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The Bank of England


Here are the week’s key events: 

The Federal Reserve meeting is the big event for markets as policymakers offer clues about when the central bank may start cutting rates. Markets have been betting on March for the first cut, but lately investors have pared back their expectations for a move in the spring. The Bank of England is also in action, again with the focus on a possible timeline for rate cuts. Nonfarm payrolls round out the week and tech stocks including Apple, Amazon and Microsoft join in with earnings season on Wall Street. OPEC could host a meeting. 



The week starts in quiet fashion with very little in terms of economic data. Markets may be in a wait-and-see mode anyway with the key FOMC meeting later in the week to dominate the first couple of days’ trading. Investors will also be looking ahead to a busy slate of earnings from big tech stocks, which have been crucial to broader market rally in the last 3 months. 



Aussie retail sales and flash CPI inflation data from Spain are among the early highlights ahead of the JOLTS jobs report from the US, which has been closely watched data set of late and is going to once again be viewed with some importance ahead of the Fed meeting. Microsoft and Alphabet earnings will be crucial to sentiment for the broader equity market. 

Earnings: General Motors (GM), Pfizer (PFE), Starbucks (SBUX), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Snap (SNAP) 



It’s Fed Day! The FOMC is expected to leave interest rates on hold but could signal its intention for when the first cut could come. Markets have cooled on March being the trigger point – fed funds futures suggest a roughly 50-50 chance of cut at that meeting. The reason is partly to do with a resilient labour market and strong retail sales numbers suggesting the economy remains in a good spot. And inflation is not coming down as fast they would like. The latest CPI rose to 3.4% from 3.1% vs 3.2% expected. Core declined to 3.9% from 4.0% vs 3.8% expected. The 6-month annualised rate rose to 3.2% from 2.9% in November. Elsewhere, watch for Australian and German CPI inflation data, Chinese PMI data and the ADP employment report. 

Earnings: Boeing (BA), Mastercard (MA), Novo Nordisk (NVO), Qualcomm (QCOM) 



The Bank of England is expected to keep rates on hold but investors are watching for a change in messaging from the Monetary Policy Committee. Markets have dialled back expectations for rate cuts in 2024 to around 100bps from 150bps amid some pretty tough talk from the Old Lady. The UK’s services sector moved further into growth in January, reducing pressure on the BoE to cut and suggesting the pessimistic consensus for the UK economy may be too gloomy. It also talked up pricing pressures from the disruption in the Red Sea.  CPI inflation rose to 4.0% in December from 3.9%, underscoring the sense that the BoE won’t be in a rush to cut. Also look for Eurozone inflation data, the US ISM manufacturing PMI and weekly unemployment claims data. OPEC may also host a meeting. 

Earnings: Merck & Co (MRK), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Meta Platforms (META) 



It’s Jobs Day! Nonfarm payrolls data has been better than anticipated, pointing to a resilient labour market that does not need the Fed to start cutting anytime soon. The headline NFP rose 216k in December, easily surpassing expectations, whilst unemployment remained steady at 3.7% and wages rose 4.1% from 3.9% in November. Another strong report would indicate the Fed will not be rushing to cut rates – but a lot of the market reaction will depend on what the FOMC said earlier in the week as to sequencing. 

Earnings:  Chevron (CVX), Exxon Mobil (XOM) 

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