U.S. equities are higher in afternoon action following a recent plunge to lows not seen since 2020. However, volatility remains—notably in the currency and bond markets—as the global markets react to the Bank of England's (BoE) decision to purchase long-term bonds to try to ease pressures on its financial system. The BoE's action comes as the British pound has tumbled to multi-decade lows and bond yields have surged as global central banks, led by the Fed, have tightened monetary policies aggressively to try to fight inflation. Treasury yields are dropping, and the U.S. dollar is sharply lower amid the volatile action in the foreign exchange markets. Crude oil and gold prices are rallying, with the former bolstered by the hurricane landfall in Florida. In equity news, Biogen is surging after reporting that a study showed its experimental Alzheimer's drug significantly slowed the progression of the disease, while V.F. Corp lowered its full-year earnings guidance. In economic news, mortgage applications and pending home sales declined as interest rates continued to spike, the trade deficit narrowed more than forecasts, and wholesale inventories rose much more than expected. Europe ended mixed in choppy trading after the BoE's decision, and Asia finished broadly lower, led by Hong Kong, with the global markets remaining skittish amid the volatility in the currency and bond markets.
At 12:50 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average the S&P 500 Index are rising 1.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite is advancing 1.3%. WTI crude oil is gaining $3.05 to $81.55 per barrel, and Brent crude oil is advancing $2.61 at $87.48 per barrel. The gold spot price is trading $28.50 higher to $1,664.70 per ounce, and the Dollar Index is decreasing 0.8% to 113.69.
Biogen Inc. (BIIB $271) is surging over 35% after reporting, along with its Japanese partner Eisai Co. Ltd. (ESALY $64), that a study showed their experimental Alzheimer's drug significantly slowed the progression of the disease. ESALY is jumping nearly 60% and the news is also boosting other drugmakers' stocks.
V.F. Corporation (VFC $34) lowered its full-year earnings guidance, citing ongoing uncertainty in the current environment, weaker-than-expected back-to-school performance at its Vans footwear segment, and increasing inventories leading to a more promotional environment in North America in the fall. The company also announced a non-cash impairment charge on its Supreme unit—the apparel and footwear company—as a result of higher interest rates and foreign currency fluctuations. Shares are lower.