Weekly Radar: Elections and housing in last big week of 2012

December 13, 2012

So an extra dose of medicine from the Fed on Wednesday helps smother global market volatility further into the yearend — even though naming an explicit 6.5% unemployment rate could well send Treasury bond volatility soaring as the current 7.7% rate likely approaches that level in 2014 just as the Fed low-rate pledge expires. Not a story for early next year maybe, but…

More nose-against-the-windshield, the busy end to this week – with the EU Summit today and December’s flash PMIs tomorrow – makes it difficult to clear the decks yet for yearend — at least not as much as market pricing and volumes would suggest. Moves to some form of EU banking union are already in the mix from Brussels, however, so another plus at the margins perhaps.

And looking back over the past week — who’d have thought we could still be surprised by an upset in Italian politics? It was the only real significant pre-Fed news of the past week and maybe packed more of a initial punch that it warranted as a result. But for all the interest in Monti stepping aside and Silvio’s attempt to return, there was no really big shift in picture already in front of investors. Ok, so the election is now likely in February not March/April and no one wants to write off Berlusconi completely. But he’s still more than 10 points adrift in polls and Monti himself may well stand for PM in the election too. In short, it adds some political risk at the edges, but if you were happy to hold or buy more Italian bonds before this (still a big ‘if’), then all that really changed for investors is they got a better yield at this week’s relatively successful auction.

So, into next week then? There’s plenty of “events” still in the diary – Japan’s election at the weekend, the fiscal cliff deadline on Dec 21, key US housing reports and the UK government’s response to its commission on the future of banking etc. But thin-trading spikes aside, it’s increasingly unlikely investors’ broadly positive tilt going into 2013 will be derailed at this stage. Never say never, but the short-lived reaction to the Italian hiccup says a lot in itself. World stocks are less than one percent from the year’s peaks set in the summer and it would be brave to bet against them setting 2012 highs in the final fortnight given the relative bullishness about next year.

Egypt referendum on draft constitution Sat

Japanese general elections Sun

Venezuela state elections Sun

US Treasury 2/5/7 yr auctions Mon/Tues/Weds

China Nov house prices Tues

UK Nov inflation Tues

Sweden/Hungary/Turkey rate decision Tues

SKorea presidential elections Weds

Japan Nov trade data Weds

German Dec Ifo Weds

UK govt response to Independent Commission on Banking Weds

BoE mins Weds

Norway/Czech rate decision Weds

US Nov housing starts/permits Weds

UK Nov retail sales Thurs

EZ Dec consumer confidence Thurs

US Nov existing home sales/Dec Philly Fed index Thurs

Italy Dec consumer confidence Fri

SNB quarterly monetary policy report Fri




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