Yield treasury yield suffered sharp selloff on Friday. 30 year yield closed below 3.000 handle at 2.955, down -0.068. 10 year yield also lost -0.071 to close at 2.317 and carried near term bearish implications. Markets are getting increasing dissatisfied on the lack of progress from US president Donald Trump's administration regarding fiscal stimulus. There was no detail on the so called "phenomenal" tax reform yet. Instead, Trump just continued his attack on media, intelligence agencies and other countries like China. There were talks that Trump could eventually deliver virtually no fiscal stimulus that has an impact of this year's growth. All eyes will turn to his address to Congress on February 28. And reactions could be even more apparent if Trump fails to deliver anything concrete. Dollar also suffered and ended the week mixed.
Central bank comments and rate expectations continued to be the main drivers in the global financial markets last week. However, the developments reminded us that no matter how hawkish central bankers sound, monetary policies have to be supported by data. Canadian Dollar being an example that BoC Governor Stephen Poloz's hawkish comments were supported by strong employment data. And the Loonie ended as the strongest major currency as markets are generally expecting a BoC rate hike on July 12 this week. Dollar ended as the second strongest one after solid ISM indices and non-farm payroll headline number even though markets are not convinced of a September Fed hike. Meanwhile, Euro was the third strongest as markets perceived the ECB monetary policy meeting accounts as a hawkish one.
Sterling, Canadian Dollar and Euro surged broadly last week on hawkish comments from central bankers. The turn in BoE Governor Mark Carney was the most drastic as just a week a go, he said it's not the time of rate hike yet. But then, he indciated the BoE MPC will start debating raising interest rate in the coming months. BoC Governor Stephen Poloz repeated his comments that prior rate cuts in 2015 have already done their job. But this time, Poloz hinted that BoC is approaching a new interest rate decision. That tremendously raised the odds of a July hike by BoC. There were some jitters on Euro on report that markets misinterpreted ECB President Mario Draghi's comments. But after all, it's generally convinced that, with improvements in Eurozone inflation and growth, ECB is transiting into a phase of stimulus withdrawal. And there would likely be tapering announcement in September or by latest October.
While US equities surged to new record high last week, other markets didn't follow. Dollar ended mixed in spite of a chorus of hawkish comments from Fed officials, including chair Janet Yellen. A batch of stronger than expected data also provided little support to the greenback. Instead, Dollar was dragged down by treasury yields, which failed to break out from recent range and reversed during the week. Political uncertainties could be a major factor in triggering safe haven flows to US bonds. And such sentiment could also be seen in the broad based weakness in Euro, which closed as the second weakest major currency next to Sterling. Swiss Franc decouple from Euro and Sterling and ended as the second strongest currency. And overall risk aversion on European situation could be the factor in driving up the Japanese Yen, which ended as the strongest major currency.
The financial markets traded with solid risk appetite last week and the three major US equity indices surged to new record highs in US president Donald Trump's first week in White House. Markets took Trump's signing of some executive orders, include trade and immigration, as sign that he will deliver his election promise and push an expansive fiscal policy. Nonetheless, the rally in stocks and yields lost some steam towards the end of the week after disappointing Q4 GDP data. And Dollar ended mixed. Meanwhile, Sterling ended as the strongest major currency as Supreme Court ruled that prime minister Theresa May's Brexit plan must seek parliament approval. The sale of a new 40 year government bond in UK also attracted record demand, showing appetite for UK assets. Meanwhile, Yen ended as the weakest one as BoJ stepped up its asset purchases to cap the rally in JGB yields.
Euro surged broadly last week and led European majors higher on expectation that pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron will have an easy win in French presidential election this Sunday. Traders seemed to have ignored the news about hacking attack on Macron's campaign. With 20 pt lead over EU-sceptic far-right Marine Le Pen, there should be enough safety margin for Macron. The focus is now on the reactions in that markets on the results during the initial part of next week. As Macron's win should be well priced into the markets, there is prospect of a setback in Euro after the facts. However, judging from the strength in European indices, it's believed that there is solid underlying optimism in the European economy. And, strategy could indeed be "buy-pull-back" rather that "sell-on-news".
Dollar ended last week as the weakest currency as markets took Fed Chair Janet Yellen's testimony as a dovish one. Traders further pared back bet on a rate hike in September. And the development was accompanied by surge in stock indices to record highs. Canadian Dollar ended as the second strongest as lifted by BoC rate hike and rebound in oil prices. But it was outshone by Australian dollar which soared on iron ore prices. Sterling followed as markets continued to adjust their expectations on a near term BoE hike after central banker comments. Euro and Swiss Franc followed Dollar as the weakest ones ahead of ECB meeting this week. Meanwhile, Yen traded mixed as focus is turning to BoJ meeting.
There wasn't a unified theme in the forex markets last week. Movements in the major currencies were driven by different factors. But a trend to note is that markets attentions were generally back to central banks, from politics. The divisions in Fed and BoE boards were very apparent and showed that the overall policy stances of both central banks could be shifting. Euro was mixed as it's awaiting economic data to push ECB officials to recede from being too dovish. Meanwhile, Canadian Dollar failed to extend the BoC inspired rally as rate hike bets cooled after tame inflation readings. The extended rout in oil price also added some weight to the Loonie and Aussie. New Zealand Dollar, on the other hand, ended as the second strongest one, next to Swiss Franc, on a mild RBNZ hawkish turn.
US stocks soared to new record high last week on resurgence of talk of president Donald Trump's expansive policies. In particular, bulls regained control after Trump said he would announce "phenomenal" tax reforms within two or three weeks. DJIA closed the week up 197.9 pts, or 0.99% at 20269.37. S&P 500 gained 18.7 pts or 0.81% for the week to close at 2316.10. NASDAQ rose 67.4 pts or 1.19% to close at 5734.13. All three major indices closed at record highs. The developments helped lift treasury yield from intra-week selloff. 10 year yield closed at 2.409 after dipping to 2.325, comparing to prior week's close at 2.491. Dollar was given a boost and ended as the second strongest major currency, next to Sterling. The Dollar index closed at 100.71, up from prior week's close at 99.73. Fed chair Janet Yellen's testimony to Congress will be a major focus this week. But Trump's tweets and any economy-related announcements will be the things that move markets.
Geopolitical tensions somewhat took a back seat last week. The headlines were filled by news of UK snap election, French election, and to a lesser extent US tax reform. Sterling ended the week as the strongest major currency after boosted by the news of snap election and prospect of a "softer" Brexit. Euro survived the terrorist attack in Paris and French election uncertainties to end as the second strongest one. Dollar ended the week mixed as markets seemed not too convinced by news of Trump administration's tax reform. Meanwhile, Canadian Dollar ended as the weakest one as dragged down by WTI crude oil's sharp fall and break of 50 handle. The result of French election on Sunday will be the first market mover this week.