MORNING BID-Bulls get fresh wind as not yet time to taper

A look at the day ahead from Sujata Rao. "It is not time yet," to begin discussing any change in policy, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said. Soon after, President Joe Biden began his pitch to Congress for a $1.8 trillion infrastructure project. That coupled with forecast-beating Q1 results from Facebook (FB) and Apple were sufficient fuel for the bulls.

Some analysts did describe the Fed's language as tiptoeing towards a discussion about weaning the economy off crisis-era stimulus; U.S. 10-year yields are a touch higher but the dollar has dug in near two-month lows. All in all, equity futures are higher -- the Nasdaq by almost 1%.

There could be further downside in store for the dollar -- data also showed this week the U.S. goods trade deficit at $90.6 billion is the highest ever and while Q1 growth may be revealed later on Thursday at a blistering 6.1%, it could well be the top. As European vaccinations gather pace and with ECB president Christine Lagarde predicting a rapid rebound, it might be time for the dollar to take a bit of respite.

On that note, watch out for German Q1 GDP and inflation releases.

The earnings season continues meanwhile, bringing double-digit rebounds albeit from year-ago troughs. Standard Chartered (SCBFF) posted a forecast-beating 18% rise in quarterly pre-tax profit lifting its Hong Kong-listed shares more than 2%.

Dividends and buybacks are back with a vengeance too -- Shell upped dividends by 4% -- the second increase since slashing them at the start of 2020 -- while Unilever announced a a $3.6 billion buyback. This is on the heels of monster buyback programmes announced by Alphabet and Apple.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Thursday:

- Airbus posted higher first-quarter core earnings; Unilever beat quarterly sales forecasts; Nokia beat Q1 forecasts

- UK Nationwide house prices;

- German jobless/German prelim CPI/HICP

- German flash GDP Q1

- ECB's de Guindos speaks 0730 GMT

- Fed speakers: NY Fed's John Williams 1800 GMT

- U.S. Q1 GDP, weekly jobless claims

- U.S. earnings: Bristol Myers-Squib, Merck (MRK), ConocoPhillips (COP), McDonald, Caterpillar (CAT), Newmont (NEM), Domino's, Mastercard (MA), Amazon (AMZN), Gilead sciences, First Solar (FSLR)

(Reporting by Sujata Rao; editing by Thyagaraju Adinarayan)

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