Trading action across world markets has been mixed overnight as a classic range bound trading market continues to unfold. The retreat in stocks kicked off by President Obama’s speech against Russia impacted some Asia Pacific trading (Hong Kong and Australia were down, Japan rose ahead of tonight’s Japanese data). The impact of the selloff has been short lived, as was the rally before it with European indices mixed and US indices stabilizing.
Gold has broken down through $1,300 this morning while wheat has fallen under $7.00 indicating that fears over the situation in Ukraine continues to ease and that yesterday’s Obama speech provided traders who were already looking for an excuse to take profits a reason to do so.
The UK reported stronger than expected retail sales this morning, increasing speculation that the Bank of England may need to start raising interest rates in future. This has boosted GBP while causing the FTSE (down 0.55%) to underperform the Dax
(down 0.3%) today.
Signs of an improving economy continue to emerge in the US. Although not as much as the street had hoped, Q4 GDP was revised upward. Today’s jobless claims provided an even more positive sign, dropping to their lowest level since September and indicating that the US job market is accelerating rapidly out of the winter.
The potential for stronger economic growth and increased resource demand has boosted copper and crude oil. Resource currencies continue to outperform, led today by NOK (as central bank held interest rates) and NZD (better than expected trade balance stokes expectations of another rate hike). CAD continues to rebound today while AUD has been consolidating its recent breakout. EUR and SEK have been underperforming along with defensives CHF and JPY.
Later today, we could see some action in natural gas with storage numbers due. Today is day two of trading in King Digital which may try to rebound from yesterday’s dismal 15.5% debut drop. This evening brings a number of key economic reports out of Japan.
Lululemon $0.75 vs street $0.72, sales $521M vs street $515M, same store sales (2.0%) vs street (2.7%), guides next year EPS to $1.80-$1.90 short of street $2.14.
US banks may come into focus following Fed reviews of their capital plans. It rejected plans from Citigroup and others. American Express, Bank of America, SunTrust, US Bancorp and others announced dividend increases after the close yesterday.
Tomorrow brings earnings from Blackberry so we could see some positioning ahead of the news today.
Economic reports released overnight and this morning include:
NZ trade balance $818M vs street $600M
Norway interest rate 1.50% no change as expected
UK retail sales 3.7% vs street 2.4%
UK retail sales ex auto 4.2% vs street 2.9%
France consumer confidence 88 vs street 85
Brazil unemployment rate 5.1% vs previous 4.8%
US Q4 GDP 2.6% vs street 2.7% and previous 2.4%
US jobless claims 311K vs street 325K
Economic reports due later today include:
10:00 am EDT US pending home sales street (9.0%)
10:30 am EDT US natural gas storage street (51 BCF)
TBA South Africa interest rate 5.50% no change expected