US retail sales contracted 0.7% in December, adding to the downbeat tone in the markets
Wall Street stocks dipped on Friday amid disappointing US retail sales data and weak bank earnings. Fourth-quarter earnings kicked off with Citigroup that posted solid revenue and a miss on quarterly earnings. Wells Fargo said its fourth-quarter revenue came up short of analyst estimates. On the positive side, JPMorgan beat revenue and profit expectations. On the data front, US retail sales contracted 0.7% in December while economists expected sales to stay flat from the month prior. Furthermore, November’s reading was revised lower to a 1.4% contraction. As a result, the S&P 500 fell 0.72%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.57%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.87%.
Following a retreat on Wall Street, Asian markets were mixed-to-negative on Monday. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.78%, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.97% and the Kospi in South Korea lost 23%. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1.01% while the Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.84% after the data showed that China’s economy grew 6.5% in the three months ending in December, up from the previous quarter’s 4.9%.
In Europe, stocks opened lower amid lingering worries about a slow economic recovery, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index slipping 0.2% early in the session. In individual stocks, French retailer Carrefour tumbled nearly 7% after ending 16.2-billion-euro merger talks with Alimentation Couche-Tard.
Elsewhere, UK vaccine deployment minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said that vaccine rollout was going well, and everyone will be offered a vaccine by September.
Meanwhile, as risk keeps more cautious, the dollar holds firmer on Monday, with EURUSD extending losses to five-week lows around 1.2065. If the pressure persists, the 1.2000 handle will come into market focus. However, as President-elect Joe Biden enters the White House on Wednesday and is set to advance his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, risk sentiment could improve in the coming days and thus curb the buying pressure surrounding the greenback.