US stocks were higher last week. So was Europe and UK while Asian stock markets were mixed.
In the US, both Services and Manufacturing PMI data (Purchasing Managers Index) came in above expectations and above 50, indicating expansion. The US Manufacturing print was a 15-month high. Another US data point last week that surprised to the upside was fourth-quarter GDP growth which came in at 3.3% annualised; with 2% forecasted. The market lowered the expectations of a March rate cut to 40% (was above 60% just a week ago) and the US Dollar index rose to a six week high.
The UK Manufacturing PMI also came in above forecasts, rising to a 9-month high of 47.3 in January. The Bank of England is expected to keep rates on hold when it meets on Thursday.
This coming week will keep investors busy with the Fed meeting and the usual press conference conducted by Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, on Wednesday. We also have major tech companies reporting earnings, starting with Alphabet and Microsoft on Tuesday, and Apple and Amazon on Thursday. The week will end with the US jobs report which will be closely watched for clues as to the Fed’s next move.
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