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The calm before the data storm

The forecast today is subdued trading. Muted market action on Friday night, holidays in the UK and US tonight and a data deluge starting tomorrow all militate against major market moves. Positive early trading in energy and stock futures markets this morning points to modest gains across the Asia Pacific region today.

Industrial commodity markets could dominate Australian trading today. Oil prices are higher and likely to support local oil and gas plays. However copper and iron ore led metals markets lower and could weigh on mining stocks. A modest lift in gold prices is unlikely to outweigh the industrial downdraft.

Investors and trader may hold out for important reads on the world’s largest economies this week. China PMI reads on Wednesday and Thursday could set the direction for commodity markets. Growth and inflation data across the continent could shift European markets and the current positive investment flows. Retail sales and industrial production numbers in Japan are important given the Nikkei’s approach to 20,000. However all this pales beside the flood of US numbers.

US housing data and consumer confidence numbers will speak directly to the impact the new administration is having on domestic activity. The Fed’s beige book will further flesh out the view from the central bank. Unit labour costs, a manufacturing PMI and ISM reads all drop ahead of the all-important non-farm payrolls on Friday night. Together they offer a comprehensive snapshot of the health or otherwise of the US economy that currently underpins record stock market highs.

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