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USD and GBP rally, stocks fall into long weekend on hawkish Fed talk and oil price drop

USD and GBP rally, stocks fall into long weekend on hawkish Fed talk and oil price drop

There hasn’t been much in the way of economic news overnight and because of this trading has continued to be dominated by the shifting Fed expectations and falling energy prices that dominated yesterday’s trading. This morning finds European indices like the Dax down about 1.5%, US index futures for the Dow and S&P down about 0.5% and the FTSE running in the middle down about 1.0%. GBP has been the strongest currency on the day even outperforming the advancing USD, boosted by even better than expected UK retail sales excluding autos and some short covering ahead of the weekend as traders recognize Brexit uncertainty may have been overplayed this week. USD remains on the rebound today as Fed speakers continue to backtrack away from what had appeared to be a dovish signal in its statement and projections last week. Several Fed speakers since the meeting including Chair Yellen have suggested April as a live meeting for a rate hike but most were non-voters and not taken seriously. This changed yesterday when St. Louis Fed President Bullard a swing voter this year who had favoured the December liftoff then switched to the dovish camp in January when oil fell and deflation fears rose swung into the hawkish camp. He indicated that if data remains strong the Fed should consider an April rate hike with the risk of the Fed falling behind the inflation curve growing again. He also indicated he thinks the Fed should have press conferences after every meeting to make then all equal and do away with member forecasts particularly the dot plot. He is speaking again this morning giving him another chance to make the hawkish case. Crude oil has been hammered again overnight following yesterday’s a big increase in DOE inventories which confirmed the big API increase, indicating that US production still isn’t falling fast enough with demand soft as well. The oil decline has hit RUB particularly hard overnight taking it down 1.5%. CAD and NOK, are down 0.3% against USD along with a number of non-oil currencies like JPY and AUD. Gold has stabilized near $1,215 after selling off yesterday. Today natural gas inventories and the US Baker Hughes drill rig count could influence sentiment in the energy sector. This morning brings US durable goods orders which are expected to retrench following a big rise last month. Flash US service PMI is expected to rise back above 50 and into expansion territory again. Tomorrow the second revision to US Q4 GDP isn’t expected to change. While these announcements may also influence Fed speculation through the morning, later in the day we could see some position squaring ahead of the weekend. Corporate News There have been no major corporate announcements in North America this morning. Economic News Significant announcements released overnight include: UK retail sales 3.8% vs street 3.9% UK retail ex auto 4.1% vs street 3.5% Italy retail sales (0.8%) vs previous 0.6% NZ trade balance $339M vs street $90M Singapore industrial production (4.7%) vs street (1.5%) Upcoming significant announcements include: 8:15 am EDT FOMC Bullard speaking 8:30 am EDT US jobless claims street 268K 8:30 am EDT US durable goods orders street (3.0%) vs previous 4.7% 8:30 am EDT US durables ex transport street (0.3%) vs previous 1.7% 9:45 am EDT US Markit flash service PMI street 51.4 vs previous 49.7 10:30 am EDT US natural gas street 21 BCF 11:00 am EDT UK KC Fed previous (12) 1:00 pm EDT US Baker Hughes drill rig count previous 476 11:30 am AEDT Fri Japan consumer prices street 0.3% 11:30 am AEDT Fri Japan core CPI street 0.8% 8:30 am EDT Fri US Q4 GDP update street 1.0% no change expected TBA Sat US Democratic caucus results from Alaska, Hawaii and Washington State

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