Fast Europe Open: Italy GDP, UK services PMI

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If you can bear to tear your eyes away from the drama unfolding around US attorney General Jeff Sessions, there’s another round of Yellen comments on the horizon.

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen is due to speak on Friday, when investors will also be able to pore over another batch of employment data. Her speech comes after Fed governor Lael Brainard, one of the bank’s most cautious members, said another rate rise would be “appropriate soon” — joining her colleague Jerome Powell and making a rate rise in March all but certain.

Asian equities have gone into reverse on Friday after strong mid-week gains. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index is down 0.8 per cent, while Tokyo’s Topix index is off 0.6 per cent and the Hang Seng index is 0.6 per cent lower in Hong Kong.

Futures tip the FTSE 100 index to open 0.3 per cent lower in London, while the S&P 500 is expected to fall by the same amount when trading starts in New York.

Corporate earnings reports out today include LSE, WPP and Berendsen.

The economic calendar for Friday concerns primarily purchasing managers and their indices (all times London):

  • 07.00: Germany retail sales
  • 07.00: Turkey consumer and producer price inflation
  • 08.00: Czech Republic Q4 GDP
  • 08.45: Spain and Italy Markit services PMIs
  • 08.45-09.00: Germany, France and eurozone Markit services/composite PMIs
  • 09.00: Italy Q4 GDP
  • 09.00: Norway unemployment
  • 09.30: UK Markit services PMI
  • 10.00: Eurozone retail sales
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