In particular, results from “Super Thursday” were well received, where shares of Alphabet, Amazon, Intel and Microsoft all pushed higher. The dollar index, a measure of the dollar against a basket of peers, moved higher this week by 1.25%, and is trading at 94.87.
As of 12pm London time, the US S&P 500 is down 0.58%, the EuroStoxx 50 is up 1.53%, UK FTSE All Share is marginally lower returning -0.19%, whilst Emerging Markets fell 1.03%. The Japanese Topix had a strong week up 2.33 %.
The focus of the week however, was on the ECB (European Central Bank) policy meeting on Thursday. Lately, the ECB had been under greater expectations on their loose monetary policy, and these expectations were largely met yesterday. The bank announced that it would still extend its bond buying programme until at least September next year, however it will halve the amount of assets it purchases each month from €60 billion to €30 billion a month. Interest rates remained unchanged.
On the back of the announcement, the Euro fell 1.4% on the day to trade at $1.1651, its lowest point against the dollar since late July. The currency has remained marginally lower at $1.1626 as of 12pm London time.
Meanwhile in the UK, economic data has been mixed. In the middle of the week, preliminary estimates revealed that Q3 GDP had risen 0.4%, ahead of economists’ expectations.
Sterling jumped on the news and furthermore, given the more positive data, investors now strongly expect the Bank of England to make an interest rate rise at its next Monetary Policy Committee.
On a relatively more worrying note however, according to the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) monthly survey, UK retail sales have suffered their sharpest monthly decline since 2009. The squeeze on retailers has been attributed to stagnant wage growth, whilst inflation has been trending up over the past year.
Earlier in the week, Japanese markets got off to a strong start as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was re-elected with a clear majority in parliament.
The Prime minister had called a snap election over a month ago and now his party is set to be able to continue its current economic programme. The Yen weakened to nearly ¥114 per dollar, on the prospect of continued monetary easing. Elsewhere, in China, the 19th Communist Party Congress continued this week as the Party announced its new line-up of its elite decision-making committee on Wednesday. Most importantly however, it was widely observed that for the first time in over 15 years, the Communist party did not designate a potential successor to the party’s premier. This therefore, opens the door for Premier Xi Jinping to rule beyond his second term ending in 2022.
US 10 year Treasuries (10 Year US Government Bond) lost -0.48% of its value over the week, after speculation that President Trump could announce a more hawkish replacement for the Chair of the Federal Reserve, when the current chair’s term expires in February. It is expected that the President will pick the new Fed chair before November 3rd. Yields which move inversely to prices, hit 2.475%, its highest level for seven months. It has since eased back to 2.46%.
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