European equity markets opened the week negatively, with the CAC, DAX and the London benchmark index finishing slightly lower between 0.26% and 0.45%, due to some profit taking following the recent gains across the European markets. The euro managed to climb higher against the US dollar, trading around 1.377 following the fairly strong economic data from the Eurozone.
On the macroeconomic front, German retail sales rose strongly by 1.3% in February, beating analysts’ expectations, while Eurozone’s inflation fell slightly to 0.5% in March versus estimates of 0.6%. In the US, the release of the Chicago PMI was at 55.9 in March compared to 59.05 in February, adding some pressure to the US dollar.
It has been a fairly volatile month for the global equity markets that has come to an end. The geopolitical tensions across Ukraine and Russia dominated the markets, causing fairly nervous trading conditions. However, the euro managed to remain strong, testing a high at 1.3967 against the US dollar in mid-March, verifying the improving market conditions across the European economies.
In the meantime, the softer US dollar has offered some well-needed support to commodity prices.