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Stocks higher as investors welcome cooler-than-expected inflation data in the US & UK; Expectations for rate cuts in 2024 rise

Olusegun Enujowo


European stocks experienced a surge, influenced by positive investor sentiment following cooler-than-expected inflation data in the US and UK. The Stoxx 600 Index is up over 0.65%. In the UK, the GBP weakened as inflation rates showed a larger-than-anticipated slowdown, spurring hopes that the Bank of England might halt further rate increases even as inflation remains way above target. UK consumer prices rose 4.6% YoY in October, a rapid decrease from September's 6.7%; Core inflation cooled more than expected to 5.7% from 6.1%. The focus in Europe now shifts to upcoming US retail sales and producer price reports, with implications for future rate adjustments by the Federal Reserve.

US markets showed optimism, indicated by the US 500's notable gain of close to 2%, its largest since April. US futures are currently up 0.35%. This upward trend is fueled by expectations that the Federal Reserve has finished it's tightening campaign. The 10-year Treasury yield remained stable after a significant drop yesterday. USD showed little change after a considerable decline. US investor sentiment is buoyed by the possibility of a 50 basis-point rate cut by July, as indicated by expectations of swap markets.

Asian markets responded positively, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index jumping over 2%, as all participating markets reported gains. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong lead the gains with a 3.71% increase followed by Japanese equities which saw an increase of over 2.5%. In China, the Chinese central bank's decision to infuse significant liquidity into the banking system since 2016 bolstered market confidence, aiding growth prospects. This was further supported by mixed economic recovery signs, such as retail sales outperforming estimates. The Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting with US President Joe Biden is keenly observed for potential easing of geopolitical tensions.

Gold prices edged higher trading at  $1,971/oz (up 0.4%), benefiting from the sharp decline in US Treasury yields driven by the latest inflation data and expectations that the Fed is done with monetary tightening. Oil prices remained steady at around $78/barrel, reflecting the market's balancing act between varying supply and demand outlooks.

The market's response to the US inflation data suggests a near 100% belief that the Federal Reserve is at the end of its rate hiking cycle. This sentiment has propelled equities, particularly in the US, towards impressive gains driven also by sharply falling US Treasury yields. However, there remains caution among investors, with a focus on upcoming US economic data that could influence the Fed's actions. 

Key events today:   

CNY Industrial Production, Retail Sales, Unemployment Rate - 02:00 UTC+0 (released)

GBP Inflation Rate / CPI, PPI, Retail Price Index - 07:00 UTC+0 (released)

GBP Inflation Rate / CPI - 07:45 UTC+0 (released)

GBP Inflation Rate / CPI - 09:00 UTC+0 (released)

EUR Balance of Trade - 10:00 UTC+0

USD PPI, Retail Sales, NY Empire State Manufacturing Index - 13:30 UTC+0

USD EIA Crude Oil Stock Change - 15:30 UTC+0

USD Balance of Trade - 23:50- UTC+0

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