US traders return from their long weekend today to find equities down slightly and commodity action mixed. US index futures are all down about 0.2%, while in Europe, the Dax is flat and the FTSE is down 0.3%. The US 10-year treasury note yield has crept up to 3.55%, and the US Dollar is gaining ground, up 0.4% against Gold.
Commodity market action is mixed. Energy contracts are on the rise with WTI Crude Oil up 0.75% and back above $80.00/bbl, while Natural Gas is soaring 9.75% on forecasts of falling temperatures in some regions. Metals are in the red, however, with copper down 1.4%. Overnight, China reported better than expected Q4 GDP (2.9% vs street 1.8%), retail sales (-1.8% vs street -7.8%), and industrial production (1.3% vs street 0.5%).
Earnings season resumes this morning with mixed results. Morgan Stanley beat expectations ($1.31 vs street $1.25, up 1.0% premarket) boosted by its Wealth Management division. Goldman Sachs fell short of expectations ($3.32 vs street $5.48, down 1.7% premarket), due to a drop off in its investment banking business. Results from United Airlines are due after the close today.
Canada Housing Starts were worse than expected in December (249K vs street 259K). Canadian Consumer Prices (6.3% in line vs previous 6.8%) indicated inflation pressures continue to ease as expected. Core Canadian CPI, excluding food and energy, was significantly better than expected (5.4% vs street 6.1% and previous 5.8%). Over in Europe, UK average earnings continued to increase (6.4% vs previous 6.1%), indicating that wage inflation remains problematic.