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Market Brief, North America

Risk appetite subsides ahead of Powell appearance

Treasury yields are holding steady and the dollar is firmer as traders square positions going into Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments at Spelman College this morning. The 11:00 webcast will mark Powell’s last appearance before the pre-meeting blackout period begins ahead of the central bank’s December meeting, and should land during a relatively quiet trading day: Canada will report its latest employment numbers in half an hour, and the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing survey is expected to rise to 47.7 in November from 46.7 in the prior month. Mr. Powell seems likely to avoid declaring “mission accomplished” on...

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Uneasy calm prevails ahead of US data

Currency markets are marking time ahead of data that is expected to show US economic activity slowing from the pace set in the third quarter. The October personal income and spending report should show signs of an across-the-board deceleration, with weaker wage growth and increasing consumer restraint translating into softer inflation rates. Increases in the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure – the core personal consumption expenditures index – are seen falling to 0.2 percent month-over-month, down from 0.3 percent previously, and 3.5 percent year-over-year, versus the prior 3.7 percent. This would put underlying inflation pressures on track toward undershooting the central...

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Rate cut bets solidify, pushing global markets higher

Markets are high on rate-cut hopium again this morning, with risk-sensitive assets extending a rally that began yesterday when Federal Reserve Governor Waller set the stage for a policy pivot in early 2024. In a speech and interview, the erstwhile hawk said he was “increasingly confident that policy is currently well-positioned to slow the economy and get inflation back to 2 percent,”—indicating that the central bank’s rate-setting committee was unlikely to raise rates further—before suggesting that a “hard landing” wouldn’t necessarily be needed to prompt rate cuts. If the decline in inflation continues “for several more months… three months, four...

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Dollar steadies amid softer flows

The dollar is trading just above a three-month low and Treasury yields are creeping higher after yesterday’s drop. Benchmark ten-year rates tumbled more than 10 basis points during the session after the government auctioned $109 billion in short-term notes without triggering any turmoil, adding to a weaker-than-forecast new home sales number in convincing investors that markets and the economy are beginning to normalize after a prolonged sequence of unusual developments. The euro is inching lower in early trade, failing to gain traction after Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel tried pushing back against rate cut expectations. “It would be premature to lower...

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Blue Monday follows Black Friday

Markets are kicking off the week on a more cautious footing after Chinese data disappointed relative to expectations, pointing to a stronger disinflationary impulse from the world’s second-largest economy. Industrial profits increased just 2.7 percent from a year ago in October, according to numbers published by the National Bureau of Statistics, down from September’s 11.9 percent and August’s 17.2 percent as global demand weakens and a domestic recovery runs out of momentum. Ten-year Treasury yields are holding near the highest levels in a week, equity futures are retreating, and the dollar is stabilizing as demand for commodity-linked units and emerging-market...

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