European equities had a strong run and are currently about 1% higher

European equities had a strong run and are currently about 1% higher, while US equities take a positive, but cautious start after a batch of mixed financial results.

    Sales at U.S. retailers accelerated in December (0.6% M/M) on the heels of stronger demand for motor vehicles and gasoline, capping a year of improvement for the nation’s merchants. For all of 2016, sales climbed 3.3%, exceeding the 2.3% advance a year earlier. Core sales rose 0.2% last month after little change in November.

    Wholesale prices in the US rose the third time in four months, boosted by increasing fuel costs that are pushing inflation higher throughout the economy. The producer‐price index gained 0.3% M/M in December

    Britain’s more than decade‐low unemployment rate could stay below the 5% mark in the coming years, BoE Saunders has said, defying warnings that joblessness will climb markedly after the UK’s Brexit vote.

    Bank of America reported its biggest annual profit in a decade as its trading business benefited from the uncertainty caused by Trump’s election and the bank continued to slash expenses. But revenue for the latest quarter came in lower than expected. JP Morgan Chase reported a 23.8% rise in quarterly profit, also helped by a surge in investor activity. Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. mortgage lender, reported its fifth straight decline in quarterly profit as it tries to recover from a bogus‐accounts scandal.

    Fragile market conditions, poorly controlled algorithms, and inexperienced staff all contributed to October’s flash crash in sterling, global policymakers have concluded, with the Bank for International Settlements urging banks and other market participants to learn from their mistakes.

    Tonight, DBRS updates the Italian rating (AL), Fitch reviews Ireland (A) and Moody’s gives an update on the Portuguese rating (Ba1). On Monday, US markets are closed in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

 

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