Overnight Markets + Unemployment Watch

Lou Brien |

Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. The Nikkei fell 1.3% and Shanghai was off 0.6%, but Australia was flat and the Hang Seng added a half percent. European indexes are mostly higher this morning, the Footsie for instance is up a half percent, but the Dax is an exception, it is unchanged at the moment. US stock futures are just slightly higher as I write.

*The Reserve Bank of Australia expressed qualified optimism in its quarterly statement on the economy. On the one hand inflation is low and that could mean even easier policy may prove necessary, also the outlook for China is uncertain, but the domestic story is not so bad, in part because “there has been a noticeable improvement in labor market conditions that was not anticipated at the time of the previous statement.”

*The December reading of Australian Retail Sales was unchanged on a monthly basis, but was expected to be up 0.4%.

*The December reading of German Factory Orders is -0.7% month on month, two tenths worse than forecast.

*The January reading of Canada’s Unemployment Rate is due out at 7:30am CST, it is expected to be steady on the month at 7.1%. Additionally the net change in Employment is forecast to be +6.0k.

*The January reading of the Employment Situation Report is due out at 7:30am CST. The Unemployment Rate is expected to be unchanged from the month before at 5.0%; the net change in total Nonfarm Payrolls is forecast to be +190k, while the estimate for the private sector payrolls is +180k. The forecast for Average Hourly Wages is +0.3% on the month and +2.2% on the year and the Average Work Week is expected to be steady from the month before at 34.5 hours. Also due out at 7:30am is the December reading of the US Trade Balance, the estimate is for a deficit of $43.2 billion. At 2:00pm CST the Fed will release the December reading of Consumer Credit, it is expected to be up $16.0 billion.

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