The financial markets stabilized today with major European indices trading mixed. DAX jumps 0.5% at the time of writing while FTSE and CAC stays in tight range around break even. US futures also point to flat open. In the currency markets, commodity currencies are soft but generally confined in yesterday's range. Yen is firmer against all others but there is no follow through buying to push it throw Monday's highs yet.
Dollar gains some ground against European majors and Yen as market sentiments stabilized mildly. But near term outlook remains bearish and more downside should be seen in the greenback in near term. DJIA closed down -0.22% at -20550.98 after diving to as low as 20412.80. S&P 500 also closed down -0.1% at 2341.59 after hitting as low as 2322.25. Both indices drew support from 55 day EMAs and pared much losses before close.
Dollar's decline accelerates as markets seem to have made up their mind regarding US president Donald Trump's health care act failure. The dollar index is losing -0.7% at the time of writing, diving through 99.23 near term support and hits as low as 98.90 so far. Risk aversion dominates the markets as investors seriously question Trump's ability to push through his policies. Nikkei closed down -1.44% at 18985.59. FTSE, DAX and CAC are trading down -0.8%, -0.95% and -0.45% respectively. US futures point to another three-digit fall in DJIA at open. In the currency markets, Yen and European majors are generally higher with Sterling leading the way. Commodity currencies are broadly under pressured.
Dollar tumbles broadly in Asian session while the Japanese yen surges. Nikkei also trade deeply in red and is down -1.4%, below 19000 handle, at the time of writing. These developments are seen as markets' reactions to US president Donald Trump's failure in pushing through his health care act. Some analysts noted that markets are generally getting more cautious as the failure exposed Trump's on his limits.
Risk aversion was the dominate theme last week on reverse Trump trade. DJIA suffered the biggest decline this year and lost -317.9 pts or 1.51% to close at 20596.72. S&P 500 dropped -34.27 pts or 1.44% to close at 2343.98. Treasury yield followed with 10 year yield losing -0.101 to close at 2.400. Dollar index dive through 100 handle to close at 99.62, down from prior week's close at 100.31. In the currency markets, Yen was the biggest winner last week on risk aversion and falling yields. Swiss Franc closely followed as the second strongest major currency. Dollar weakened against European majors and Yen but ended up against Aussie and Canadian Dollar. The two were the weakest major currencies last week. In other markets, Gold extended recent rise from 1194.5 and closed at 1248.5, but kept below resistance at 1264.9. WTI crude oil continued to stay in sideway consolidation between 47/50.
Euro trades broadly higher today as lifted by solid PMI data. Meanwhile, the greenback also follows even though markets are facing uncertainty on health care vote in House. US president Donald Trump has issued his ultimatum to House Republicans that if the American Health Care Act is not passed today, he will move on to other priorities and leave Obamacare alone.
The financial markets are holding their breaths as US House delayed the vote of President Donald Trump's health care plan. DJIA recovered to 20757.89 overnight but closed down -0.02% at 20656.68. S&P 500 also recovered to 2358.92 but closed down -0.11% at 234596. 10 year yield recovered by closing up 0.022 at 2.418 but stayed below 55 day EMA at 2.434.
The Japanese yen extends this week's broad based rally even though markets stabilized elsewhere. US President Donald Trump will be facing his first legislative test today. House will vote on Trump's American Health Care Act for replacing so called Obamacare. As Chair of the House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows, suggested, there are still insufficient votes to pass the bill but the chance appears to have improved. Meanwhile, there are also reports that there could be more than 25 Republicans opposing the bill.
New Zealand dollar is steadily in range after RBNZ stands pat as widely expected. The central bank left the Official Cash Rate unchanged at record low of 1.75% and maintained a neutral stance. Governor Graeme Wheeler reiterated in the statement that "monetary policy will remain accommodative for a considerable period." And, "numerous uncertainties remain, particularly in respect of the international outlook, and policy may need to adjust accordingly."
Risk aversion dominates the financial markets today. European indices are trading broadly lower with FTSE leading the way by losing more than -0.7%. CAC and DAX are both down -0.5% respectively. DJIA had the worst day for this year yesterday and is set to extend the sharp fall as suggested by futures. Nikkei lost -2.13% earlier today as additionally pressured by report of North Korea's failed missile test. Stocks are sold off sharply on concerns that US president Donald Trump doesn't have the ability to fulfil his election promises and push through his policies.
US equities suffered the steepest decline for the year overnight. Doubts over US president Donald Trump's ability to push through his policies are seen as the major factor driving stocks down. In particular, some economists pointed out that there is simply not enough money in the government to allow for a tax cut, nor the fiscal stimulus programs. DJIA dropped -237.85 pts, or -1.14% to close at 20668.01. S&P 500 lost -29.45 pts or -1.25% to close at 2344.02. Financials led the way, dropping more than -2.5%. Treasury yield also suffered with 10 year yield extending the near term fall from 2.615 to close at 2.436, down -0.037. Dollar index broke 100 handle to as low as 99.66. In the currency market, risk aversion boosted Yen to be the strongest major currency for the week. Commodity currencies are the weakest with Aussie leading the way down. Sterling and Euro are relatively resilient.
