Strong earnings from JPMorgan and Citigroup helped power a rebound on Wall Street on Friday, raising hopes that one of the worst weeks for equities worldwide in months could end on an up note.

JPMorgan was the standout performer of the three US banks that reported third-quarter earnings before Wall Street’s opening bell, announcing a 24 per cent increase in net income over past year thanks in large part to a strong retail banking performance at its Chase division.

Shares in the US’s largest bank were up more than 1 per cent in mid-morning trading, with Citigroup rising 2 per cent and Wells Fargo, which reported results slightly above analyst expectations, up 1.85 per cent.

The strong performance by all three banks added to the return of investor confidence across US equity markets, with the broad-based S&P 500 index up 1.5 per cent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, which has borne the brunt of the recent sell-off, climbed 2 per cent.

Even before Wall Street opened, major indices had bounced off their lows in Europe and across Asia after US stocks suffered another heavy fall on Thursday, which extended their losing streak to five sessions — a run blamed by Donald Trump on an “out of control” US Federal Reserve.

As the jitters eased, Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax 30 and London’s FTSE 100 regained about 0.7 per cent in the European afternoon. The region-wide Stoxx 600 was up by the same margin. Some of the sectors hit hardest by the selling rebounded most strongly, with the index tracking technology stocks up almost 2 per cent.

“The verdict is still out about current valuations and while some investors are viewing this as a buying opportunity, many others are maintaining a more cautious stance,” said Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

“Trade wars, rising interest rates and slowing growth have been front and centre in terms of big macro reasons for the rout, but the reality is that investors need to be asking whether valuations can be justified by company profits.”

The mood had picked up throughout the Asian trading day. Tokyo’s Topix held steady overall, turning round from intraday declines after a 3.5 per cent drop in the previous session. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 2 per cent, while Taiwan’s TWSE, one of the markets hit hardest this week, rallied more than 3 per cent.

Thursday’s losses took the S&P 500 index down 2.1 per cent, leaving the US benchmark 5 per cent lower over the week. The global FTSE All-World index retreated for a sixth day running, erasing all of 2018’s gains in one of the worst weeks of the year. It was up 1.3 per cent on Friday.

Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, said: “We’ve had a sharp drawdown and now the market has taken a breath.”

He added: “It’s like a Jenga tower. The market has been a tower of blocks, it’s been strong over [the] past 12-18 months but then a few of the bottom blocks have been knocked out. That doesn’t mean it’s going to collapse, it just means there’s more risk in the market than there had been.”

The sharp equity sell-off followed after a bout of turbulence in the US Treasury market driven by strong economic data and a more hawkish Federal Reserve. The yield on the 10-year benchmark, which moves inversely to price, hit a seven-year high of 3.26 per cent earlier this week.

Mr Trump stepped up his criticism over tightening Fed monetary policy in an Oval Office meeting where he said he was “disappointed” in Jay Powell, the central bank chairman, but said he was not thinking of removing him.

“We have interest rates going up at a clip that’s much faster than certainly a lot of people, including myself, would have anticipated. I think the Fed is out of control,” he said.

Mr Trump added: “I’d like our Fed not to be so aggressive because I think they’re making a big mistake.”

That followed similar comments on Wednesday, when the president said, “the Fed has gone crazy”.



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