Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Microsoft released stellar results last night as the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a boom in PC sales and video gaming and drove higher usage of the company’s cloud services. The Xbox and PC maker posted a 17% increase in revenues to $43.1bn between October and December, which beat forecasts. Profits jumped 33% to $15.5bn, sending Microsoft shares to a record high.
Today, Facebook, Tesla and Apple are due to release earnings after Wall Street closes.
Apart from the tech results, the main event is the US Federal Reserve’s policy decision at the end of its two-day meeting – the first in 2021. It is expected to leave policy unchanged and stick to its ultra-loose stance: i.e. near zero interest rates and $120bn of bond purchases every month and other liquidity relief measures to help the Covid-ravaged American economy.
Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, says:
And there will certainly be no hint of a policy tightening, or tapering in…