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The steady growth of the US

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  • Although attention is likely to move to the US side of the Atlantic, there is the release of Italian business confidence data. This is not normally a focal point for markets but there has been heightened sensitivity to such data of late.
  • US consumer confidence figures are due and expected to be relatively strong. The fourth quarter data has been signalling ongoing steady economic expansion. One drag on spending has been the lacklustre pace of household formation - more data on that will come out today too.
  • US durable goods orders are also forecast to be relatively strong. Stripping away the extraneous details, the proxy for capital spending is expected to rise 0.7% as companies seem willing to reverse the trend of recent years and chose to raise the capital to labour ratio a bit.
  • Japanese retail sales were relatively good overnight, with a 2.7% yoy rate of growth (the effects of the consumption tax increase are included in the nominal figures, of course). The big ticket items subcomponent was less healthy at 0.5%.

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