The DAX index is slightly lower in the Friday session. Currently, the DAX is at 13,018.00, down 0.22% on the day. On the release front, Eurozone Current Account jumped to EUR 37.8 billion, crushing the estimate of EUR 30.2 billion.
The DAX steadied on Thursday, ending a nasty streak of six straight losing sessions. Cyclical stocks have been underperforming, but there was some improvement on Friday from financial and auto stocks. The stronger euro and profit-taking has weighed on the European markets, and it remains to be seen whether the DAX has turned a corner and the upward direction will continue.
The eurozone economy continues to perform well in the third quarter. German GDP accelerated to 0.8%, while Eurozone Flash GPD remained steady at 0.6%. However, inflation remains the fly in the ointment, with levels well below the ECB target of around 2 percent. Weak inflation has kept the ECB cautious regarding its monetary stimulus program. The ECB announced in October that it would chop asset-buying from EUR 60 billion to 30 billion each month, but added that it was extending the scheme until September 2018. Jens Weidmann and other senior policymakers want the ECB to act more aggressively, and have called on the ECB to announce a termination date to its stimulus program. However, Mario Draghi appears in no rush to wrap up the scheme, especially with no inflation pressures on the eurozone economy. With Draghi and Weidmann holding different views on stimulus, it will be interesting to hear both central bank heads speak at the same event on Friday.
Investors are keeping an eye on Washington, where Republican lawmakers are rushing through major tax reform, with an eye on presenting President Trump with a new bill by Christmas. On Thursday, the House passed its version of the tax bill, by a vote of 227-205. This is a significant victory for President Trump, who is yet to sign into law a major piece of legislation in his term in office. However, with the vote largely based on party lines, Republicans will have a tougher battle passing the Senate version of the bill, as the Republicans have a slim majority of 52-48. The tax legislation provides major tax relief and cut corporate taxes from 35% to 20%, and if Congress does enact a new tax code, it will likely spur strong gains in the US and global stock markets.