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World Week Ahead: Eyes on US consumer

World Week Ahead: Eyes on US consumer

By Margreet Dietz

June 9 (BusinessDesk) - The American consumer is expected to confirm the picture of a US economy gathering momentum in its recovery.

A report due Thursday is expected to show retail sales in the world’s biggest economy climbed 0.6 percent in May, accelerating again from a 0.1 percent gain in April, according to a Reuters survey.

The latest US government jobs data, released on Friday, bolstered optimism that the pace of recovery is sustainable. Employers added a net 217,000 workers in May, following a revised 282,000 in April, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent.

“The US economy remains the main locomotive for the global economy still,” Pierre Mouton, who helps oversee about US$8 billion at Notz, Stucki & Cie in Geneva, told Bloomberg News. “In my view, the US economy is stronger than most forecasters maintain.”

And that’s a good thing as there were fresh signs of weakness in the world’s second-largest economy. There was a surprise drop in imports to China in May, General Administration of Customs data showed on June 8.

While Chinese exports rose 7 percent in May from a year earlier, up from a gain of 0.9 percent in April, imports fell 1.6 percent, following an increase of 0.8 percent the previous month.

"While the export data is reasonably positive, the weakness of domestic demand implied by the import data may keep the pressure up for initiatives to support growth," Louis Kuijs, an RBS economist in Hong Kong, said in a note, Reuters reported.

Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.2 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 1.3 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite index gained 1.9 percent. Both the Dow and S&P 500 ended Friday on record closing highs.

So far in 2014, the Dow has added 3.2 percent, the S&P 500 has increased 6.4 percent, and the Nasdaq has advanced 4.1 percent.

Other clues on the state of the US economy will arrive in the form of the NFIB small business optimism index and wholesale trade, due Tuesday; the Treasury's monthly budget report, due Wednesday; weekly jobless claims, import and export prices, as well as business inventories, due Thursday; and the producer price index and consumer sentiment, due Friday.

Today, three US policy makers may offer fresh views on the outlook. St Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard will talk on economy and monetary policy in Palm Beach, Florida, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo will speak on corporate governance in Washington, while Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren will discuss monetary policy at a Bank of Guatemala conference in Guatemala City.

This week, the US Treasury is scheduled to sell three-year notes on Wednesday, 10-year bonds on Thursday, and 30-year bonds on Friday. Investors dumped US Treasuries on Friday as the jobs data suggested an economy in better-than-expected shape, lessening the appeal of fixed-income securities.

Last week, the Stoxx 600 rose 0.9 percent as the European Central Bank announced fresh stimulus measures including a decision to adopt a negative deposit rate on funds it holds on behalf of the region’s banks to bolster lending to businesses.

Germany’s DAX ended the week at a record closing high of 9,987.19, after rising above 10,000 for the first time earlier in the week. The performance of the German stock market since the 2011 Greek debt crisis sent it into a tailspin has been nothing short of remarkable.

“Back in September 2011, no one would have thought that the DAX would double and exceed the 10,000 mark in less than three years,” Ralf Zimmermann, an equity analyst at Bankhaus Lampe, told Bloomberg News. “This shows the strength of the German economy and its companies.”

In the coming days reports on the region include euro-zone Sentix investor confidence, due Monday, Germany’s wholesale price index and euro-zone industrial production, on Thursday, euro-zone employment and trade balance, as well as German CPI, due Friday.


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