Another record finish in the US last night saw the S&P500 close above the 1,850 level for the first time in five attempts yesterday.
Interestingly the Dow Jones remains well shy of its record highs suggesting a little divergence and uncertainty amongst US investors, with the Dow lower for the year, while the S&P is in positive territory.
As a result we can expect to see Europe's markets open in positive territory this morning despite concerns about the ongoing and very fluid situation in Ukraine, and the Crimea in particular.
All it took was for Fed chief Janet Yellen to acknowledge the possibility that the recent weather may well have had a negative effect on recenteconomic data, but like any good central banker she was never going to say anything else, given that to do so would mean boxing herself into a corner.
She also maintained that the Fed remained on course to continue tapering its asset purchase program unless there was a significant deterioration in the economic outlook.
The recent softness in US economic data has certainly lent itself to regular downward adjustments to the latest US Q4 GDP forecasts, with yesterday's downward revision to durable goods suggesting a weaker track for US GDP in the fourth quarter. Expectations from this afternoon's data is for the quarter to be adjusted down from 3.2% to 2.5% with personal consumption taking the biggest bite out of that, expected to drop from 3.3% to 2.9%.
More up to date data could offer a better indication of the continued weather impact with the latest Chicago PMI for February expected to see a decline from 59.6 to 56.4.
Having seen new home sales for January surprise to the upside in data earlier this week, pending home sales could well do the same with expectations of a 1.8% rise in contrast to an 8.7% fall in December.
Meanwhile in Europe the new Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will have the dubious pleasure of digesting the latest unemployment data for January, which is expected to remain eye-wateringly high at 12.7%. If that wasn't enough to contend with in his first week he also has to contend with the possibility that the capital city, Rome, could well run out of money in the next few days unless funds are released from central government.
The latest January EU unemployment numbers are also expected to come in at the same 12% level we saw at the end of last year, but it is the February CPI numbers that will be of particular interest to markets this morning given yesterday's weaker than expected German reading yesterday. The latest February core CPI number is expected to come in unchanged from the previous reading of 0.8% last week.
Further weakness in this number could well be the signal the ECB needs to potentially look at taking additional measures at next weeks rate meeting.
The probability of action next week still remains very much an outlier, irrespective of what markets might expect simply because long term interest rates in the bond markets, even in Italy and Spain, are at multi year lows, which implies that the level of rates is not the problem, which everyone pretty much acknowledges in any case.
- having found support at 1.3643 yesterday the euro has pulled back
above 1.3700. It needs to pull back above 1.3720 to retarget the highs seen earlier this week at 1.3780. The euro bias still remains negative while we remain below 1.3835 but the lack of any dip does raise the concern we could push higher.
- continues to range trade with some selling interest above 1.6710 and bids in the low 1.6600's. The failure at 1.6820 last week keeps the risk for a fall back towards 1.6510/20. The bias remains for further gains but we could well see a correction lower first.
- pressure remains to the downside while below resistance near the 0.8270/80 area and as such the bias remains for a retest of the 0.8160/70 area. A drop below 0.8160 targets a move towards the 2010 lows and 0.8065.
- yesterday's dip below the 102.00 level turned out to be quite short-lived, rebounding from 101.70, but the main barrier to the topside remains at 102.80. Downside pressure is likely to remain intact while below the 103.00 level and a drift lower towards the 200 day MA at 100.20 remains a possibility
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