US equity futures are unchanged, trading near record highs after digesting a spate of earnings results on Thursday. The dollar pared its weekly loss as the yen and pound slid, while gold headed for its longest slump in three months. European equities fell and markets in Asia were mixed, while markets in China, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam were closed Friday for the start of Lunar New Year. Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore had shortened sessions.
The dollar continued its recovery against a basket of other currencies on Friday, while banks dragged European shares slightly lower following underwhelming results from Swiss major UBS. The two-day recovery comes after the dollar suffered a 4 percent drop in the three weeks from Jan. 3 as doubts emerged about how Trump’s policies will play out for the currency, particularly after both Trump and Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin hinted at concerns over its strength. The yen extended its biggest decline in a week and Japanese bonds rose as the BOJ stepped in to buy more debt than expected. The pound also slid ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting with Donald Trump.
“The (dollar) has experienced a powerful rebound re-establishing post-U. S. election relationships between the performance of risk assets and U. S. bond yields on the one hand and the (dollar) on the other hand,” said Morgan Stanley FX strategists led by Hans Redekker, in a note to clients.
Trump suggested overnight he would push ahead with a 20 percent border tax on Mexico, spurring a slump on the peso and refocusing market expectations on his pro-business policies which, along with healthy corporate results, helped stocks on Wall Street to fresh record highs. However, the peso has since rebounded after the White House backtracked on its border tax proposal, when Sean Spicer said it was only “theoretical.”
On the political calendar, all eyes will be on the upcoming meeting between UK PM Theresa May and Donald Trump today. She will be the first leader to meet the President and a lot of attention will be placed on the outcome. May wants to try to pave the way for a free trade deal with the US post-Brexit and Mr Trump, in spite of his protectionist biases, would probably like to help the UK prosper if for no other reason than to help prove his point that the EU is flawed and the UK is better off outside of it. So although it’s a very early meeting where nothing will be decided it’ll be interesting to hear from the leaders afterwards. Trump’s ability to be confrontational on the global stage was demonstrated yesterday as we saw US-Mexico trade relations continue to grow strained as Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto officially cancelled a planned meeting with Trump as the latter continued to signal intentions of building “the wall” and substantially increasing border security. He said that if the Mexicans had no intention of paying for the wall they should cancel next week’s trip. This is precisely what they’ve done.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 27, 2017.