US Data, Italy Banks, China News Generate Few FX Waves
- Activity in FX and capital markets has cooled as expected - though intensity of the drop may be extreme even for holidays
- A top headline of US consumer confidence hitting a 15-year high and expectations for stock gains soaring, offered little lift
- For market moves this week, watch the critical themes: risk trends, Fed forecasts, China problems, Brexit, etc
We aren't lacking for fundamental sparks; but when there is little oxygen to feed market trend, the event risk comes too little. So far this week, we have already seen significant event risk through the US and Japanese dockets as well as unexpected headlines that tease deeper fundamental currents. Regardless of the fundamental type, the result is the same: limited market movement. In fact, the activity levels on in the market - particularly FX markets - is deflating to extremes even for historical holiday standards. While that may not translate into imminent, critical breakouts much less the beginning of exceptional trends; it will set the stage for an otherwise unsteady market when liquidity fills back out.
On the docket this past session, there were a number of fundamental updates that should be noted even if it didn't result in a massive short-term swing. Top headline was the US consumer sentiment survey from the Conference Board. The confidence report posted a stronger-than-expected jump for the month of December to a 15-year high. That extends a remarkable trend of sentiment and market performance post-election. Has the changing of the political guard truly changed the market landscape, or is this speculative reach in spite of the circumstances? It won't take long into 2017 to register.
Other headlines that keep the market fires burning include: news that the ECB believes the tab for recapitalizing Italy's Monte dei Paschi is significantly higher (8.8 billion euros) than previously anticipated; China's economy had improved through the fourth quarter against evidence of possible capital outflows; and Japanese data showing weakened employment statistics versus spending data. Perhaps the most noteworthy move on the day was from oil. Yet, that percentage move wouldn't measure up to a critical development technically and it lacked for tangible motivation to carry the bulls' conviction.