In the pre-opening, the European markets traded in downward trajectory, reflecting the behavior observed in Wall Street. The Fed’s interest rate hike is expected to be the main theme of today’s session, with the market looking forward to the late-afternoon speech by the President of the Central Bank. In terms of results, the highlight goes to the largest advertising agency in the world, WPP, as well as to the London Stock Exchange.
The North American market ended lower, penalized by the performance of the financial sector. The positive was Snap’s initial public offering, which owns the Snapchat social networking platform. The company’s shares rose more than 40% to more than 17 $ per share as a result of the transaction. In terms of economic indicators, the number of weekly claims for unemployment benefits has fallen to the low of the last 44 years last week, continuing to point to a strong labor market. This indicator decreased by 19 000 to 223 000 in the week ending 25 February (vs. 243 000 expected), thus reaching the lowest since March 1973. This figure, combined with the indicator published on Wednesday on price developments, place greater pressure on the Fed to consider raising the benchmark interest rate already at the March meeting. In fact, the PCE inflation rate (consumer-linked inflation) in January reached 1.90%, although the measure preferred by Central Bank to assess the progress of prices, PCE core (excluding the most volatile components such as food and energy), remained below 2% at 1.70%. Today’s main event is Janet Yellen’s speech in Chicago (scheduled for 6:00 pm), after some interventions by Fed members in recent days, as well as after the release of economic data of weight (such inflation) and the long-awaited speech of Donald Trump before Congress.
The fall of the market on Wall Street ended up impacting Asian markets that ended today’s session in negative territory. Investors’ attentions focused primarily on the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. In South Korea, the market was under pressure from the country’s tensions with China.