As we come to the end of the first month of 2015 and the end of the week, we can reflect on an extremely turbulent month for markets across all asset classes with US equity markets struggling to make any headway at all,
chopping sharply in a fairly broad range, and struggling to make new highs with the very real prospect that we could well see not only a negative week, but a negative month, as investors start to worry about elevated valuations against a background of a rising dollar, and a central bank that seems intent on taking a back seat for the time being.
European markets, on the other hand have outperformed
, ripping higher in January and also look set for a positive week, as investors continue to drip feed money into the German, French, Italian and Spanish markets in the wake of last week's ECB stimulus decision,
putting to one side concerns about the political instability in Greece, to invest in markets that remain some way short of their 2007 peaks, excluding Germany.
As for today we can expect to see a higher European open after a late rally in the US saw a strong finish helped by some good weekly jobless claims
and some reported remarks made by Fed Chair Janet Yellen to Democratic lawmakers that the Fed saw no need to raise rates imminently, though I'm not quite sure why this would be a surprise to anyone given the outcome of Wednesday's FOMC meeting.
Yesterday's economic data continued to point to Germany as the healthiest European economy, deflation concerns notwithstanding,
as unemployment remained at a low 6.5%, however today is likely to paint a slightly different story with the release of Italian and EU unemployment numbers for December, which are expected to remain eye-wateringly high.
Italian unemployment is expected to rise to another record of 13.5%, up from 13.4%
, with youth unemployment also expected to rise further. EU Unemployment is expected to remain unchanged at 11.5%.
On the inflation front the situation is expected to deteriorate further with the latest broad EU January flash reading expected to drop to -0.5%, from -0.2%,
reinforcing the decision in some quarters last week by the ECB to launch its controversial QE program. Core prices are expected to remain unchanged at 0.7%.
In the afternoon session the latest Q4 GDP numbers for the US are expected
to show a slowdown from the 5% reading seen in Q3, not altogether surprising given how much of a surprise it was.
Expectations for this afternoon's reading have come down somewhat though after this week's really poor durable goods numbers and revisions
, which could well see a disappointing number this afternoon. Expectations are for 3%, which is still pretty good, but the recent drop in oil prices could also start to see some evidence of a manufacturing slowdown. In this context the Chicago Purchasing managers index reading for January could well be instructive.
After this week's Fed meeting left expectations of a summer rate hike finely balanced, the latest employment costs index for Q4 could well offer clues as to wage pressures
in the US economy, and this is expected to show a decline from 0.7% to 0.6%, which is hardly likely to see the Fed hurrying to raise rates. As such this is important along with average hourly earnings, which is due next week with the latest employment report.
Weak numbers in wages growth are unlikely to have the Fed rushing to raise rates in the near term,
especially as inflation is also weak as well, and currency markets appear to be slow in waking up to this fact.
- after this week's rally to 1.1422 we've since slipped back but as long as we stay above 1.1205 the prospect of a rebound remains. To make further gains we need to break above the 1.1470 level initially to target a move towards 1.1530 trend line resistance from the December highs. We need to see a monthly close below 1.1205, to suggest a further decline towards 1.0500.
- while we remain below 1.5280, we could well see a slide back the 1.5000 level, but as long we stay above it we could well see a move towards 1.5400. For a move towards 1.4810 to unfold we would need to see a close below the 1.5000 level.
- we seem to be finding some support for now with some resistance near 0.7530, after the lows at 0.7404 this week, but the main resistance remains up near the 0.7590 area. Only a move below 0.7400 suggests a move towards 0.7255, which had originally been the peaks seen in 2003.
- continues to be side-lined in a range between 117.00 and 119.00 and while we could see a retest of the 120.00 level, we could equally retest the recent lows. The key support remains just above the 115.60 level which is also potential neckline support for a forming head and shoulders pattern. A break of 115.60 could well see a sharp fall towards 110.00.
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