Markets flat amid delayed US jobs figures
AP and AFPLONDON/HONG KONG -- Financial markets were steady Tuesday ahead of the next round of U.S. corporate and economic news that includes the delayed non-farm payrolls data for September.
October 23, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Because of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government, the payrolls figures weren't published on the first Friday of the month as they usually are. Now that the government is functioning and the U.S. debt ceiling has been raised, investors have a lot of back-data to digest that could have a bearing on when the Federal Reserve decides to reduce its US$85 billion worth of monthly financial asset purchases.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.1 percent at 6,660 while Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent to 8.856. The CAC-40 in France was 0.2 percent lower at 4,270.
Wall Street was poised for a flat opening, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures unchanged.
Of perhaps more interest to investors than the payrolls figures will be the next batch of third quarter corporate earnings. Around 30 percent of the companies listed on the S&P are due to release numbers this week. On tap Tuesday are Delta Airlines, DuPont and United Technologies.
Asian markets were mixed in cautious trading on Tuesday as investors awaited the release of delayed U.S. September jobs data later in the day.
Tokyo rose 0.13 percent, or 19.68 points, to 14,713.25 thanks to the weakening yen, while Sydney climbed 0.40 percent, or 21.3 points, to 5,373.1. Seoul added 0.15 percent, or 3.11 points, to end at 2,056.12.
However, Shanghai fell 0.83 percent, or 18.59 points, to end at 2,210.65 and Hong Kong lost 0.52 percent, or 122.16 points, to end at 23,315.99
“Market participation levels are likely to remain low until data can help confirm the state of the U.S. economic recovery,” said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities.
With last week's global rally — fuelled by the U.S. deal to reopen the government after 16 days and avert a devastating default — out of the way, attention has turned back to economic numbers, with the non-farm payrolls figures in focus.
They had been due out at the beginning of the month but were put off because of the U.S. government shutdown. Traders will pore over them for clues about the state of the U.S. economy.
However, Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management, said there would likely be a cautious reaction to a strong report because it predates the shutdown, which likely depressed hiring.
She added that if jobs growth misses expectations, “the dollar could be in even more trouble because October payrolls are expected to be much weaker.”
Economists say there is a good chance the US Federal Reserve will delay winding down its stimulus program — which depressed the value of the dollar — until possibly the new year.
Gold cost US$1,313.90 at 1048 GMT compared with US$1,315.41 on Monday.