European equity markets fluctuated strongly in today’s session as mixed manufacturing PMI data from the US, Asia and Eurozone failed to provide clear direction. The CAC, IBEX and London equity benchmark rebounded from earlier losses and ended on positive territory. In the US, the Dow Jones index recovered from early losses and climbed higher despite the tepid economic figures.
On the macroeconomic front, US personal income increased 0.3% in December compared to a 0.4% rise in November, while construction spending rose slightly 0.4% against analysts’ expectations of a 0.7% increase. Furthermore, Markit manufacturing PMI increased to 53.9 in January beating estimates of 53.7. In Eurozone, Markit manufacturing PMI was unchanged at 51.0 in January, while UK manufacturing PMI increased unexpectedly to 53.0 in January beating analysts’ expectations of 52.7. On the other hand, China’s HSBC manufacturing PMI remained below the key level of 50 after declining to 49.7 in January compared to 49.8 in December, missing analysts’ expectations.
The euro edged higher and held around 1.1350 against the US dollar today, despite the ongoing uncertainty regarding Greece’s economic prospects. It seems that the solid manufacturing PMI data in Eurozone supported the European currency and offered upside momentum.
Crude oil prices climbed higher today, with Brent front month futures breaching $54 per barrel while WTI front month futures rose above $48 per barrel. Following a strong rebound in the oil market on Friday, crude oil continued to post renewed gains today amid hopes that global oil demand could increase in the first half of 2015.
Precious metal prices remained under pressure. Gold retreated nearly 0.9% towards $1270, while silver declined over 0.35% to retest $17. In base metals, aluminium and copper extended gains today, supported by a softer US dollar. Copper edged higher and traded above the key level of $5,500, while aluminium edged higher towards $1,870.