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Italy, trade, rattle cages

Investor nerves remain fraught despite a late rally in US stocks. Truculent Italian populists have European investors in sell mode, and reports of terse exchanges between trade negotiators in Beijing sapped US optimism. Currency markets are calm with a focus on Japanese yen strength ahead of today’s trade balance. The Columbus Day holiday in the US closed bond markets and left interest rate questions unanswered.

The week ahead gives more reasons for investor caution. US inflation data on Thursday night will speak directly to the path of interest rates. On Friday trade data from China could shine a spotlight on market trade concerns and potentially spark a response from the White House.

Commodity traders have shifted focus to pressure on gold and aluminium after a rare quiet session for energy traders. Hydro Norsk’s reversal of the shuttering of its Brazilian aluminium smelters weighed heavily after the recent price surge. Materials may once again lead local markets lower. Asia Pacific futures markets are off overnight lows but remain in the red.

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