European stock markets are heading south, with the Euro Stoxx 50 down. The FTSE 100 is outperforming with a 0.15% gain as Sterling is under pressure. Eurozone peripherals meanwhile are underperforming and the Italian MIB is down nearly -1.0%. Core markets remain at high levels, but it is clear that core markets will need another trigger to lift the FTSE 100 lastingly above 7300 and the DAX lastingly above 11800. Commodity firms tracked declines in oil and metals prices, with WTI down on the day, although still trading above USD 53 per barrel. The correction in Europe followed a broad move lower in Asia. The Topix fell for a second day with car markets and technology companies the biggest drag today. Chinese stocks in Hong Kong dropped and trimmed their second weekly advance with banks snapping a winning streak.
WTI crude prices are off by 0.6%, at $52.10. The revelation of record crude and gasoline inventories this week in the U.S., along with continued signs of rising production in North America, have had a capping influence on the market in the face of OPEC-led supply trimming. Crude prices continue the historically usual path of stability, though sooner or later the volatility associated with this market will assuredly return.
According to Ireland’s central Bank governor Lane, The ECB should continue to be open to rate cuts. Lane stressed that QE is “currently an open ended program”, which ties in with Draghi’s insistence that the cut back in asset purchases from April doesn’t constitute to real tapering, which would entail the intention of a full phasing out of QE.
UK Retail Sales Dropped in January
UK retail sales unexpectedly fell in January data, with the headline figure coming in at -0.3% month over month which was the worst month over month figure since 2011, and 1.5% in the year over year comparison. The median forecast had been for rise of 0.6% month over month and 3.4% year over year. December data were revised lower, compounding the disappointing takeaway from the report, with the month over month figure revised to -2.1% month over month from -1.9%.