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Central bank decisions and speculation dominate as gold clears $1,300
00:00, 21 January 2015
We’re now into the middle of the three main central bank meetings of the week with some Bank of England and RBNZ speculation thrown in for good measure. The Bank of Japan maintained its current QE program but raised its GDP forecasts for 2015 and 2016 while Governor Kuroda indicated he still thinks inflation can reach his 2% target sometime in 2015. The street took this all to suggest additional QE looks unlikely driving JPY higher and the Nikkei lower. New Zealand inflation, meanwhile, came in below expectations, driving NZD lower on speculation that the RBNZ may now have room to cut interest rates if needed this year, particularly after it raised rates by 1.0% last year. Minutes from the last Bank of England meeting came out this morning. The number of hawkish dissenters fell to 0 from 2 which the street took as the bank leaning more dovishly. This has boosted the FTSE this morning and knocked GBP back to the bottom of the performance pile. The Bank of Canada is up next later this morning. CAD has been falling ahead of the meeting yesterday although this could also be blamed on a 4% drop in oil prices particularly as it has been clawing back lost ground along with WTI this morning. A Canadian interest rate cut appears unlikely but Governor Poloz may shift from a neutral to more dovish stance. Intervention in currency markets still appears very unlikely although the bank may discuss the negative impact of falling oil versus the positive impact of the falling loonie. Tomorrow, the ECB is widely expected to bring in a new QE asset purchase program. Gains in the Dax and declines in EUR slowed yesterday and today finds European indices lower and EUR bouncing back a bit. ECB expectations may have become stretched and it has become increasingly possible that the ECB could disappoint by bringing in a program smaller than what the street has been hoping for. Because of this risk, some traders wary of getting caught too far out on a limb particularly after last week’s SNB surprise, and trimming back on positions. Gold, on the other hand, continues to rally on anticipation of increased ECB money supply, breaking through $1,300 this morning. Crude oil is bouncing back today indicating no follow-through from yesterday’s selloff. Overall, both Brent and WTI continue to trade between $45 and $50 rising and falling with the news of the day. Earnings reports may also spark significant activity in some stocks. Netflix could be active today as traders decide whether better than expected earnings or worse than expected guidance is more important. With IBM numbers already out and more earnings due after the close from eBay and Sandisk, the technology sector could be particularly active. Corporate News Netflix $0.72 vs street $0.45 excluding a $0.63 tax accrual benefit. Guides Q1 $0.60 below street $0.81, launching in Australia and NZ late Q1 IBM $5.81 vs street $5.44m guides 2015 operating EPS to $15.75-$16.50 below street $16.59 CA Technologies $0.67 vs street $0.60, guides March FY $2.45-$2.52 above street $2.44 Celestica $0.23 vs street $0.25, Economic News Japan QE and interest rate decision no change as expected, 1 dissenter Bank of Japan forecasts GDP fiscal 2014 cut to (0.4-0.6%) from 0.2-0.7% GDP fiscal 2015 raised to 1.8-2.3% from 1.2-1.7% GDP fiscal 2016 raised to 1.5-1.7% from 1.0-1.4% UK jobless claims (29K) vs street (25K) UK average weekly earnings 1.7% as expected UK rolling 3M jobs change 37K vs street 74K UK unemployment rate 5.8% vs street 5.9% UK Bank of England meeting minutes 9-0 in favour of maintaining interest rates and QE at current levels US housing starts 1,089K vs street 1,040K US building permits 1,032K vs street 1,058K NZ Q4 consumer prices 0.8% vs street 0.9% and previous 1.0% Economic reports due later today include: 10:00 am EDT Canada interest rate decision no change expected 10:00 am EDT Bank of Canada monetary policy report 11:15 am EDT Bank of Canada Governor Poloz press conference