Building on Monday’s gain of 1.0% by the Dow and 0.3% by the S&P 500, US index futures are up 0.1% to 0.4% with the NASDAQ playing catchup from its 0.25% decline Monday to lead the way today. In Europe today, the Dax is up 0.9% while the FTSE is flat.
Signs that the monetary tightening campaign of the last year may be nearing completion continues to encourage investors. Overnight, the Reserve Bank of Australia paused its interest rate hike program as had been widely expected. Tonight, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to hike its overnight rate by 0.25% to 5.00%. The RBNZ was the first central bank to start raising rates and has remained one of the lead hawkish dominoes over the last year. Because of this, investors may look to the RBNZ decision and commentary for hints as to whether they are ready to pause or plan to keep going for an indicator of what the Fed may do this spring, particularly after yesterday’s North American Manufacturing PMI reports disappointed.
Today is otherwise quiet for economic news except for US Factory Orders (street -0.5% vs previous -1.6%) which are due at 10:00 am EDT. Tomorrow, ADP payrolls (street 200K vs previous 242K) kick off three days of North American job and wage inflation reports which continues with Canadian employment on Thursday and US Nonfarm Payrolls on Friday. Commodities are on the rise again this morning with WTI and Brent Crude Oil both up about 0.9%, and Copper up 0.1%. In currency action, Gold is holding steady just below $2,000/oz while the Pound and Bitcoin are both up 0.6%.