Earnings in focus

The majority of US Q3 earnings have beaten market expectations resulting in a boost to risk appetite and further pressure on the US dollar. At the time of writing, 61 companies have reported earnings in the S&P 500 and an impressive 79% have beaten forecasts according to Thomson Reuters. This week there are plenty of earnings on tap and although a lot of positive news appears to be priced in the overall tone to risk appetite remains positive. This implies a weaker US dollar bias given the strong negative correlation between US equities and the USD index.

Aside from the plethora of earnings there are plenty of data releases on tap this week including housing data in the US in the form of building permits and starts as well as existing home sales. The data will likely maintain the message of housing market stabilisation and recovery in the US. There will also be plenty of Fed speakers this week and markets will once again scrutinize the speeches to determine the Fed’s exit strategy.

Highlights this week also include interest rate decisions in Canada and Sweden. Both the BoC and Riksbank to leave policy unchanged and expect a further improvement in the German IFO in October though at a more gradual pace than in recent months. There will be plenty of interest in the UK MPC minutes given conflicting comments from officials about extending quantitative easing. RBA minutes will be looked at for the opposite reason, to determine how quickly the Bank will raise interest rates again.

The USD index managed a slight rebound at the end of last week but is likely to remain under pressure unless earnings disappoint over coming days. US dollar Speculative sentiment became more bearish last week according to the CFTC IMM data, with dollar bloc currencies including the AUD, NZD and CAD benefiting the most in terms of an increase in speculative appetite. GBP short positions increased to a new record but the rally towards the end of last week may have seen some of these short positions being covered. Overall any recovery in the USD this week may just provide better levels to go short.

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