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Caution ahead of Powell and OPEC

3 March 2021

Trading was consolidative and quiet Tuesday as the markets took stock of recent activity. A lack of fresh catalysts also limited action. There was some late jostling in stocks after Texas announced it is opening up the state economy 100% and removing the mask mandate.

The US Government suggested that vaccinations could be rolled out quicker than initially expected and the Fed’s Brainard indicated that volatility in bond markets could further delay the turnaround on asset purchases.

Stock markets moved broadly higher, leaving the JPN225 and ASX up 0.5% and 0.8% respectively at the close, while the Hang Seng and CSI 300 are currently posting gains of 2.2% and 1.6% respectively. GER30 and UK100 futures are up 0.5% and 0.6% respectively and US futures are also broadly higher, with a 0.8% rise in the USA100 leading the way. Vaccine optimism and the push back from central bankers against the rise in yields has helped to stabilise sentiment and ease concern over cliff edge scenarios on growth.

Optimism on the outlook remains very supportive, especially with more vaccines on the way and another big stimulus injection on the horizon. Recent data are supporting that point of view with many revising up Q1 and 2021 growth projections. Treasuries have stabilized too which has helped calm jitters regarding the bearish impacts on stocks from rising rates, and worries inflation pressures will pick up and cause the FOMC to pullback accommodation sooner than expected.

Forex Market

Today: Calendar includes final readings for Eurozone and UK services PMIs for February, which are expected to confirm levels in contraction territory as the sector remains depressed by virus measures. UK Chancellor Sunak will present his budget proposal today, with reports already out indicating that furlough measures will be extended until September, although the Chancellor also seems eager to find ways to finance crisis measures. Also on tap are the ISM Services for February for the US along with ADP employment data.


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