Sterling strengthens against all other major currencies as its boosted by strong inflation data. Headline CPI accelerated to 2.3% yoy in February, up from 1.8% yoy and beat expectation of 2.1% yoy. Core CPI also accelerated to 2.0% yoy, up from 1.6% yoy and beat expectation of 1.7% yoy. Headline CPI is now back inside BoE's target zone. iIt's also the highest reading since September 2013. While BoE has been clear that it will allow inflation to overshoot for sometime, there are continuous speculation of the timing of a rate hike.
Australian dollar's hit a four month high overnight but lost momentum after strong housing data and RBA minutes. RBA highlighted in the meeting minutes the risks from the heat-up housing markets. It noted that "data continued to suggest that there had been a build-up of risks associated with the housing market." And, "growth in household debt had been faster than that in household income."
Sterling dips broadly today but loss is limited. UK Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman James Slack said that Article 50 on Brexit will be triggered next Wednesday on March 29. And, UK representative to EU Tim Barrow has already informed European Council President Donald Tusk of the plan. Slack also noted that "after we trigger, the 27 will agree their guidelines for negotiations and the Commission's negotiating mandate." And, "President Tusk has said he expects an initial response within 48 hours. We want negotiations to start promptly." Meanwhile, it's reported that UK and Germany are planning to sign a new defence pact after the trigger. German defence ministry confirmed that they are working on joint projects. And, the ministry emphasized that "independent of the effects of Brexit, Great Britain remains a strong partner and ally in Nato and also bilaterally."
The financial markets have mixed, or probably just little reaction, to the outcome of the G20 meeting in Germany over the weekend. Markets in Australia, South Korea traded mildly lower. Meanwhile, stocks in Hong Kong jumped. Japan is on holiday today. In the currency markets, Sterling is paring back some of last week's gain while Dollar stays generally weak. On the other hand, commodity currencies are trading broadly higher as led by Kiwi and Aussie. In other markets, Gold breaches last week's high and is extending rebound to as high as 1235 so far. WTI crude oil dips back to 48.3 as last week's recovery failed below 50. While RBNZ will meet this week, the main focus will turn back to economic data in most countries.
There were some major surprises in the markets, much volatility and some interesting developments, last week. Dollar ended the week as the weakest major currency as markets were clearly disappointed by the outcome of the dovish FOMC rate hike. Technical developments in Dollar index and treasury yields suggest there more down would be seen in the greenback in near term. There were some good reasons for Euro to surge last week. Those factors include speculations of ECB rate hike by the end of the year, as well as the Euro-friendly results of Dutch elections. But the common currency did end up as the second weakest one. In particular, the sharp pull back of EUR/CHF from as high as 1.0823 to close at 1.0718 indicates that traders are still concerned with political uncertainties ahead. On the other hand, Australian dollar ended as the strongest major currency last in spite of weak employment data. Sterling followed as the second strongest major currency after hawkish BoE minutes. Also, FTSE 100 closed at new record high despite all the Brexit and Scexit news.
The forex markets are relatively quiet today as the week is heading to a close. There have been talks about Euro strength around. While the common currency did jump against Dollar, it's indeed the second weakest major currency for the week. There are speculations that ECB could lift interest rate before ending the quantitative easing program. There are also talks that results of the Dutch elections showed a defeat for populism and anti-Euro sentiments. However, the lifts from those factors to Euro were rather brief. Cross price actions could be a factor as the currency markets are always a tug war of relative strengthens. But in such situations, we'll always look at EUR/CHF for more guidance on the performance of Euro.
Dollar is set to end the week as the worst performing major currency as post FOMC weakness continues. Meanwhile, Euro follows as the second weakest one after the positive impact of ECB and then Dutch election fades. Meanwhile, Australia dollar is leading the way high on solid risk appetite. And that is followed by Sterling which was lifted by hawkish BoE minutes yesterday. The forex markets are mixed elsewhere.
Sterling jumps sharply after BoE left monetary policies unchanged as widely expected. That is, benchmark interest rate was kept at 0.25%, asset purchase target was kept at GBP 435b. Most importantly, the decision for interest rate was not unanimous. Kristin Forbes voted for a 25bps hike. That's seen by the markets as sign of a split in the MPC with some policymakers getting more intolerant to the surge in inflation. As noted in the minutes, "some members noted that it would take relatively little further upside news on the prospects of activity or inflation for them to consider that a more immediate reduction in policy support might be warranted." On the other hand, the majority stayed cautious on inflation outlook as wage growth has been "notably softer than expected, despite a further fall in the unemployment rate". Also, "estimates of retail sales had weakened notably" and that other indicators were "mixed".
The responses to FOMC's announcement overnight were very clear. Stocks rebounded with DJIA gained 112.273 pts or 0.54% to close at 20950.10. S&P 500 rose 19.81 pts or 0.84% to close at 2385.26. NASDAQ jumped to as high as 5911.20, just missed record high at 5911.79 before closing at 5900.05, up 43.23 pts or 0.74%. Long term treasury yields, on the other hand, tumbled sharply. 10 year yield was rejected from 2.621 resistance and closed at 2.508, down -0.087 for the day. 30 year yield lost -0.066 to close at 3.106. Dollar index dips to as low as 100.43 and broke 100.66 near term support level, suggesting more downside ahead.