Wall Street continued to make new highs despite thin liquidity, with the DJIA gaining 0.35%, the S&P500 gaining 0.37% and the NASDAQ 100 finishing up 0.33%. However, Asian equities could not follow the lead as we saw the late afternoon drop in crude weigh heavy on energy stock, dragging down equities in the region. Though Chinese stocks found some ground to push higher on the back of better than expected industrial data, the Nikkei 225 failed to close in the green, snapping a 7-day rally as a strengthening JPY pulled exporters lower.
In FX, the USD has come off its best levels as we see the USD index back at the 101 levels on the back of profit taking ahead of the weekend and a cautious tone entering the markets as we enter NFP week, which has a host of US release prior to the big finally. With the FED stating, several times, that they are vigilant of economic data and will act accordingly if data continues to show an improved US economy, the USD will continue to be sold off on a bleak outlook but will be quick to bounce to its highs in the back of positive data as bulls will reenter at relatively cheaper prices.
In commodities, gold came just shy of the 1200 mark as bears reentered the game to keep the precious metal subdued below the all-important 1200 handle. Gold will also remain sensitive to US data, with good news resulting in the precious metal falling further as the probability of a rate hike lures investors from the inflation hedge of gold. On the other hand, should we see discouraging data out of the US, gold might tick higher as risk sentiment sours.
Crude oil is the mover and shaker at the moment as we see the much touted OPEC meeting cumulating on Wednesday. Crude has lost more than 5% in two days as oil producers begin to squirm, changing their stance on a must have output freeze. Saudi Arabia, put the deal in doubt after choosing not to meet with non-OPEC members and stating that the global economy is changing and that a cut in supply is not needed as an increase in global demand will pick up the slack, pushing prices higher. Markets will be vigilant for any data which affects the output levels, with news which supports the output cut likely to see the commodity move higher while news putting it in doubt will see the commodity sell off aggressively.