As European equity markets closed out last week with their biggest weekly fall of the year, an eventful first quarter is coming to a close.
Keep in mind that while BofA Merrill Lynch notes that U.S. equity funds suffered $ 44 billion in outflows so far this year compared to last year-making it the worst start to the year since 2009-Europe’s equity markets have been benefiting.
The U.K.’s FTSE (FTSE International: .FTSE) (finally) went through 7,000 and is up around 5 percent so far this year-albeit held back by oil and commodity stocks. Meanwhile, the German DAX (XETRA: .GDAXI) went through 12,000 so quickly that we almost didn’t even notice 11,000, clocking up a gain of around 25 percent this year.
On top of those, the French CAC (Euronext Paris: .FCHI) and the Italian MIB (FTSE International: .FTMIB) are both up more than 20 percent on the start of the year and the Spanish IBEX (Mercado Continuo: .IBEX) is up some 12 percent.
Not too shabby if you’re long Europe-of course much of the help coming from the euro (Exchange: EUR=), which dropped to a multi-year low of $ 1.0494 after the ECB’s magnificent bond-buying implementation.
Wildcard oil, which has fallen so much that it has both been stimulating economies and keeping inflation not above a floor, but on the floor, suddenly bounced by $ 10.
It seems that China has taken advantage of the cheap oil prices and been filling up its oil reserves and is almost done with this exercise. Also, the disturbing news of Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen is leading to a premium priced into the commodity (New York Mercantile Exchange: @CL.1).
Regarding China, keep an eye on the PBOC. The Chinese Central Bank governor gave a speech over the weekend where he indicated policymakers had to fight possible disinflation, and he hinted that they could act again to support the world’s second largest economy.
This week, more Greek discussions will take place. While many of us may be quite out-Greeced, April will be important as Athens is said to run out of money April 20 unless it secures new funds. The country badly needs to stick to reforms at this stage, or it could face (this time, seriously) having to exit the euro zone.
As usual, minutes from the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank will be closely watched, with Yellen set to speak before we have the big reveal of Friday’s non-farm payroll numbers. Capital Economics is looking for a gain of 290,000 jobs, following the average of the last six months, and they foresee a further slight drop in the actual unemployment rate from 5.5 percent to 5.4 percent.
Most economists are still expecting the Fed to hike rates in June, although the dovish Chicago Fed President, Charles Evans, reiterated last week: “There is no compelling reason for the Fed to tighten-they should wait until 2016”.
In the U.K., we’re in the run-up to May’s General Election. Look out for the debate of seven on Thursday: David Cameron (Cons), Nick Clegg (Lib Dem), Ed Milliband (Labour), Natalie Bennett (Green), Nigel Farage (UKIP), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) and Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru).
We get a reading on the Japanese economy too with the release of the Japanese Tankan business survey.
More From CNBC
- CNBC.com News Page
- CNBC.com Blogs Page
- CNBC.com Earnings Central
- Market Movers
- Australia International News