The ECB and Bank of England both made no changes to their
benchmark interest rates earlier today, as had been expected. ECB
President Mario Draghi said in his usual press conference following
the meeting that he expects rates to stay low for an extended
period and that growth risks remain on the downside. Lastly, he
said that the ECB stood ready to act if money-market conditions
tightened, or if the danger of deflation became imminent.
US equities opened the day with a sharp sell-off; the
(INDEXSP:.INX) was down as much as 7.5 points. However, some buyers
appeared later in the session, bringing the benchmark index back
near unchanged for the day. Telecom-sector stocks were the worst
performers for the second day in a row, mostly due to concerns that
the major wireless vendors are about to enter a price war.
Weekly jobless claims fell to 330,000 in the prior week, slightly
better than the 335,000 estimate. The 4-week moving average moved
down to 349,000 after the prior week's 358,800. However, due to the
recent holiday season, weekly claims figures remain volatile.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures fell to their lowest
level in seven months this afternoon, breaking multi-year support.
Global commodity indices will begin their annual rebalancing next
Wednesday. Indices will need to sell $2.8 billion of crude futures
and buy $2.7 billion of brent crude in this year's rebalancing.
Natural gas inventories fell by 157 billion cubic feet in the past
week, according to the EIA. Analysts had been expecting a range of
-154 to -159 bcf. Natural gas futures fell 4.3% at the close of
floor trading. Most traders had been waiting to see how strong the
inventory figure would be. Because it wasn't a blowout, many looked
to exit positions.
) unofficially got the fourth-quarter earnings season started today
after the close. The company reported EPS of $0.04 vs. estimates of
$0.06, but beat earnings solidly at $5.585 billion vs. estimates of
$5.34 billion. The company wrote down $1.7 billion in goodwill,
which hurt its bottom-line results, and it sees 2014 global
aluminum demand growth at 7%. The stock traded down more than 3% in
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Tomorrow morning, the Labor Department will release December 2013
nonfarm payrolls growth. Economists are expecting net growth of
197,000 payrolls in the month, and that the unemployment rate will
remain unchanged at 7.0%. Because of the strong ADP private
payrolls report yesterday, the market is well prepared for the
nonfarm payrolls report to beat expectations.
Canada will also release its monthly employment change at the same
time as the US. The UK will release manufacturing and industrial
production data as well as construction output data for November
2013. Lastly, in the UK, NIESR will release its December 2013 GDP
There are no major earnings reports scheduled for tomorrow.