Upward momentum in stock markets started out strong overnight but has faded into the morning. The Hang Seng rallied 1.2% while the Nikkei gained 1.0% in Asia Pacific trading. In Europe, the FTSE is up 0.4% while the Dax is up 0.2%. US index futures, however, are down marginally..
The biggest action overnight has been in crude oil with WTI and Brent falling 0.6% after another huge increase in US API crude oil inventories this time 9.9 mmbbls. The market continues to be caught between falling OPEC production and rising US production with something having to give eventually. Oil could be active again mid-morning around the weekly DOE energy inventory reports.
In currency trading, the USD continues to climb but the pace has slowed with the greenback posting moderate gains against other major currencies and gold. The street continues to view Fed Chair Yellen's testimony as indicating the potential for several rate hikes this year. Today's US data including inflation, retail sales, Empire manufacturing and industrial is likely to be viewed through the lens of whether it adds to or takes away from the case for a March rate hike. Round two of Dr. Yellen’s testimony goes today plus speeches from regional Fed Presidents Harker and Rosengren.
In other news, the EU Parliament passed the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA) by a 408-254 margin. On the flip side, Brexit continues to have a positive impact on the UK economy, with this month's jobless claims falling by a big 42K instead of the 1K increase the street had expected.
There have been no major corporate announcements so far today.
Sweden interest rate (0.50%) no change as expected
UK jobless claims change (42K) vs 0.5K vs previous (10K)
UK 3M jobs change 37K vs street 22K vs previous (9K)
UK average weekly earnings 2.6% vs street 2.8%
UK unemployment rate 4.8% as expected
Eurozone trade balance €28.1B vs street €26.0B
Greece consumer prices 1.2% vs previous 0.0%
Upcoming significant economic announcements include:
8:30 am EST Canada manufacturing sales street 0.3% vs previous 1.5%
9:00 am EST Canada existing home sales previous 2.2%
8:30 am EST US consumer prices street 2.4% vs previous 2.1%
8:30 am EST US core CPI   street 2.1%
8:30 am EST US real average hourly earnings previous 0.8%
8:30 am EST US retail sales street 0.1% vs previous 0.6%
8:30 am EST US retail ex auto street 0.4% vs previous 0.2%
8:30 am EST US Empire manufacturing street 6.8
9:15 am EST US industrial production street 0.0% vs previous 0.8%
10:30 am EST US DOE crude oil inventories street 3.2 mmbbbls vs prev 13.8
10:30 am EST US DOE gasoline inventories street 0 mmbbls vs previous (0.8)
10:00 am EST FOMC Yellen testimony
12:00 pm EST FOMC Rosengren speaking
12:45 pm EST FOMC Harker speaking
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