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29/04/24 Briefing

Stocks closed higher on Monday to kick off a big week filled with a Federal Reserve rate decision, the monthly jobs report, and earnings from more "Magnificent Seven" tech heavyweights.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 0.3%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) gained more than 0.3% as Tesla (TSLA) shares surged 15% amid upbeat news related to the EV giant's Full Self Driving technology in China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI), which has fewer tech components, rose about 0.3%.

Stocks briefly gave up earlier session gains after the US Treasury increased its federal borrowing estimate by $41 billion to $243 billion for the current quarter. The yield on the 10-year Treasury (^TNX) climbed to 4.627% following the estimates.

Investors are counting down to the Federal Reserve's policy decision at the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday. Confusion reigns over whether the cooling in inflation has stalled and what any persistence in price pressures implies for interest rate cuts.

While the central bank is expected to hold rates steady at a 23-year high, debate is raging over the timing and even likelihood of a cut in 2024. In focus is whether Fed policymakers will backtrack on their earlier projection for a significant easing in borrowing costs. Traders have already scaled back their bets, and the April jobs report that rounds off the week could move the needle again.

On the earnings front, quarterly reports from Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) due this week will put to the test recent optimism for a lasting Big Tech-driven rally.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk's surprise visit to China on Sunday brought immediate benefits for the EV maker, which cleared two big barriers to rolling out its Full Self-Driving software in the country. Tesla shares rose more than 11% after it reached an FSD-linked deal with Baidu(BIDU) seen as potentially helping stem its sales slump in a huge market. The Chinese internet giant's US-listed stock was up almost 7%.

In big individual movers on Monday, Philips (PHG) US-listed shares rocketed 26% after the medical device maker said it had agreed to a $1.1 billion deal to settle claims linked to a breathing device recall. The settlement was significantly lower than expected.

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