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Markets are likely to eye a drop in those claiming UK jobless support and those in work to scale a fresh record high, as well as tamed wage inflation when data is released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday at 0930 GMT.
Some of the front month data will be for December, others for January, and offer a glimpse into the state of the UK labour market as the Brexit debate rolls on and the Bank of England sizes up the merits of another rate hike as early as May.
The key data will be the claimant count numbers for January as well as December’s ILO three-month unemployment rate to December. (LiveSquawk – Continue Reading)
I live near Romney Marsh in the south-east of England, and my wife and I delight in taking our dog, Pepper, for walks along the nearby beaches especially in winter when they are all but abandoned by tourists. There is something Dickensian about the marshes and you half expect to bump into a latter-day Abel Magwitch. We choose different parts of the coast partly depending on our appetites and what will available to tuck into after a long walk. Along Pett Level, near Rye, where the tide goes way out and adds to the deserted quality, is a pop-up restaurant, The Red Pig, run by an old broking partner, Andy Forbes-Gower.
Andy was one of my first true broking partners in the futures market, a renegade with a renegade’s brain and outlook on life. If the whole world said the market was going up he, often correctly, would call the market down. Whether this was for the sheer hell of it or some inner intuition, God alone knows, and as my mum would say: he ain’t telling. We spent several years drinking, working, drinking and drinking some more and made several hilarious business trips to Dublin (there is a year’s worth of stories on those trips alone). The markets were a different world in those days and we would enjoy long loony lunches together often followed by a wonder back to the floor whilst singing. I’m not proud of my behaviour but it was on reflection just boyish enthusiasm. Some days we staggered back after several hours of beer and would be unable to focus on the numbers on the screen. Andy inevitably would cover one eye with his hand to help focus, and declare “In the land of the blind the one eyed is King “ (LiveSquawk – Continue Reading)
Federal Reserve officials added the word “further” twice to their January statement. On Wednesday, investors may find out why.
At Chair Janet Yellen’s last meeting Jan. 30-31, the central bank pledged twice to make “further gradual adjustments” in interest rates as opposed to just “gradual adjustments” at the prior gathering. While the language was consistent with adding more emphasis to the plan for rate hikes, the minutes of the closed-door meeting, due Wednesday, will probably give details on what message officials wanted to send with the wording tweak.
One possibility is that it was an indication the Federal Open Market Committee was debating raising interest rates by more than the three moves officials had penciled in for 2018. Another idea is that policy makers may have discussed increasing their estimate of the neutral interest rate -- a theoretical level that neither speeds up nor slows down the economy -- in light of new U.S. fiscal stimulus. (Bloomberg – Continue Reading)
The European Central Bank has its work cut out this year to make sure markets don’t jump the gun on its policy normalization.
Currency strength and a doubling of benchmark borrowing costs over just two months may be tightening euro zone financial conditions faster than the ECB would like, potentially jeopardizing its timeline to exit stimulus.
The central bank has successfully engineered a recovery from the economic doldrums via three years of hefty asset purchases known as quantitative easing (QE).
But as investors anticipate a retreat from extraordinarily loose monetary policy, too fast a rise in bond yields could undermine that good work and make it harder for inflation to rise towards the ECB’s near 2 percent target. (Reuters – Continue Reading)
As the short week for traders kicks off, a big question is whether the mighty mid-month rally for stocks looks like a fake-out or not.
Morgan Stanley strategists say the real-deal selling for U.S. stocks isn’t going to hit quite yet. They view this year’s second quarter as more likely to bring a big serving of selling — a “main course,” rather than just an “appetizer.”
The world’s largest asset manager — BlackRock — also is weighing in, providing our bullish call of the day.
“We have upgraded our tactical view of U.S. equities to overweight from neutral,” says the company’s global chief investment strategist, Richard Turnill. (MarketWatch – Continue Reading)
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