Equities edged higher last week as the markets historic rally extended into the first week of December. Despite a marked slowdown in hiring that was revealed in the November jobs report, all major U.S. indexes reached record highs by Friday, reflecting expectations for additional fiscal stimulus. The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 6.7% from 6.9% in November, but the participation rate also declined, indicating that more people exited the labour force. While the declining unemployment rate is encouraging, 6.7% unemployment is still historically high and a good reminder of just how much damage the pandemic has inflicted on the labour market.
Oil bounced back after OPEC and other major oil producers agreed to increase production more gradually than previously planned and the dollar hit a new two-and-a-half-year low against major currencies.
The European Central Bank (ECB) will meet on Thursday to discuss monetary policy options and interest rate decisions. With current policy rates at -0.50%, it is rather unlikely ECB policymakers will opt to lower interest rates further into negative territory.
The pound is slipping as traders who had speculated on a weekend Brexit trade deal were left disappointed. There are signs of hope, though, as the U.K. and European Union strive to finalize a deal before Monday evening.
Earnings comes back into focus once more this week, with upcoming earnings announcements from Ashtead, Ted Baker and Frasers Group, the former Sports Direct group. CLICK HERE