Stocks mixed, Sterling rallies as traders digest central bank and budget news ahead of big meetings
There has been a ton of news for traders to react to today including the Fed, trump budget, Netherlands election results and more.
The US Dollar remained under pressure as traders readjusted their rate hike expectations from the four increases the Street had built into to the USD price, down to the Fed’s party line of three. There were several other central bank meetings today, in Japan, Switzerland, Norway and the UK. Of these, the Bank of England meeting had the biggest impact on trading. The 8-1 no change decision included a hawkish dissenting vote from MPC member Forbes who wanted a 0.25% rate hike to counter rising inflation. This sparked a rally in Sterling as traders recognized further rate cuts are unlikely and that the Bank may need to raise rates over the longer term.
Today also featured the release of President Trump’s first budget request. As generally expected, increases for military and transportation spending are to be offset by major cuts to other departments like State (Foreign aid) and Environment. The President also wants to eliminate funding to dozens of agencies like PBS (get ready for more pledge drives) and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Winners and losers, Fed seemed to have a bigger impact than the Trump budget as Financials soared on the Fed’s dovish hike. Politics and the budget appeared to have more of a negative impact as health care was the worst performing sector followed by Utilities and Materials. Capital goods declined suggesting some disappointment with the budget Overall, only 2 of 11 sectors posted any kind of meaningful gain.
Oracle was the top performing stock in the S&P 500 rallying 6.8% on the back of stronger than expected earnings and a big dividend increase. Newmont, on the other hand, fell 3.8% despite a 2.0% gain in the gold price.
In addition to dealing with the continuing fallout from all the major news of the last two days, Asia Pacific markets may react to economic data today from New Zealand and Singapore. Heading toward the weekend, the focus turns to trade with US President Trump meeting with German Chancellor Merkel. The new US Administration has criticized German policies on trade and immigration and using its Euro membership as a de facto currency devaluation over a standalone Deutschemark. On the weekend, trade is expected to the be talk of the town at the G-20 finance ministers summit with some commitment to free trade expected to come out of that.
There have been no major announcements after the US close today.
Significant announcements released overnight include:
Bank of England decision 0.25% and £435B no change as expected
1 hawkish dissenter voted for a 0.25% rate hike
SNB decision no changes to negative interest rates as expected
Norges Bank decision 0.50% no change as expected
US housing starts 1,288K vs street 1,264K
US building permits 1,213K vs street 1,268K
US jobless claims 241K vs street 240K
US Philadelphia Fed 32.8 vs street 30.0 vs previous 43.3
US natural gas (53 BCF) vs street (56 BCF)
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 BusinessNZ manufacturing PMI previous 51.6
11:00 pm AEDT NZ ANZ consumer confidence previous 127.4
11:30 am AEDT Singapore domestic exports street 12.5% vs previous 8.6%
11:30 am AEDT Singapore electronic exports street 11.0% vs previous 6.1%
10:00 am GMT Eurozone construction output previous 3.2%
9:15 am EDT US industrial production street 0.2% vs previous (0.3%)
9:15 am EDT US manufacturing production street 0.5% vs previous 0.2%
10:00 am EDT US consumer sentiment street 97.0
10:00 am EDT US leading index street 0.5%
1:20 pm EDT President Trump meets with German Chancellor Merkel
Mar 17-18 G-20 finance ministers meet in Germany
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