Markets recorded only modest changes, EUR/USD weakness notable. Rating agency Fitch downgraded Ireland three notches to BBB+, one lower than Standard & Poor's, citing the mounting cost of bailing out its banks. There were also rumours Fitch was looking at Italy. Spanish and Portuguese 10yr government bonds underperformed Germany's by around 12bp. US data was decent, lending a positive tone to US equities, although Democrat opposition to the tax stimulus plan hurt sentiment. The S&P500 is currently up 0.3%, near important resistance at 1235. Commodities were again mixed, oil up 0.9%, but copper down 0.3% after making a record high yesterday. US 10yr treasury yields are 6bp lower at 3.22%. The 30yr auction went well, with an above average 2.7 bid-cover ratio and solid offshore interest.
The US dollar is little changed. EUR fell from 1.3320 to 1.3165 during the European session, the first wave a result of large corporate flow, the second perhaps related to the Fitch move and some confusion regarding Irish support for their budget cuts, but a late recovery sees it at 1.3240. GBP fell from 1.5840 to 1.5710 in sympathy, the BoE meeting producing nothing for markets. USD/JPY fell after Europe from 84.10 to 83.50.
AUD found 0.9885 overhead an obstacle, slipping to 0.9811 in NY.
NZD dribbled a Â˝ cent lower to 0.7452, surprisingly sluggish in the wake of the bearish RBNZ surprise. AUD/NZD nudged higher to 1.3214 where profit-takers respected recent history and sold it to 1.3160.
US initial jobless claims fell 17k to 421k last week. With no obvious special factors at play, such as holiday distortions, we can have some confidence that a renewed downtrend in claims really is underway. That would be supportive of further payrolls jobs growth being recorded in coming months, at a faster pace than November's 39k. Also continuing claims fell 191k to 4086k (new cycle low) in the prior week but there could be a holiday effect in there.
US wholesale inventories up 1.9% in Oct. That followed a 2.1% jump in Sep. Much of this recent strength is due to farm products, posting 20+% gains in recent months due to higher prices, and also higher energy prices. But durable wholesale inventories were solid in Oct, up 0.9%.
Japanese GDP revisions quite pervasive, pushing up 2010 estimate by 1.2ppts. While the revisions in Q3 itself were not that large, adding 0.6ppts to the annualised rate, stronger outcomes in the previous three quarters have lifted the overall profile substantially. Even with an assumed contraction in Q4, we now see 2010 growth at 4.5% from 3.3% before the revisions.
Bank of England on hold at 0.50% and asset purchase program held at GBP200bn. As expected, and as usual there was no detail in the statement.
UK house prices down 0.1% in Nov, according to Halifax. Prices are now down 0.7% yr, the first fall in annual terms since late last year.
UK trade deficit new record in Oct. The GBP8.5bn deficit reflected a 3.4% imports gain which trumped a 4.1% exports surge.
Canadian new house prices up 0.1% in Oct. The third consecutive modest gain after prices fell temporarily in July - another sign the housing downturn this year might have found a base.
AUD/USD and NZD/USD outlook next 24 hours: AUD support at 0.9760 remains intact, but upside today should be limited to 0.9965. NZD remains above critical 0.7400, but looks vulnerable.
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