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World Week Ahead: Trump caution sets in

Tuesday 7th February 2017

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Equities on both sides of the Atlantic weakened, while US Treasuries and gold rose as investors flocked to the perceived safe-haven assets amid concern about the uncertainty created in the first couple of weeks of US President Donald Trump.

“Following the election, the positive shift in sentiment among investors, business, and consumers suggested that the probability of tax cuts and easier regulation was seen to be higher than the probability of meaningful restrictions to trade and immigration,” Goldman Sachs Group economists led by Alec Phillips wrote in note published late last week, Bloomberg reported. “One month into the year, the balance of risks is somewhat less positive in our view.”

US Treasuries rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year note four basis points lower to 2.43 percent.

The latest US economic data slated for release this week include international trade and JOLTS, due Tuesday; weekly jobless claims, and wholesale trade, due Thursday; import and export prices, consumer sentiment, and the Treasury budget, due Friday. 

In the coming days US Federal Reserve officials might offer fresh clues on the pace of interest rate increases, following Friday’s jobs data and last week’s FOMC meeting, with Patrick Harker set to speak today, James Bullard and Charles Evans on Thursday, and Stanley Fischer on Saturday.

Last Friday a Labor Department report showed a higher-than-expected 227,000 increase in US payrolls last month, after a gain of 157,000 in December. Even so, the unemployment rate rose to 4.8 percent, while average hourly earnings increased at the weakest pace since August.

Meanwhile, shares of Tyson Foods slid after the largest US chicken producer said it received a subpoena from the US Securities and Exchange Commission connected to an investigation into collusion with rivals on prices for chicken. 

“We are cooperating with the investigation, which is at an early stage,” Tyson Foods said in a SEC filing. “Based upon the limited information we have, we believe the investigation is based upon the allegations in In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation.”

Tyson Foods shares traded 2.1 percent weaker at US$64.02 as of 11.57am in New York. Earlier in the session the stock rose as high as US$67.14 and fell as low as US$63.22.

The US meat processor also posted quarterly revenue and profit that exceeded expectations, and upgraded its full-year outlook. 

Tom Hayes, chief executive officer of Tyson Foods, declined to share details about the subpoena with reporters on a conference call about the company’s quarterly results, according to Reuters. 

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a 0.7 percent decline from the previous close. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.2 percent, while France’s CAC 40 Index dropped 1 percent, and Germany’s DAX Index shed 1.2 percent.

Over the weekend, France's Marine Le Pen formally began her presidential campaign with a promise to break up the euro if she wins the election in May.

The euro slid 0.5 percent against the US dollar. 

“Euro and oil have decent downside on a Le Pen victory: euro could fall about 10 cents to about $0.98 over a few weeks and oil could decline by 5-10 percent,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note, according to Reuters.

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