Markets around the world remain stuck in a holding pattern. Traders still appear to be acting like deer caught in the headlights. The oncoming truck is President Trump's speech to Congress at 9:00 pm EST, which could have a major impact on the direction of trading into March. 

In recent weeks, the President has made a number of pronouncements of big things coming ‎related to tax reform, health care and infrastructure spending. Traders have driven US indices to all-time records on anticipation of big announcements and are now looking to tonight's speech for more details. The speed of government is a lot slower than the speed of the markets and traders now need an indication of what is planned and when. With US indices technically overextended and exhausted they appear vulnerable to a significant correction if traders lose patience or interest. The bar of expectations has been set very high for President Trump to deliver.

It's the last day of the month so we could see some repositioning as well but so far trading across markets has been steady. US index futures, the Dax and the Nikkei are all flat. USD is slightly stronger relative to other currencies with gold down 0.6%. The Yen has been the top performing currency overnight rallying ‎on pickups in Japanese housing starts and retail sales. 

Today in North America there are a number ‎of reports for traders to consider. The Q4 GDP update will only be important if there's a surprise. The most important part of that is the Core PCE inflation number. The street is expecting 1.3%. Any increase toward the Fed's 2.0% long term goal could increase pressure on the FOMC to raise interest rates in March. Chicago manufacturing PMI could also get some attention heading into tomorrow's national reports. 

In Canada, ‎the focus is on bank earnings. The big banks had soared in the last month and we've been seeing profit-taking against strong reports from CIBC and RBC last week. Today, the Bank of Nova Scotia met expectations but raised its dividend while the Bank of Montreal beat the street. Valeant Pharmaceuticals could be active today after beating the street on both sales and earnings.  


Corporate News

Valeant Pharmaceuticals    $1.26 vs street $1.20, sales $2.40B vs street $2.34B

Bank of Montreal        $2.28 including $0.20 one-time gain, above street $1.88

Bank of Nova Scotia        $1.57 as expected, 2.7% dividend increase


Economic News

Japan industrial production    3.2% vs street 4.3% 
Japan retail sales        1.0% as expected vs previous 0.6%
Japan housing starts        12.8% vs street 3.2%
Japan construction orders    1.1% vs previous 7.1%

France  consumer prices     1.2% vs street 1.5
France GDP            1.2% vs street 1.1%

NZ trade balance        ($285M) vs street ($25M)
NZ ANZ activity outlook        37.2 vs previous 39.6
NZ ANZ business confidence    16.6 vs previous 21.7

India GDP            7.0% vs street 6.0%


Upcoming significant economic announcements include:

8:30 am EST        US Q4 GDP update        street 2.1% vs previous 1.9%
8:30 am EST        US Q4 personal consumption    street 2.6%
8:30 am EST        US Q4 core PCE inflation    street  1.3%
8:30 am EST        US advance goods trade bal    street ($66.0B)

8:30 am EST        Canada industrial prices        street 0.5%
8:30 am EST        Canada raw material prices    street 1.2% vs previous 6.5%

9:45 am EST        US Chicago PMI        street 53.5 vs previous 50.3
10:00 am EST        US consumer confidence    street 111.0
10:00 am EST         US Richmond Fed        street 10 vs previous 12

3:00 pm EST        FOMC Harker speaking
3:30 pm EST        FOMC Williams speaking
8:40 pm EST        FOMC Bullard speaking

9:00 pm EST        US President Trump speech to Congress