he relentless rally in US indices relented a bit today, with big cap stocks dropping back slightly in what looks like a normal rest stop within an ongoing uptrend. Even after the strong gains of recent days, the declines in US indices were relatively minor indicating continued underlying support. The Russel 2000, meanwhile rallied up to 1,400 right on the close but still needs to break through decisively to confirm the breadth of the uptrend.
It appears speculation on President Trump’s tax reforms has run its course for the momentum with traders now wanting to see what is actually in the package before taking further action. Reports that it could take longer for Congress to pass reform legislation of any kind may also be tempering enthusiasm. A very strong Philadelphia Fed confirmed the strong Empire Manufacturing report indicating that the election of President Trump is starting to have a positive impact on the manufacturing sector, helping the people who elected him.
Similarly, the USD turned back downward on indications that the Fed may not be quite as aggressive in raising rates as the street has been hoping, while some of the regional Fed Presidents have indicated the potential for 3 or more hikes this year, Fed Vice Chair Fischer indicated he is still thinking 2 or 3 and NY Fed President Dudley indicated the central bank looks on course for a hike in the coming months but didn't mention follow-ons. The March decision remains key to sentiment as a rate hike next month would put the Fed on track for four or more hikes this year while another hold would signal three or less hikes are more likely this year.
The retreat in USD sent capital flowing back into defensive havens, particularly gold and JPY. Gold stocks are coming off a big day that saw Barrick Gold and Goldcorp soar over 6% each on the back of stronger than expected earnings and a dividend increase for Barrick. It was a big day for earnings reports in Canada, other big moves off earnings included a 7% gain for Canadian Tire and a 5% loss for Sun Life. Base metal stocks declined with copper falling 1%. Teck Resources dropped 5.5% and First Quantum dropped 2.8%. This mixed action between precious and base metal stocks could carry through into today’s Australia trading.
NZD could be active today on PMI and retail sales report for New Zealand. It’s a relatively light day for scheduled news with UK retail sales headlining but political developments with the potential to move the markets could pop up any time. Friday’s trading may also give an idea of the enthusiasm for this rally, indicating whether traders are still comfortable holding stocks through a long weekend in North America or if they see this as a chance to take profits off the table.
There have been no major corporate announcements after the US close today.
Significant announcements released overnight include:
US Philadelphia Fed manufacturing 43.3 vs street 18.0 vs previous 23.6
US jobless claims 239K vs street 245K vs previous 234K
US housing starts 1,246K vs street 1,226K
US building permits 1,285K vs street 1,230K
Upcoming significant economic announcements include:
(Note: 11:30 am in Sydney/Melbourne is currently 1:30 pm in Auckland, 4:30 pm in Vancouver, 7:30 pm in Toronto/Montréal, 12:30 am in London and 8:30 am in Singapore)
8:30 am AEDT NZ Business PMI previous 54.5
8:45 am AEDT NZ retail sales street 1.0%
11:00 am AEDT Singapore GDP street 2.5%
11:30 am AEDT Singapore electronic exports previous 5.7%
11:30 am AEDT Singapore non-oil exports street 9.6%
9:30 am GMT UK retail sales street 3.4%
9:30 am GMT UK retail ex auto street 3.9%
10:00 am EST US leading index street 0.5%
1:00 pm EST US Baker Hughes drill rig count previous 741
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