The main question today is how markets in Asia will respond to the terror attacks in London and the weaker-than expected US jobs report, both occurring at the end of last week when Asian markets had already closed. Interestingly enough, the bleak US employment data did little to dent investor sentiment in the USA at the end of last week. The three key indexes on Wall Street all rose on Friday, moving closely to record highs.
US jobs data, released last Friday (02/06), showed non-farm payrolls increased by 138,000 in May 2017, falling short of expectations at 185,000. Meanwhile, authorities also revised down the April and March jobs data by 66,000 jobs. But despite these weak data the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed higher at the end of last week as markets are increasingly expecting a Fed Funds Rate hike in June. Moreover, the earlier released ADP private sector employment report actually showed 253,000 new jobs in May, which was well above the 185,000 estimated by economists.
The terror attacks in London on Saturday evening (03/06) resulted in at least seven casualties (including the three terrorists) and have been claimed by Islamic State. Although the British pound depreciated (relatively modestly) after these events, we have seen over and over again in the past year that terror attacks are having fewer impact on markets because market participants have become used to the presence of these attacks.
In early Monday trade, Asian-Pacific markets are mixed with benchmark indexes in Japan and Australia in the red, while stocks in South Korea are rising on the breaking news that South Korea's government has just announced a 11.2 trillion won (approx. USD $10.00 billion) fiscal stimulus package to boost jobs. Another factor that (modestly) helps investor sentiment are the slightly higher crude oil prices on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, the World Bank forecasts a modest pickup in growth despite ongoing uncertainties related to monetary policy and trade protectionism. It kept its outlook for 2017 global economic growth unchanged at 2.7 percent (y/y), and 2.9 percent for the following year.
But there is still a lot on the agenda over the next week that could make investors prefer to wait and see. Former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify before Congress following his dismissal by US President Donald Trump, UK voters will go to the polls on Thursday in a tight race (while analysts are divided about its impact on markets), while Australia will have a policy rate decision and the release of Q1-2017 GDP growth this week.