Summary

Stocks are headed for a mixed start, with trading at the start of this week likely to be subdued as many of the world’s largest markets are shut for holidays.

In the past week, the yen strengthened while crude oil climbed.

Weak signals from Australia are forcing economists to revisit their first-quarter growth forecasts. Some are even suggesting a contraction.

Australia’s track-record in avoiding two straight quarters of contraction since 1991 is on shaky ground. While the economy grew a solid 1.1% in the final three months of last year, it was rebounding from a shock 0.5% decline.

A busy week in terms of data, and as it incorporates the first Friday of the month we have the all important US NonFarm Payroll figure:

USD

The US$ Index closed slightly higher last week.
Tuesday we have Consumer Confidence expected to dip slightly from 120.3 to 120.1.

Thursday we have the usual Unemployment Claims which is estimated to rise from 234,000 to 239,000. This is followed by manufacturing PMI expected at 54.7 from the previous 54.8 and Crude Oil Inventories.

Friday is the big day when we have Average Hourly Earnings anticipated to decline from 0.3% to 0.2%, NonFarm Payroll thought to decline from 211,000 to 186,000 and the Unemployment Rate which is thought to remain steady at 4.4%.

EURO

The EURO closed slightly against the USD last week.
Monday the ECB President speaks.

AUD

The AUD closed down slightly against the USD last week.
Wednesday we have both Private Capital Expenditure and Retail Sales. The former is thought to rise from -2.1% to +0.6% whilst the latter is also thought to rise from -0.1% to +0.3%.

CNY

Two items for the CNY this week.
Tuesday we have both manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMI. The former is expected to decrease very slightly from 52.2 to 52.0.

GBP

The GBP closed sharply lower against the USD.
Two items for the GBP this week.
Thursday we have manufacturing PMI thought to decline from 57.3 to 56.5.
Friday sees the release of Construction PMI also thought to fall from 53.1 to 52.7.

YEN

The YEN was virtually unchanged against the USD last week.
There is no data for the YEN this week.