SCOREBOARD: US cliffhanger

Wall Street made some gains overnight as Barack Obama and John Boehner played nice on the fiscal cliff deal.

Following a mixed session in Europe, with the major indices making small moves on either side of zero (-0.2 per cent to 0.1 per cent), US stocks have pushed higher – although gains are being given back as I write.

There was no data to speak of really – well the Empire State manufacturing index which fell to -8 from -5 – so most of the movement on Wall Street probably reflects the fact that President Obama and Republican House speaker John Boehner seem to be playing nicely.

The words coming out of both camps so far don’t sound too bad – Boehner just last Friday signalled that that he wouldn’t mind it if tax rates rose for those on one million dollars (cue Dr Evil voice). In exchange he wants bigger spending cuts. Similarly any increase in the debt ceiling is being tied to more drastic spending cuts.

So there is hope apparently and US equities pushed higher as a result – as I write, the Dow is up 0.62 per cent to 13217, the S&P500 is 0.95 per cent higher, at 1427, while the Nasdaq is 0.96 per cent higher at 3001.

Financials did well out of this session, as did tech and consumer stocks. Energy, while not doing too badly didn’t seem to receive the full benefit from the 0.8 per cent gain in crude – it's up to $87.40. Commodities otherwise didn’t do much, with gold up a dollar or so to $1,698, while copper was down 0.5 per cent.

On the rates side, US yields rose a touch. I’m talking 3 bps on the 10-year to 1.75 per cent, while the 5-year was 2 bps higher at 0.72 per cent. The 2-year is at 0.24 per cent.

Australian futures then did little, rising just 1 or 2 ticks, with the 3s at 97.25 and the 10s at 96.69.

Price action wasn’t really too exciting otherwise, though it’s worth noting developments in Japan. The new government isn’t wasting any time, with Shinzo Abe – the glorious LDP leader and future prime minister – ordering the Bank of Japan to act this week. Its two day meeting ends on Wednesday/Thursday.

Recall that the Japanese government intends to embark on a public spending frenzy to lift growth and end decades of deflation. This will be funded by printing money.

Indeed, once Abe forms his government, the BoJ will be ordered to target 2 per cent inflation (up from 1 per cent currently) and undertake unlimited monetary easing until this is achieved – isn’t this awesome?

He also said he would revoke the bank’s independence if they make life difficult for him and refused to cooperate. So in 2013 we’ll have the Bank of England, the BoJ and the Federal Reserve all printing unlimited amounts of money. I certainly hope Wayne Swan is taking notes.

Anyway all this talk of unlimited monies saw the Nikkei rise yesterday, while Yen is at 83.80 from 84.15 yesterday afternoon. While we’re on forex, the Australian dollar sits at 1.0544, the euro is little changed at 1.3156, while Sterling is about 30 pips higher at 1.62.

That’s pretty much it. Looking ahead, the SPI suggests Australian stocks will rise 0.6 per cent today. Then the calendar shows we’ve got the RBA’s minutes at 1430 AEDT, although I think there will be little of worth in it, truth be told.

Other than that there’s property price data out of China, some Japanese department store data and that’s it for our region.

Tonight, the Brits put out CPI data – still above target. But that’s okay because the chancellor of the Exchequer is probably going to formally drop it soon anyway – fancy that!

Hope you have a great day…

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