe to their bets that the Bank of England will cut rates next month, to around 10 percent from 50 percent.

The euro got a boost from a survey that showed German business activity grew for a second straight month in May, underpinning confidence that the euro zone's largest economy could be turning a corner. It was last up 0.2 percent at $1.084.

The New Zealand dollar held near two-month highs around $0.6115 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand wrongfooted markets on Wednesday by warning cuts were unlikely until far into 2025.

The yen held steady on the day at 156.77 per dollar, having that touched its lowest in over three weeks earlier on.

In commodities, gold fell almost 1 percent to $2,356 an ounce, but was still within sight of Monday's record high of $2,449.89.

Oil prices held steady, with Brent crude futures almost unchanged on the day at $81.92 a barrel.