markets stabilised somewhat last night, the DXY index unchanged, on
hopes an economic-rescue plan from the US will shore
up the banks. In a mild reversal of the previous two days, US equities bounced
2%, although the banksâ€™ subindex was flat. Euro-zone equities posted a smaller
0.5% gain, weighed by news of Portugalâ€™s downgrade
by Standard & Poorâ€™s from AA- to A+. The pause in risk aversion was
confirmed by goldâ€™s 1% sell-off, and the VIX falling back to 50 (but still in
night remained locked in the sideways corrective pattern which started during
yesterdayâ€™s domestic session, and was helped by the positive surprise in the
retail sales report. The downside was well supported at 0.5170 by speculative shorts
ready to take profit, but so too were rises to 0.53, by traders looking to establish
pattern was even more clearly defined between 0.6460 and 0.6580, the negative
domestic news on consumer confidence, and job cuts by commodity producers and
retailer David Jones, outweighed by the global pause in pessimism. AUD/NZDâ€™s
1.2370 to 1.2520 two-day range should persist into todayâ€™s session.
The EUR ranged
between 1.2820 and 1.30, shrugging off the blow-out in Euro zone credit
spreads. The oversold GBPâ€™s attempt at the important 1.37
level had no conviction, and it stays in a 1.37-1.40 range for now. For
dramatic price action last night, look no further than USD/JPY; 90-strike
options were responsible for the sudden drop from 90 to 87.13, one such option
position reported to be worth US$6.5 billion notional. It is heading back
towards 89 as we write.
NAHB housing market index slips from 9 to 8 in Jan. Yet another
all-time record low for this measure of home-builder sentiment. The new housing
market continues to be pummelled by the glut of recently constructed foreclosed
properties which are being sold at knock-down prices that builders simply canâ€™t
compete with (on top of the lack of finance and buyer confidence).
producer prices fell a further 1.0% in Dec, pulling annual growth down to
4.3% yr, from the peak of 8.9% yr in July.
unemployment jumped 78k in Dec on the claimant count measure, following an
upwardly revised 83k Nov gain. In the three months to Nov, the jobless rate
rose from 6.0% to 6.1%, although employment fell a modest 26k, compared to a
122k drop in the prior quarter. Annual earnings growth slowed from 3.3% yr to
3.1% yr in Nov. Overall, further evidence of very weak economic growth impacting
the job market. Other data included a larger than expected ÂŁ44bn public sector
net credit requirement in Dec, much of that due to the partial RBS
Bank of England minutes to the January meeting, when rates
were cut 50bp to 1.5% showed an 8:1 vote, with the dissenter (David
Blanchflower) preferring a larger cut.
wholesale sales down 1.6% in Nov. The first back to back monthly declines in
two years reflected weakness in autos and agriculture, mostly a function of
weaker export demand.
sovereign credit rating cut by S&P from AA- to A+, because the governmentâ€™s
structural reforms to the economy and finances were insufficient to â€śbring
about convergence with the AA peer groupâ€ť. Greece and Spain have also seen
rating cuts this month and Ireland is on
corrective rally in the NZD has further to go, but beyond 0.54 is unlikely. A suggested
range for the day is 0.5170 to 0.53, with the risk of slightly higher, given the
positive close in US equities. Thursday 22
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