Key overnight events:
- The S&P 500 Index retreated 0.2% from its highest close in ten months the previous day. The gauge clawed back declines of as much as 0.5% earlier in the session as gains in utilities and telephone companies countered losses among banks and mining shares. The US dollar strengthened overnight, snapping a four-day drop; the Bloomberg Spot Dollar Index advanced 0.4%
- Crude oil futures expiring in July fell 1.3% to $50.56/bbl, snapping a three-day climb as a rebound in the US dollar overshadowed positive sentiment sparked by a drop in US stockpiles.
- Initial jobless claims in the US last week fell unexpectedly to 264,000 from 268,000; a figure of 270,000 was predicted. Wholesale inventories in April rose 0.6% month-on-month, exceeding the 0.1% rise expected.
- Goldman Sachs’ Chief Credit Strategist Himmelberg commented that the FOMC is likely to respond to recently easing financial conditions with a more robust withdrawal of policy accommodation. He warned that this “Yellen Call”, would likely cap the upside potential for risky assets. He added that Goldman views July’s meeting as “live” and predicts a 40% probability of a hike then. Fed funds futures on Bloomberg are pricing a 20% odds of a hike in July.
- The ECB continued to buy corporate bonds in euros for a second day, embarking on its expanded stimulus program for the region’s flagging economy. According to Bloomberg, purchases included bonds from carmaker Volkswagen AG and notes from tire-maker Continental AG and French mobile company Orange SA. On Wednesday, the central bank bought notes from brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, engineering company Siemens AG, automaker Renault SA and utilities Engie SA and RWE AG.
- Spot 1.3548
- After bouncing off its low of 1.3449 yesterday, USDSGD extended its rebound a further 0.2% earlier today to 1.3553.
- The currency pair is still set for a weekly decline of around 0.2%.
- Spot 0.7413
- AUDUSD extended yesterday’s pullback from the 0.7500 handle, declining a further 0.4% to 0.7407 earlier today.
- 0.7385 was the previous key level and the currency pair should remain supported around that region.
- Spot 1.2738
- USDCAD pared gains after reaching a session of high of 1.2767 earlier, 0.3% higher than its previous day’s close.
- Bank of Canada Governor Poloz said Canada’s exports are at a much higher level than a year ago, citing gains in exports of services and tourism.
- Spot 6.5876
- China markets continue to remain shut today for a national holiday.
- USDCNH rose above the 6.5800 handle, and looks poised for its biggest weekly advance in three months.
- Spot 8.1677
- USDNOK was largely unchanged from its previous close despite a weaker US dollar overnight.
- Bloomberg reported that low oil prices are causing a surge in layoffs in Norway’s oil sector, thus prompting the need for future economic stimulus. Unemployment has risen to 4.7% in March from 3.2% in June 2014 and almost doubled among highly educated workers near its oil capital Stavanger in the year through November 2015.