Choppy stocks end higher as central banks and earnings in focus
* BoJ to hold as market seeks hints on inflation progress to end NIRP
* BoC expected to stand pat, cues on coming cuts eyed
* New Zealand inflation seen slowing, bot not enough for policy easing
* Dow and S&P 500 climb to more new all-time highs
FX: USD took a breather after climbing from below 101 to above 103 in just over two weeks. Prices traded in the red and green before eventually closing marginally higher. Treasury yields pulled back after spiking up above 4.19% on Friday. Since then, the dollar index has dipped below the 200-day SMA at 103.46. Bullish seasonal trends have been helping the greenback. Markets will look towards Thursday’s GDP, which has been consistently underestimated.
EUR had a narrow range trading day with participants awaiting Thursday’s ECB meeting. A hold is certain with officials recently banging the drum about a first rate cut in the summer. There’s a far amount of data too this week including the ECB bank lending survey, PMIs and the German IFO survey.
GBP found a very small bid to get just beyond the middle part of the recent one-month trading range between 1.26 and 1.2828. The only data of real note this week will be the PMIs.
USD/JPY dipped after Friday’s doji candle and last week’s high at 148.80. The 10-year US Treasury yield slid below the 200-day SMA. Eyes are on the BoJ meeting, though there may not be much to rock the boat.
AUD closed near its lows with sentiment mixed between soft Chinese stocks and fresh US record stock index highs. Weaker metals also needed to be added into the mix. The major is toying with the 200-day SMA at 0.6578. Support below here is at 0.6528.
Stocks: US equities extended their record highs with the Dow settling above 38,000 for the first time. The benchmark S&P 500 advanced 0.22% to settle at 4,850. The tech-dominated Nasdaq 100 added 0.09% to finish at 17,330. The Dow Jones outperformed, closing 0.36% higher at 38,001. Nvidia hit fresh all-time highs again and is now severely outbought on several timeframes. Netflix, Tesla, Intel, and Johnson & Johnson are some of the big names reporting this week. Around 16% of the S&P500 companies are releasing their results, with megacap tech stocks like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon next Thursday. Guidance will be crucial to continue supporting the rally.
Asian futures are higher. It was the familiar tale of two markets with the Nikkei 225 again rallying and breaking past 36,500. But Chinese stock markets underperformed again. There was notable weakness in property and tech.
Gold prices are oscillating around the 50-day SMA at $2021. Traders are adjusting positions to reflect a possible delay in the timing of the first Fed rate cut. A near coin toss for the March meeting means gold is rangebound and steady.
Day Ahead Data Focus – BoJ and NZ CPI
The BoJ will keep policy settings unchanged. Although the bank has history in pulling surprises, it seems very unlikely this time. Core inflation has softened, and policymakers reiterated their dovish guidance at the last meeting. The next test for the BoJ is likely to be the Spring wage negotiations and whether they turn in the strongest back-to-back wage increases in decades. Markets will be eyeing the central bank’s statement for clues regarding future policy and if there are any adjustments to members’ projections in the Outlook Report. Major support for USD/JPY sits at 146.07. Last week’s high at 148.80.
New Zealand releases Q4 inflation data. It is expected to post its coolest gain since the early days of the pandemic at 0.6% q/q and 4.7% y/y. This is due to a fall in import prices, while domestic CPI remains strong. The core is likely to be similarly sticky. Markets are pricing in the first RBNZ rate cut by July, with most of a cut by May. Softer data could see NZD/USD break down through the 200-day SMA at 0.6088 and the 50% mark of the late October rally at 0.6092. Next support is 0.6017.