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Commentary: Markets stabilize ahead of Fed speeches and energy inventories
00:00, 03 January 2014
With the exception of markets in China and Hong Kong, which continued to fall overnight after service PMI declined, stocks have been on the rebound today, although US indices remain well short of the highs set earlier in the week. Gold and silver continue to climb today on bargain hunting. USD has been mixed, underperforming resource currencies like CAD and AUD while outperforming EUR and GBP. Although many traders remain away holiday and nonfarm payrolls aren’t until next Friday we could still see some news driven action in markets today. In the morning, energy markets could be active with weekly inventories for US natural gas, crude oil and gasoline all scheduled. The reaction to the news could indicate of the energy group will be able to shrug off yesterday’s selloff or if that represented the start of a deeper correction. In the afternoon and into the weekend, focus turns to the Fed with seven FOMC members speaking between today and tomorrow. The speech that may attract the most attention is perhaps the least important, that of outgoing Fed Chair Bernanke. While he remains nominally in charge, in less than a month he is going to be somebody that we used to know as Fed Chair (to paraphrase Gotye) so going forward comments from incoming Chair Yellen should carry more weight. Through all of the speeches, the street will be looking for indications of how the Fed’s QE tapering program, which starts this month, may play out over 2014. Will they take a steady methodical approach with regular cuts or vary the size and timing as needed? Of the remaining speakers, members Plosser (hawk) and Kocherlakota (dove) become voters this year but offset each other, members Dudley and Stein remain voters while members Lacker and Rosengren are non-voters this year. Next week 2014 begins in earnest with everyone back to work and a number of major economic releases and central bank meetings scheduled. Economic News Significant economic announcements released yesterday afternoon and overnight include: China official mon-manuf PMI 54.6 vs previous 56.0 UK construction PMI 62.1 vs street 62.0 Spain unemployment change (107K) vs street 24K and previous (2K) Economic reports due later today include: 10:15 am EST FOMC member Plosser speech 10:30 am EST Natural gas storage street (125 BCF) vs previous (177 BCF) 11:00 am EST US crude oil inventories street (2.3 mmbbls) 1:15 pm EST FOMC member Stein speech 1:30 pm EST FOMC member Lacker speech 2:30 pm EST Fed Chair Bernanke speech Saturday FOMC members Kocherlakota, Rosengren, Dudley and Plosser speak