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(Kitco News) – World stock markets were mostly weaker overnight, on more profit-taking and technical corrections following recent solid gains. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward slightly lower openings when the New York day session begins. The big data point of the day today will be the U.S. ADP national employment report.
Gold prices are weaker again Wednesday and hit a five-week low. The recent strong greenback and deteriorating near-term chart posture have pressured the yellow metal the past week.
In overnight news, China posted a surprising trade deficit in February-the first time in three years. A surge in imports was blamed. Exports fell 1.3% in February, year-on-year, while imports were up a whopping 38% in February, year-on-year.
There are key economic events late this week. Thursday the European Central Bank holds its regular monetary policy meeting and is likely to give new insight regarding its ongoing quantitative easing of monetary policy.
Arguably the most important economic report of the week is on Friday–the U.S. employment report for February from the Labor Department. The key non-farm payrolls component of the report is forecast to come in at up around 190,000 workers.
The marketplace is also looking forward to next week's FOMC meeting, at which time the Federal Reserve is fully expected to raise U.S. interest rates by 0.25%.
The key outside markets on Wednesday morning see the U.S. dollar index again trading slightly higher. The dollar index is in a price uptrend and has benefitted recently on increasing ideas of a U.S. interest rate hike coming next week. Meantime, Nymex crude oil futures prices are lower early today. Crude prices are still trapped in a sideways and choppy trading range that has been in place for several weeks.
U.S. economic data due for release Wednesday includes the weekly MBA mortgage applications survey, the ADP national employment report, revised productivity and costs, and the weekly DOE liquid energy stocks report.