Marketmind: Big Apple

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FILE PHOTO: A customer exits after picking up Apple's new 5G iPhone 12 that went on sale at an Apple Store in Brooklyn, New York

A look at the day ahead from Sujata Rao.

A marked flattening in the U.S yield curve — with longer-dated borrowing costs taking a tumble — failed to lift tech shares on Monday. Instead, as the Omicron COVID variant gathered steam, consumer staples, pharmas and other defensives benefited, balking Apple of a $3 trillion market capitalisation.

With Wall Street futures pointing higher, and Apple’s Frankfurt-listed shares up almost 1%, Tuesday may well be the day the milestone is hit.

But in a week heavy with central bank meetings, data and expectations of hawkish policy turns, it’s anyone’s guess how market moves pan out.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England’s dilemma — to hike or not to hike — hasn’t gone away. November’s payrolls increase was the biggest since tax office records began in 2014, showing labour markets have withstood the end of a furlough scheme.

Online supermarket Ocado also provided a snapshot of the UK jobs market with a 3.9% fall in quarterly sales, due to labour shortages.

But with the spread of Omicron triggering work-from-home advice and other restrictions, the BoE may well choose to hold fire on Thursday.

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Watch too for U.S. factory gate prices — a reliable forward indicator for CPI — out later on. Having started the year below 2%, November PPI will be above 9%, polls predict.

That data is unlikely to shake conviction the Federal Reserve, starting its two-day meeting on Tuesday, will accelerate its stimulus tapering and that the dot-plot chart of rate-setters voting intentions will show a more hawkish turn compared to the last meeting.

That’s keeping the dollar index at one week-highs and equity futures are higher. For now, let’s focus on emerging markets, where the rate hiking campaign continues unabated — Hungary is expected to raise rates by 30 basis points and Chile by as much as 125 bps. (Graphic: Apple, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/znvnexqbypl/Pasted%20image%201639431347480.png)

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Tuesday:

-OPEC upbeat on 2022 oil demand, says Omicron impact to be mild

-Musk sells Tesla shares worth $906.5 million

-Euro zone industrial production November

-Germany’s Ifo Institute economic outlook

-Europe earnings: Ocado, Purple Bricks

(Reporting by Sujata Rao; editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)