Trump news conference takes centre stage

The long awaited Donald Trump news conference will be held later this afternoon as he yet again fights fires, this time with new reports that Russia has damaging material on him. The revelations come as Barack Obama gave his farewell speech in Chicago where he highlighted his success on fighting terrorism and turning around the US economy. Today’ also sees Rex Tillerson face questions at his confirmation hearing as he is due to be grilled on his ties with Russia.

It’s hard to pin point exactly what to expect from Donald Trump today as just about anything goes when it comes to Trump. We do know however that the uncertainty around the news conference, the allegations from Russia, and just about anything to do with the President Elect is going to have a long lasting effect on traders and the markets in general. We can expect a strong defence of the decision to appoint his son in law Jared Kushner as a senior White House advisor. Defence of his picks for senior jobs will be a theme as his cabinet picks will also come under scrutiny, however the markets will be focussed on anything around fiscal policy that is mentioned. With the Fed already hinting on Trumps policies being a major reason for their hawkish stance on 2017, any clues as to policies will likely cause swings in the US dollar.

Today’s session sees the economic calendar get look a little more healthy with a host of UK and US data on top of the Trump new conference.  The UK data will be closely watched this morning due to the weakness in the pound and the steady days of record highs for the FTSE100. Expectations are for a big turnaround in the manufacturing production readings after a contraction of -0.9% in October, for November we are expecting a 0.5% reading, a number that if exceeded could well give us some much needed sterling upside.

There has also been some key UK company data this morning as the retailers start to report their Christmas trading numbers. In a trading update Sainsbury’s became the latest to report their sales numbers saying that Christmas sales totalled more than £1bn, however sales figures only rose by 0.1%. At Argos, a brand that Sainsbury’s bought last year, the numbers were slightly better reporting a 4% increase in sales for the same period. It had been expected that the supermarket chain would report a fall in sales figures over the festive period of around 0.8% so the news of increased sales is a further sign of the resilience of the supermarket chains against steep downside in other high street retailers. Morrison’s have already reported strong trading figures while Next disappointed.

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