US data in focus but year end trading volumes remain low

US data in focus but year end trading volumes remain low

By Craig Erlam on Jan 1, 2015 08:09:00 GMT

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The final day of the year is likely to be very lightly traded with many investors getting ready for their new years celebrations rather than trying to work out what is exactly behind today’s market moves.

The problem we face on days like today is that because trading volume is so light, it can take very little to move the markets compared with an ordinary trading day. Throw into the equation that it’s the final day of the year and something as simple as fund managers balancing their books, locking in some profits or cutting losses can be behind market movements.

Of course we could look at yesterday’s selling in the US and suggest it has something to do with the snap Greek elections and how that may influence the ECBs decision to buy government bonds – quantitative easing – which many have suggested will come in January. However, there was no selling on Monday following the failure of the third Presidential vote which would suggest otherwise.

Oil prices are another thing that could be blamed for yesterday’s selling but again, prices did not close far from their opening levels, unlike with US stocks. And today we’ve seen further selling in oil, with it now back near the five year lows hit yesterday, and yet US futures are pointing higher.

It will be interesting to see what kind of an impact today’s US economic data will have on the markets, if any, with jobless claims, Chicago PMI and pending home sales numbers all being released. None of these tend to be particularly big numbers for the markets, but in this low volume environment, we may get more of a reaction than we are used to seeing.

About Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam is Market Analyst at Alpari UK. He joined Alpari (UK) at the beginning of 2012 after four years in the financial services industry, including working at Goldman Sachs. Craig writes market commentary that regularly appears on websites including The Financial Times, Reuters, BBC, The Telegraph and FOX Business. He also provides insight and analysis for clients which he posts daily on Twitter, Google+ and the Alpari (UK) website. You can also find Craig on YouTube where he gives short market updates, including charting analysis.

Recent posts by Craig Erlam

  • Q3 GDP Key Ahead of Fed Meeting and US Election
  • Fed Speeches Headline Quiet Day
  • Draghi Strongly Hints at December QE Decision

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