European markets managed to eke out some modest gains on Friday, at the end of what was a negative week overall as concerns over earnings guidance downgrades, and rising long term yields weighed on broader market sentiment.
A mixed US jobs report looked to have stabilised sentiment, pulling the DAX and FTSE100 off their lows of the week after another slowdown in jobs growth in July and downward revisions to previous months, spoke to the idea that central bank rate hikes have done their job, and that no more are coming.
This uplift only lasted until just after European markets had closed with all the signs that US markets would be able to end a 3-day losing streak, however the early gains that we saw in the early part of the day soon evaporated with the Nasdaq 100 and S&P500 both posting their worst weekly performances since March.
In essence there was something for everyone in Friday’s jobs report, weaker jobs growth, the unemployment rate inching lower, and robust wage growth. Ultimately it spoke to a resilient US economy, as well as a possible Fed pause in September, ahead of this week’s CPI report, although there are some on the FOMC who are still on the “more rate hikes to come” line.
One of these members is Governor Michelle Bowman who at the weekend expressed her view that more rate hikes were likely to be needed to return inflation to target. While this may now be starting to become a minority view on the FOMC, it merely serves to highlight the growing uncertainty that is not only starting to permeate central bank thinking but also investor sentiment more broadly, as well as raising broader questions.
Has the Fed managed to engineer a soft landing, and should they cause a pause to allow more time to assess any lag effects on consumers as well as the broader economy. Or do they carry on hiking on the basis that we could have seen a short-term base when it comes to prices slowing down?
While markets are still pricing in a 40% chance of one more rate hike before the end of the year, this figure could swing either way in the event of a hot CPI print later this week. If next month's jobs report is of a similar “goldilocks” variety then a pause seems the most likely outcome from the next Fed rate decision. Whichever way we go with the data in the coming weeks, a pause still seems the most plausible outcome.
For the most part bond markets drove most of the price action in financial markets last week with sharp increases in longer term yields, despite the sharp falls on Friday, as the yield curve steepened sharply. Yields could be the main driver this week with the US set to issue $103bn across a range of maturities this week, in the wake of last week’s credit rating downgrade by Fitch.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on this week's China trade data for July due tomorrow, and inflation data on Wednesday, against a backdrop of an economy that appears to be struggling with weak domestic demand, and where economic activity has been struggling.
We also have preliminary Q2 GDP economic numbers for the UK at the end of the week as well as industrial and manufacturing production numbers for June.
EUR/USD – rallying off last week’s lows just above the 1.0900 area, closing above the 50-day SMA in the process we need to see a move back above 1.1050 to have any chance of revisiting the July peaks at 1.1150.
GBP/USD – drifted down the 1.2620 area last week before rebounding strongly, but we need to see a back above the 1.2800 area to ensure this rally has legs. Below 1.2600 targets 1.2400. Resistance at the 1.2830 area as well as 1.3000.
EUR/GBP – feels like it wants to retest the 100-day SMA at 0.8680, having drifted back from the 0.8655 area last week. Support now comes in at the 0.8580 area, with the bias for a retest of the July highs at 0.8700/10. Below 0.8580 retargets the 0.8530 area.
USD/JPY – failed just below the 144.00 area last week, and has now slid back below the 142.00 area, which brings a move towards the 140.70 area into focus. Main resistance remains at the previous peaks at 145.00.
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