Equities at record levels ahead of US payrolls

 

US stocks continue higher

The Middle East confrontation seems to be a distant memory as investors pile back in to equities, powering Wall Street to record levels in trading during the Asian morning. US indices advanced between 0.17% and 0.19%, with the US30 index peaking at 29,043. Other indices in the region were not quite so euphoric, with the Japan225 index slipping 0.02% while China shares fell 0.20%.

Currency markets were mixed and confined to tight intra-day ranges. The Australian dollar made an attempt higher after retail sales data for November beat estimates, but that was quickly given back and AUD/USD is now in the red on the day. The Japanese yen was little changed against the US dollar while GBP/USD was 0.03% lower after UK politicians voted in favour of keeping an 11-month Brexit transition period deadline.

 

Australia’s retail sales surge

Retail sales in Australia jumped 0.9% month-on-month in November, beating economists’ estimates of a 0.4% increase and the strongest expansion since November 2017 with Black Friday sales helping the cause. November’s numbers follow a mere +0.1% gain in October and +0.2% in September. The bulk of the gains were in the clothing, footwear and personal accessory and department store categories.

The much better than expected numbers boosted the Australian dollar temporarily to an intra-day high of 0.6872 versus the US dollar and 75.30 versus the Japanese yen. The AUD/JPY high was the best in a week.

 

AUD/JPY Daily Chart

Source: OANDA fxTrade

 

Payrolls in the spotlight

The US economy probably added 164,000 jobs in December, according to the latest survey of economists, less than the stellar 266,000 recorded in November and below the six-month moving average of 196,000.

Other indicators have been giving conflicting signals, however. The ADP employment change beat forecasts, adding 202,000 jobs versus 160,000 and the highest reading in eight months, but the employment index in the ISM manufacturing PMI report fell in December. It has been on a declining path for the past two months. So maybe a bit of caution on the labour market euphoria may be warranted.

The unemployment rate is expected to remain steady at 3.5% while average hourly earnings are also seen ticking a fraction higher to +0.3% m/m from +0.2%.

 

In addition to the US payroll report, we also get to see the Canadian equivalent. A notoriously volatile series of data, December is expected to show a net change in employment of +25,000 after a 71,200 drop in November. That was the biggest drop since January 2018. The unemployment rate is seen easing to 5.8% from 5.9% despite a slightly higher participation rate of 65.7%.

 

The full MarketPulse data calendar can be viewed at https://www.marketpulse.com/economic-events/

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Source: MarketPulse.com

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Andrew Robinson

Andrew Robinson

Senior Market Analyst at MarketPulse
A seasoned professional with more than 30 years’ experience in foreign exchange, interest rates and commodities, Andrew Robinson is a senior market analyst with OANDA, responsible for providing timely and relevant market commentary and live market analysis throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Having previously worked in Europe, since moving to Singapore he worked with several leading institutions including Bloomberg, Saxo Capital Markets and Informa Global Markets, proving FX strategies based on a combination of technical and fundamental analysis as well as market flow information. Andrew began his career as an FX dealer with NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland in the UK.