US: Futures appear sluggish this AM, bucking the trend from the recent sessions. US rail shipping data (AAR) reporting that intermodal traffic up 7.4% over 2010. Confidence numbers for small businesses and economic optimism printed better than expected yesterday while the weekly consumer confidence number disappointed. The market's shrugged off the PBOC rate hike initially, but with more speculation of actions to come and further price rises in commodities, it appears time for a breather. 11.3% gain last week. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak today at the House Budget Committee at 10AM. Expect comments focused on fiscal policy rather than on monetary concerns as he presented last week. We look ahead to tomorrow for initial jobless claims which may add a new perspective on last week's unemployment numbers.
Europe: Reports regarding Weber's future have moved the bund markets this AM, with the supposed Trichet successor possibly going to DB. German Chamber of Commerce (DIHK) forecasts 2011 GDP growth at 3% based upon business surveys. Germany failed to reach consensus on welfare reforms ahead of Friday's parliamentary vote. This seems to be telling of the future approach to EFSF and fiscal unity. German Dec current account €17.6B v €14.0BE, trade balance €11.9B v €12.0BE. UK visible trade balance -£9.3B v -£8.6BE, much of the disappointment likely due to weather.
Asia: PBOC academic advisor stating that the central bank will stick to a gradual approach to tightening despite the recent move. China 7D repo rate opens after the holiday +77bp. Chinese press reporting another hike expected before the end of February. AUD consumer confidence +1.9% v -5.4% prior.
from Brian Yelvington of Knight Capital