3 Things You Need to Know About the Market Today: Extended Trade Talks, Economic Data Dump, National Emergency
1, Trade Talks to Continue Next Week in Washington
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The news of the day, so far, is clearly the unexpected extension of the current round of trade talks between the US and China. The negotiations will reportedly continue next week in Washington, and that could mean that some kind of formal agreement is already in the works. We expected, at least, and extension of the March 1 deadline, and although the rumors were pointing to that earlier on this week, the current state of the talks is even more positive for bulls.
That said, the mature global risk rally only managed to grind on, with the key markets missing real bullish momentum this week. The S&P 500 yet again hit marginal new recovery highs today, but the MACD indicator is clearly showing weakness, despite the week’s positive new flow, and as the Volatility Index (VIX) hasn’t been confirming the move either, we are sticking to our defensive stance towards equities here.
2, British Retail Sales Beat as US Consumer Confidence on Tap
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While the Great British Pound has been weak amid the continued Brexit-related uncertainty, with the weakening economic numbers also weighing on the currency, British equities have been outperforming in the meanwhile. Today, we had the first major positive economic surprise in a long-time from Europe, as the British Retails Sales Report was much better-than-expected, coming in at 1.0% vs. the consensus estimate of 0.2%.
The FTSE 100 hit its highest level since early October today, boosted by the weakening but still ongoing global risk rally and the weakening currency. Stock investors don’t seem to be concerned by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, despite the apocalyptic forecast by the Bank of England and the anti-Brexiters.
The GBP barely budged following the strong retail sales data, and the GBP/USD pair is near its recent 1-month lows amid the Dollar’s broad push higher. US Industrial Production came in at -0.6% missing the consensus estimate of 0.1% by a wide margin, while the Empire State Manufacturing index was slightly better-than-expected. The day’s most-awaited US report is due to come out after the bell and analysts expect a slight uptick to 93.3 after the huge drop in the measure in December.
3, Dollar on the Verge of Break-Out as Trump to Declare National Emergency
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After some consideration, the President decided to sign the bill on border security that removes the immediate risk of a government shutdown. On the other hand, Mr. Trump will also reportedly declare a national emergency to secure additional funding for the Wall and the Democrats are already considering legal action to fight that decision.
As for the effects on markets, the fact that a second government shutdown is off the table boosted equities and the dollar today. Even though, we don’t think that the Border Wall saga is over and we are likely already deep into the 2020 campaign. With that in mind, we expect a ‘light’ legislative schedule for the coming two years, with the legislative gridlock giving a great chance to the Democrats to tackle President Trump ahead of the elections.
We have been tracking the Dollar’s rebound ever since the Fed meeting, and while the key resistance zone near 97, which roughly corresponds with the support zone between the 1.1250 and 1.13 in the EUR/USD, is still intact, a break-out to new multi-year highs looks more and more likely. The momentum of the short-term move could lead to a major break-out following the lengthy consolidation period, but we could still see volatility in the current trading range due to the several failed break-out attempts in recent months.
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