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Up and down | Calamatta Cuschieri

Stock markets mixed, oil down and bonds up as expectations shift and political uncertainty rises

calamatta_cuschieri
Calamatta Cuschieri
8 February 2017, 12:34pm
Far-right contender Marine Le Pen is widely expected to go up against one between Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron
Far-right contender Marine Le Pen is widely expected to go up against one between Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron
It was a mixed day in the stock markets, with US equities eking out a small gain after not-so-positive performances in Asia and Europe. The Dow Jones and the NASDAQ hit intraday record highs before falling back, dragged down by energy with crude oil slumping around 2%.

Bond prices rose, underscoring the market’s disappointment that no immediate changes in the US and global monetary policy stance are round the corner after recent central bank meetings. And although earnings in the US seem to be coming in on the better side of things, the absence of concrete evidence of any incoming fiscal expansion kept the markets sidelined.

In Europe the price action was mostly driven by political risk in France, where presidential elections are set to take place this spring. The spread – or difference in yield – between 10-year German and French sovereign paper reached four-year highs as Marine Le Pen unveiled her manifesto. The far-right contender is widely expected to go up against one between Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron, with the latter quickly making up ground in the polls.

Greece again?

Yields on two year paper sold in April 2014 – when Greece made a comeback to the credit markets – rose to almost 10%
Yields on two year paper sold in April 2014 – when Greece made a comeback to the credit markets – rose to almost 10%
Calm down – Greece is not about to default on its debt (just yet, but that wouldn’t be news, would it?). Yields on two year paper sold in April 2014 – when Greece made a comeback to the credit markets – rose to almost 10% as talks on the latest bailout review and consequent ‘unlocking’ of funds seem to be grinding to a halt.

The ‘culprit’ is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is saying Greece won’t meet fiscal surplus targets. The IMF was – and still is – frequently criticised for its assessments dubbed as ‘disconnected from reality’. In this case, the IMF is failing to take into account the toll of reforming the Greek public finances, according to unnamed European Union officials.

If there is to be a break in the talks, one would expect it to be pretty soon. Eurozone finance ministers meet in less than two weeks in Brussels, and 15 March marks elections day in Holland. Reaching a deal after those dates, with the French and German presidential elections looming large, would be a mammoth task.

Say what?

Who you calling a currency manipulator? Bundesbank Governor Jens Weidmann shrugged off accusations by top US trade advisors that Germany was artificially deflating the Euro as “more than absurd.” The European Central Bank’s most notable hawk hit back at the incoming US administration and did not mince his words, adding that the “recent rise in the dollar is likely to be home-made, triggered by the political announcements of the new government.”

Back at ya, bro.

This article was issued by Andrew Martinelli, Trader at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt. The information, view and opinions provided in this article is being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.

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