US equity markets closed the final trading session of Q1 slightly weaker as investors digested a raft of macroeconomic data for the world’s largest economy which came in slightly softer than expectations.
Accendo Markets Analyst, Mike van Dulken commented – “The Dow Jones and S&P 500 both closed lower as Financial stocks lagged on both indices, while oil company ExxonMobil also weighed on the former. The Nasdaq also closed weaker, the tech-focused index outperformed its peers finishing just shy of flat.”
The FTSE 100 looks set to start the month the way it ended March – smack bang in the middle of its 7300 to 7400 trading bracket. The UK index barely moved after the bell, shrugging its way to a 10 point loss. Sterling was no better, though the currency did manage to remain just the wrong side of 1.255 against the dollar and at an effective one month high against the euro.
Spreadex Analyst, Connor Campbell noted – “April hits the ground running this Monday, with the markets kicking off the second quarter with a glimpse at Q1’s final manufacturing PMIs. The UK’s first quarter manufacturing figures have by and large been strong, with January’s 55.9 followed by an admittedly sharper than expected drop to 54.6 in February. Analysts are forecasting a rebound to 55.1 for March, though those estimates haven’t exactly been on the money in the last few months.”
On the Eurozone, Campbell suggested – “The Eurozone indices have been far livelier than their UK counterpart this morning, with the CAC and DAX rising 0.2% and 0.4% respectively. The German index’s early climb leaves it just 50-ish points away from 12400, and therefore within striking distance of a fresh all-time high. Whether or not the DAX can ascend to a new record peak may be dependent on the state of the Eurozone manufacturing PMIs; the German figure is set to be confirmed at 58.3, its best level in nearly 6 years, while the region-wide reading is forecast to creep a smidge higher, from 53.4 to 53.5 month-on-month.”
On the key focus for the week ahead, van Dulken added – “This week will be all about reappraisal of the Trump trade into the new quarter and whether sufficient optimism and momentum remains given the event risk associated with this week’s meeting between Chinese President Xi and Trump, Fed minutes this Wednesday and the US Jobs report on Friday. Oh, and all the political risk build up to the end-month first round of the French Presidential election and any further developments on the Brexit negotiation front.”