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There was near across-the-board gains for stock markets – will that mood continue this week? Image Credit: AP

Dubai: As the last earnings season of the year picks up speed in different parts of the world, investors brace for what historically has been a volatile month after a week of markets staging a rally. On the economic front, there are also third-quarter GDP data from China, inflation figures from the UK, and manufacturing numbers from elsewhere on the globe.

Topsy-turvy October trading

Stock markets worldwide last week rallied despite the threat posed by a traditionally topsy-turvy trading pattern of October. However, analysts evaluate whether the upbeat investor sentiment will continue, as this is highly detrimental on the corporate results lined up in the week ahead. In the US, dozens of industry heavyweights are reporting, from Netflix and Tesla to Intel, Procter & Gamble and American Express.

End of market volatility?

Stocks were higher in the past week, but analysts opine that it’s still not clear the strong surge in stocks in the last few sessions signals an all-clear for the usually negative tone of October. US stocks rose Friday, notching their biggest weekly gain in months following a streak of strong earnings reports. Stocks began the week with losses, but turned higher after a few key robust results.

Economic data also helped reassure investors about the US growth outlook. US retail sales unexpectedly rose in September, despite economists’ worries about the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Global stocks rally on

The S&P 500 added 0.7 per cent and jumped 1.8 per cent for the week, posting its best weekly performance since July. The Dow Jones gained 1.1 per cent and advanced 1.6 per cent for the week, delivering its biggest weekly gain since June, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq led the charge with a 2.2 per cent gain. The pan-European STOXX 600 closed up 0.7 per cent, with banks adding 1.7 per cent to lead gains while media stocks dropped 0.4 per cent. London’s FTSE 100, Frankfurt’s blue-chip DAX and the CAC 40 in Paris all closed higher as well after strong showings on Asian markets.

Oil demand to rise

Oil prices were in focus after rising on Thursday when top producer Saudi Arabia dismissed requests for additional OPEC+ supply, while the International Energy Agency said spikes in natural gas prices could bolster oil demand from power generators. Prices continued to rise on Friday, with international benchmark Brent crude last trading above $84.80 per barrel on Friday afternoon in Europe.

Investors put aside concerns about surging inflation as they turned their attention to a series of good earnings results in the US, notably at major banks. Goldman Sachs reported a jump in third-quarter profits on Friday behind robust gains in its financial advisory and trading divisions.

All eyes on Bitcoin ETF

Bitcoin breached the $60,000 mark for the first time since April on growing hopes that the Securities and Exchange Commission will allow the first US exchange-traded fund for cryptocurrency futures. The move, which reportedly could occur next week, would place Bitcoin in a financial instrument that is traded like other securities, potentially making it more attractive to traditional investors. The ETF would add to an eventful year for the world’s leading digital currency, which hit a record high at $64,870 in April and became a legal tender in El Salvador, the first country to adopt it officially.

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