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By: Stuart Cowell
The Yen posted fresh lows as global stock markets hit new record highs, (APPLE, the world’s largest company, moved up over 2% to $308 following good iPhone sales in China) while the likes of the Australian Dollar and many developing-nation currencies rallied. USDJPY, now in its fifth consecutive up day, printed a fresh two-week high at 107.60, which is just 12 pips shy of the seven-month high that was seen in early December. A close over 109.50 today would suggest more upside for the pair next week. AUDJPY lifted to a five-day high and was the best performing pair, moving 0.33% and holding over 75.25, having topped at 75.41 and rolled over from its overbought condition at the London open. EURJPY also rose to an eight-day high.
In stock markets, the MSCI All-Country World Index hit a new record high today, which followed the record highs that the three main US indices and the pan-Europe Stoxx 600 Equity Index saw yesterday. Oil prices remained heavy, some 11% down on the high seen just a couple of days ago, with the US and Iran having stepped back from the cliff edge. News that iPhone sales in China rose 18% y/y in December gave tech stocks a boost, while also boding well for US-Sino relations, with China’s Vice Premier Liu, head of Beijing’s trade negotiation team, travelling to Washington next week to sign the phase-1 trade deal with the US.
Elsewhere in the forex markets, the Dollar has traded mixed, leaving the narrow trade-weighted USDIndex (DXY) net unchanged. EURUSD remained settled in a narrow range near 1.1100. The Dollar lost ground to the Australian currency, with AUDUSD lifting to a two-day high at 0.6882 in what is the pair’s first up day of the year so far. Cable remained below the 1.3100 level, while USDCAD settled just above 1.3050, below the two-week high seen yesterday at 1.3104.
The release of the US December employment report will be a major focus for markets today. Expectations from the monthly Reuters poll have the median increase for NFP set at 164k with a range extending from 125k – 2266k. However, there is potential downside risk from weak producer sentiment, the rise in claims through the holiday period, and a lean ADP jobs path, even though Wednesday’s number was a significant beat at 202K versus expectations of 150k.
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