Markets were on hold in overnight trading, and modest moves gave mixed signals. Events over the next five days that could change the landscape offer a likely explanation of the lack of action. The coming meeting of the US Federal Reserve’s Open market Committee, the UK election and a looming deadline for the introduction of tariffs meant traders were happy to sit on their hands.

The Fed meeting looks straightforward. Consensus is no change to interest rates and confirmation of the current stance. The UK elections also seem like a done deal for the Conservatives, although the lessons of the Brexit vote and the US elections mean there is less certainty.

The lack of news on the trade negotiations between China and the US left investors arguing among themselves. Reports that Beijing thinks the tariff increases due on December 15 will be deferred is a mixed blessing given the implication that no deal will be announced by then.

Shares generally edged lower, contradicted by pro-growth gains in crude oil and copper. Safer havens gave similarly mixed signals, with bonds under pressure as gold lifted modestly. Currency markets held, but crypto currencies gained.

Asia pacific markets are set for a muted, low-volume day. Australian consumer confidence and Japanese producer prices are unlikely to dispel the torpor, but any surprise on US CPIs tonight could spur action.

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