The big rallies from yesterday afternoon off the FOMC news which had something for everyone have been fading overnight. To recap quickly, after some initial choppiness, USD took off again on the Fed news while US indices
finished the day moderately positive.
The Fed news was mixed, the $15B instead or $10B taper, another member of the hawkish camp and the increase in the member projection of the Fed funds rate for end 2015 to 1.35% from 1.00% were all seen as hawkish. Fed Chair Yellen’s press conference and the balance sheet plan had no surprises and were seen as neutral. Keeping the “considerable time” guidance between the end of QE3 and the start of rate hikes and Dr. Yellen’s comment that it could take the rest of this decade to normalize the Fed balance sheet were seen as dovish.
So far today, US indices are trading higher again with the Dow trying to break out to all-time highs again. Breadth, however, is terrible with the S&P. NASDAQ and Russell 2000 only up slightly and well short of their highs. This focus of bulls on a few large caps suggests that the market advance appears to be running out of gas, leaving indices increasingly vulnerable to a correction.
USD, meanwhile has already started to give back some of yesterday’s gains. CHF is bouncing back after the SNB didn’t follow through on recent hints and go to negative interest rates, but it did indicate it stands ready to take additional measures including more intervention in FX markets if necessary. NOK is the top performer today rallying after the Norges Bank maintained interest rates and confirmed it expects rates to remain steady through the end of 2015.
EUR has stabilized after banks took up only €82.6B of targeted LTRO loans, way short of the €150B the street had expected. The ECB recently indicated it hopes to reinflate its balance sheet by €1 trillion so it’s off to a pretty slow start. This puts pressure on the central bank to come out with a more aggressive asset buying program next month.
USD hasn’t been losing ground against everything however, gold, JPY and AUD have continued to weaken overnight while CAD and NZD have essentially been holding steady. US data this morning is mixed with a very good jobless claims report offset by soft housing numbers.
With all the central bank news for this week now out of the way, the stage is now clear and set for full focus on the results of today’s Scottish Independence Referendum. GBP and the FTSE are trading up moderately today with the last poll from Ipsos MORI giving the No side a 53%-47% lead. It’s still too close to call but the results could have a big impact on UK trading through the rest of this week with the potential for spillover into European markets (indices and EUR) plus possibly gold and Brent Crude oil depending on whether the result increases or decreases political risk.
Penn West accounting review completed, some capital expenses were reversed, no impact on the company’s strategic plans or daily operations.
Economic reports released overnight and this morning include:
ECB LTRO first tranche €82.6B vs street €150B
Switzerland interest rate decision 0.00% no change as expected no negative interest rates for now
Norway interest rate decision 1.50% no change as expected
China new house prices (1.2%) over month, 0.8% over year
US jobless claims 280K vs street 305K
US housing starts 956K vs street 1,037K
US building permits 998K vs street 1,040K
UK retail sales 3.9% vs street 4.0%
UK retail ex auto 4.5% vs street 4.8%
Greece unemployment rate 26.6% vs street 27.2%
Sweden GDP 2.6% vs street 1.9%
NZ GDP 3.9% vs street 3.8%
Economic reports due later today include:
10:00 am EDT US Philadelphia Fed street 23.0 vs previous 28.0
10:30 am EDT US natural gas street 90 BCF
10:00 pm BST Scotland referendum polls close
2:00 am BST Fri First local results expected
5:00 am BST Fri Glasgow and Edinburgh results expected
6:00 am BST Fri Last (Aberdeen) local results expected
7:00 am BST Fri Scotland referendum official results expected