Data from the US economy showed some improvements yesterday, although the actual figures came short of expectations. Still, equity markets managed to post feeble gains ahead of today’s non-farm payrolls release, which might set the tone for Fed rate hike expectations.
The Dow 30 index rose 44.58 points to 16,943.90 (+0.26%), the S&P 500 index advanced 6.95 points to 1,993.40 (+0.35%), and the Nasdaq rose 4 points to 4,704.4 (+0.09%). The S&P 500 VIX, which is considered a gauge of market fear, edged down 0.39 points to 16.70 (-2.28%) to indicate that risk appetite is still present.
The upcoming jobs release could be a major catalyst for the financial markets, with analysts expecting to see a gain of 195K in hiring for February, a faster pace of growth compared to January’s 151K rise. The jobless rate is expected to hold steady at 5.9% while the average hourly earnings figure could print a 0.2% uptick.
European markets still feeling Brexit fears?
Equities in Europe didn’t share the same upbeat performance yesterday, perhaps because investors are still taking it easy in anticipation of the Brexit referendum. While the euro and the pound have been able to recover against their forex rivals, possibly due to a short squeeze or profit-taking, stock markets in the euro zone and the United Kingdom didn’t fare so well.
The German DAX slid 24.70 points to 9,751.92 (-0.25%), the French CAC 40 index fell 8.81 points to 4,416.08 (-0.20%), and the Euro Stoxx 50 dipped 13.95 points to 3,008.19 (-0.46%). In the United Kingdom, the FTSE fell 16.60 points to 6,130.46 (-0.27%).
Asian markets mixed ahead of NFP
Investors appear to be feeling the jitters ahead of the non-farm payrolls release, which could prove to be the biggest catalyst for the week. The China A50 index is down 1.12 points to 9,168.25 (-0.01%), the S&P ASX 200 index is up 11.08 points to 5,092.20 (+0.22%), and the Nikkei is down 4.10 points to 16,956.06 (-0.02%).
Data from Australia came in weaker than expected today, capping off its week of positive reports. Retail sales rose 0.3% versus the projected 0.4% gain in January but still a decent bounce from the previous flat reading. Canada’s trade balance and Ivey PMI readings are up for release today and downbeat results could force the Loonie to return its recent gains from the oil price rally earlier in the week.
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