March is off to a strong start for stock markets around the world. US index futures are up 0.4% to 0.6% with the NASDAQ leading the charge. Overseas markets have been even stronger with the Nikkei and Dax both up 1.4% and the FTSE up 1.0%.
President Trump's speech to Congress was well received by the markets. His tone was more positive and forward announcing plans for a trillion dollar infrastructure plan using public and private money, He also committed to increased defence spending, health care and tax reform and other initiatives. He kept the sabre rattling to a minimum and spoke positively about the points based immigration systems in Canada and Australia.
The devil as always is in the details. With big promises made, the focus now shifts to getting all of these initiatives passed through Congress, funded and implemented. In other words, the real work starts now. In the coming days and weeks, the sorting process of figuring out what to spend where and when begins, and we'll start to figure out what can be done this year and what could get pushed off to future years. Eventually the market will need details for forecasting. It remains to be seen how long traders' patience will last but for now the trend remains upward until it breaks.
Currency markets have also been active overnight. The US Dollar is up on a combination of speech reaction and comments pointing toward a potential March rate hike from NY Fed President Dudley, one of the Big 3 FOMC members, and SF Fed President Williams. St Louis Fed President Bullard, meanwhile, talked about wanting to start running down the Fed's balance sheet.
USD soared in particular against JPY and gold with EUR and GBP also taking hits. Sterling is having a mixed day, down against USD, steady against EUR and up against JPY amid talk the House of Lords could amend the Brexit bill and a soft UK manufacturing PMI report. AUD has been holding its ground on the back of stronger than expected Australian GDP and manufacturing PMI reports.
CAD fell only marginally against USD overnight but had already taken a big hit during the day yesterday ahead of the Trump and Fed speeches. The Loonie could be active around today's Bank of Canada Decision. While the Canadian economy has been doing well, comments at the last meeting from Governor Poloz about being ready to cut interest rates if US actions on trade sideswipe Canada were seen as a dovish surprise.
Since the last BOC meeting, PM Trudeau, External Affairs minister Freeland and Finance minister Morneau have all been to Washington to meet with their counterparts in the new administration. It will be interesting to see if Governor Poloz changes his tune in light of these meetings and the lower loonie.
Crude oil may also attract some attention today. WTI is trading up slightly despite a 2.5 mmbbl increase in API inventories. Today, DOE inventories are due mid-morning.
Amid all the hoopla of the big speeches. There has been a ton of other data that could influence trading. Chinese manufacturing PMI reports were better than expected with reports for the US and Canada due mid-morning. US construction spending and the Beige Book are also due. Earnings reports for Lowes and Best Buy in the US plus National Bank in Canada were both well above expectations. Reports this week and next may be viewed through the lens of whether they increase or decrease the chances of a March Fed rate hike.
Speeches from Fed Chair Yellen and Vice Chair Fischer Friday may attract particular attention. Comments this week from Fed Governor Brainard could also be of interest. She was particularly close to the Obama administration, so it will be interesting to see if she is still as dovish and if her opinions still carry as much weight with the street as they did before or if she is getting marginalized as the Fed turns more hawkish.
Lowes $0.86 vs street $0.79
Best Buy $1.95 vs street $1.67, guides next Q $0.35-$0.40 below street $0.49,
21% dividend increase
National Bank of Can $1.35 vs street $1.26
US API crude oil inventories 2.5 mmbbls
UK BRC shop prices (1.0%) vs street (1.4%)
UK Nationwide house prices 4.5% vs street 4.1%
Germany unemployment chng (14K) vs street (10K) vs previous (26K)
Germany unemployment rate 5.9% unchanged as expected
Germany consumer prices street 2.1% vs previous 1.9%
Italy GDP 0.9% vs street 1.0% vs previous 0.8%
Australia GDP 2.4% vs street 2.0% vs previous 1.8%
Australia commodity index 56.0% vs previous 55.7%
Japan Q4 capital spending street 0.8% vs previous (1.3%)
Manufacturing PMI reports:
China official 51.6 vs street 51.2
China non-manufact 54.2 vs previous 54.6
China Caixin 51.7 vs street 50.8
UK 54.6 vs street 55.8
Germany 56.8 vs street 57.0
France 52.2 vs street 52.3
Italy 55.0 vs street 53.5
Spain   54.8 vs street 55.8
Norway 52.6 vs street 51.7
Greece previous 46.6
Australia 59.3 vs previous 51.2
Japan 53.3 vs previous 53.5
Upcoming significant economic announcements include:
8:30 am EST US personal income street 0.3%
8:30 am EST US personal spending street 0.3%
8:30 am EST US core PCE inflation street 1.7%
10:00 am EST Canada BoC interest rate 0.50% no change expected
10:00 am EST US construction spending street 0.6% vs previous (0.2%)
10:30 am EST US DOE crude oil inventories street 3.0 mmbbls
10:30 am EST US DOE gasoline inventories street (1.5 mmbbls)
1:00 pm EST FOMC Kaplan speaking
2:00 pm EST FOMC Beige Book
Upcoming manufacturing PMI Reports:
9:30 am EST Canada   previous 53.5
9:45 am EST US Markit street 54.5
10:00 am EST US ISM PMI street 56.2
10:00 am EST US ISM prices paid street 68.0
10:00 am EST US ISM new orders previous 60.4
10:00 am EST US ISM employment previous 56.1
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