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Article | 17 January 2022 | Investments
US large cap indices were weaker once again, with the Nasdaq logging its third consecutive down week. European markets also lost ground, on fears over US rate hikes, as did the TOPIX index in Japan. China’s main indices were pulled lower by reports of refinancing difficulties in the property sector.
Yields on US Treasury bonds slipped gently, and prices rose, as sentiment turned more risk averse. Core Eurozone yields tracked their US counterparts lower. Investment grade credit spreads widened slightly, although new issuance in the banks’ sector was well received. High yield credit traded lower as the week ended, in response to weaker equity markets.
The US dollar lost ground against all majors, while the yen made gains across the board. The euro rose against the dollar only, while slipping back against sterling and the yen.
The oil price continued its recent advance, while European gas prices jumped almost 25% in two days as talks over Ukraine between the US, Nato and Russia collapsed.
Consumer giant Unilever faced criticism from a major shareholder for ‘displaying sustainability credentials’ at the expense of focusing on its business. The perceived ‘purpose’ of Hellmann’s mayonnaise was at the centre of the contention.
US December CPI inflation came in strongly at 7% y/y, prompting futures markets to forecast four interest rate hikes this year.
China’s trade surplus hit record levels in December, as the world’s demand for durable goods remained strong, while domestic demand slipped back.
German Q4 GDP came close to stagnation, leaving the economy still 2 percentage points smaller than before the pandemic, while logging a full year growth rate of 2.7%.
The US Q4 reporting season will begin in earnest, with strong expectations for earnings from the banking sector.
The Bank of Japan meeting is unlikely to bring a change in policy, although its inflation forecast could be moved higher.