US traders return to work today with mixed sentiment. On the currency side, speculation that the Fed will taper QE again at its meeting later this month has sparked another rally in USD, sending gold, silver and other defensive plays like JPY and CHF lower. The only currency that has been able to outperform the greenback and take top dog status has been NZD as a bigger than expected rise in NZ inflation has increased speculation the RBNZ could start to raise interest rates soon.
Even with the prospect for more tapering throughout the year, the party atmosphere in stocks has continued overnight with major markets rallying across all regions heading into a busier week for earnings reports. The Nikkei, S&P/ASX, Dax
and CAC have been leading the charge while US indices appear to be heading for a higher open. Spain’s IBEX has been the most notable laggard.
Commodities have been mixed today. Energy has been climbing despite the USD gains. The return of the polar vortex and another big winter storm in the northeast US has rekindled interest in natural gas but so far the advance has been feeble compared with previous rallies. Brent crude and gasoline have outpaced WTI to the upside and may be benefitting from better than expected German ZEW investor survey results.
The prospects for accelerating global growth have helped to underpin support for stocks and energy commodities and overcome the headwinds of lower QE and a higher USD so far. Today’s global growth update from the IMF may give a better picture of whether the global economy as a whole is accelerating and which regions are expected to outperform or underperform this year.
BlackBerry was up over 10% at one point yesterday on indications that the US Department of Defense indicated that Blackberries will continue to supported on its networks with a dominant share (98% according to some reports). This suggests that company’s renewed focus on business and defense users may get traction.
Agrium put out a profit warning last night announcing it expects EPS from continuing operations to be near the low end of its $0.80-$1.25 guidance range blaming lower sales prices.
It’s a busy morning for earnings reports. Highlights include:
Travelers $2.68 vs street $2.16
Halliburton $0.93 vs street $0.88
Verizon $0.66 vs street $0.65
Johnson & Johnson $1.24 vs street $1.20, F2014 guidance $5.75-$5.85 short of street $5.86
Significant economic announcements released yesterday afternoon and overnight include:
NZ Q4 consumer prices 1.6% vs street 1.5% and previous 1.4%
Germany ZEW current 41.2 vs street 35.0 and previous 32.4
Germany ZEW expectations 61.7 vs street 64.0
Hungary interest rate decision 0.15% cut to 2.85% more than the 0.10% cut that was expected
Turkey interest rate decision 4.50% no change as expected
Economic reports due later today include:
9:30 am EST IMF World Economic Outlook