Italian populists took the fight to the EU overnight and shook investor confidence. The Euro slid and stocks fell, although metals were buoyant in London trading. However in a neat juxtaposition the Jerome Powell talked up US economic prospects as Amazon lowered the boom.

In words he may come to regret the Federal Reserve chair is reported as describing the US economy as having a “remarkably positive outlook” on the verge of a “historically rare” period of very low unemployment and inflation. The reports broke as the largest online retailer, Amazon, announced it was lifting its minimum wage to $15 per hour from $11. Historians may record Amazon’s move as the spark that lit the inflation fire.

Gains in US stocks were narrow, with only the 30 stock Dow Industrial index recording a gain. The S&P 500 shed a half percent and the Russell 2000 slipped a full point. Analysts may interpret buying narrowly focused on “blue chips” as a sign of heightening investor worry, and a potential harbinger of a correction.

Asia Pacific investors are facing slightly positive stock leads, although a stronger Yen is weighing on Nikkei futures. With China on holiday all week the Hang Seng may prove a key influence after yesterday’s 2.4% drop.