US markets have gone relatively quiet this afternoon and are widely expected to remain that way through the rest of the week with American traders on their way home for a weekend of food, family, football and shopping. The highlight of today’s US equity trading has been continuing strength in the broader NASDAQ Composite (climbing above 4,000) and Russell 2000 (new all-time high) which highlights the underlying breadth and strength of the market advance. European indices also rebounded sending positive momentum into Asia Pacific share trading. Commodities have been active but mixed. Natural gas broke out today as its seasonal rebound accelerates with winter weather arriving early this year. WTI crude oil, however, broke down as inventory growth was higher than expected. In currencies today, defensive plays continue to see outflows with JPY underperforming again and gold giving back all of an early rally and more after faltering near $1,250 once again. Resource dollars have been soft with AUD and NZD still under pressure having completed Head and Shoulders patterns. CAD and NOK, meanwhile, continue to be impacted by softening oil prices. The top performer continues to be GBP after UK GBP results indicated the country’s economy continues to accelerate into a more robust recovery. There are still a lot of economic announcements on the schedule for traders in the rest of the world to chew on which could keep markets active through the rest of the week. Today brings Japanese retail sales, German employment and a number of mid-tier releases. Friday brings the main monthly basket of Japanese data with global PMI announcements kicking off the new month on Monday. Economic News Highlights of overnight announcements include: US jobless claims 316K vs street 330K US durable goods (2.0%) as expected US Chicago Fed (0.18) vs street 0.10 US Chicago PMI 63.0 vs street 60.0 vs previous 65.9 US UoM consumer confidence 75.1 vs street 73.1 US leading index 0.2% vs street 0.0% vs previuos 0.7% US crude oil inventories 2.9 mmbbls vs street 0.75 mmbbls US gasoline inventories 1.7 mmbbls vs street 0.50 mmbbls US natural gas storage (13 BCF) as expected Brazil interest rate 50 bps increase to 10.0% widely expected Upcoming significant announcements include: 10:50 am AEST Japan retail sales street (0.8%) 11:00 am AEST Australia new home sales previous 6.4% 11:00 am AEST NZ ANZ business confidence previous 53.2 11:00 am AEST NZ ANZ activity outlook previous 47.1 8:00 am GMT Spain GDP street (1.2%) 8:00 am GMT Spain consumer prices street 0.2% 8:55 am GMT Germany unemployment change street 0K 8:55 am GMT Germany unemployment rate street 6.9% 9:00 am GMT Italy business confidence street 97.5 1:00 pm GMT Germany consumer prices street 1.2% 8:30 am EST Canada industrial prices street (0.5%) 8:30 am EST Canada raw material prices street (2.0%)

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