Marketmind: Chip stocks cheered while the rest retreat


A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Kevin Buckland

Chip stocks gave Asian equity investors some small bit of cheer to start the week, picking up where Wall Street left off while U.S. yields stayed subdued, which kept a lid on the dollar, too.

But elsewhere, bears were firmly in control.

A lot of that can likely be traced to China, rather than to the Moody’s downgrade to the outlook for the U.S. sovereign debt rating, which investors have taken in stride.

The Chinese consumer has so far refused to ride to the rescue of the world’s second-largest economy. Monthly retail sales data is due on Wednesday but the country’s Singles Day shopping extraganza over the weekend – equivalent to Black Friday sales elsewhere – recorded only meagre growth.

Looking across the region, Japan’s tech-heavy Nikkei managed to keep its head above water, buoyed by gains for its two biggest chip-related shares; Taiwan’s benchmark advanced 0.8%.

But Hong Kong flipped from early gains to a loss of about 0.15%. A sub-index of tech shares remained firmly positive but another of mainland property developers slumped more than 1%.

China’s blue chips fell 0.5%.

U.S. retail sales data is also due on Wednesday, preceded by CPI a day earlier. The figures could be key in helping the Federal Reserve to plot the path ahead for interest rates, including whether another hike is needed.

The Fed’s rhetoric has taken a hawkish turn recently, but markets so far are more focused on the data, particularly the soft non-farm payrolls numbers at the start of this month.

ECB President Christine Lagarde last week said that rates will stay restrictive at least for several quarters. Lagarde deputy Luis de Guindos has his say a little later today, giving the keynote speech to kick off Euro Finance Week.

Elswhere, Bank of England board member Catherine L. Mann will take the podium, after the bank’s chief economist, Huw Pill, said last week its projection that monetary policy will need to remain restrictive for an extended period should not be taken as a promise.

Key developments that could influence markets on Monday:

-ECB’s de Guindos, BoE’s Mann speak

-UK Rightmove house prices

-Sweden SEB housing

-New York Fed consumer expectations survey

(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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