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Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Friday

EconomyOct 13, 2017 05:41AM ET
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© Reuters. Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Friday - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Friday, October 13:

1. U.S. Inflation Data in Focus

The Commerce Department was set to publish September inflation figures at 8:30 a.m. ET (12:30 GMT) Friday. Market analysts expect consumer prices to rise 0.6%, while core inflation is forecast to inch up 0.2%.

On a yearly base, core CPI is projected to climb 1.8%. Core prices are viewed by the Federal Reserve as a better gauge of longer-term inflationary pressure because they exclude the volatile food and energy categories. The central bank usually tries to aim for 2% core inflation or less.

Rising inflation would be a catalyst to push the Federal Reserve toward raising interest rates.

The U.S. dollar weakened earlier in the week after the minutes of the Fed's September policy meeting on Wednesday showed that policymakers remain divided on inflation.

Also Friday, the Commerce Department was due to publish data on retail sales for September. The consensus forecast is that the report will show retail sales increased 1.7% last month. Core sales are forecast to gain 0.3%.

Rising retail sales over time correlate with stronger economic growth, while weaker sales signal a declining economy. Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. economic growth.

Ahead of the reports, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 92.89, not far from the previous session's two-week trough of 92.64.

2. Bitcoin Reaches New All-Time Highs

(Bitcoin prices) rallied to new record highs of $5,874.30 on Friday, before settling around $5,645 by 05:40 a.m. ET (09:40 GMT).

The cryptocurrency had traded above the $5,100 threshold for the first time in its nine-year history on Thursday amid reports trading in China could resume, with more regulation.

The new measures could include new licensing and anti-money laundering regulations to be implemented by exchanges.

The news came a month after China clamped down on bitcoin-related activity, ordering domestic bitcoin exchanges to cease operations.

Analysts also believed that heavy buying of Bitcoin could be related to the upcoming "fork" that will result in the creation of "Bitcoin Gold". Holders of Bitcoin will automatically receive Bitcoin Gold.

3. British Pound Recovers from Brexit Stalemate, Hits 2-Week Highs

The pound erased the previous session's sharp losses, climbing to a 2-week high on Friday following reports by German newspaper Handelsblatt that the U.K. could stay in the European Union for another two years.

The newspaper indicated that the EU's offer is tied to the U.K. meeting all of its obligations as a member country, but giving up its voting rights.

Sterling had initially dropped after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier announced on Thursday that Brexit talks were at an "impasse."

Barnier added that the U.K. had told the EU that it wasn't ready to specify how much the nation should pay in exit fees.

However, the EU negotiator also said there had been progress in other areas, including citizens' rights, and he hoped there will be positive developments within the next two months.

4. Crude Oil Continues to Climb on Positive Outlook

Crude oil prices were higher on Friday, following news of a third consecutive week of declines in U.S. crude stockpiles and fresh signs the market is progressively re-balancing.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Thursday that crude oil inventories fell by 2.75 million barrels in the week ended October 6.

The commodity was also supported after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries indicated, in its monthly report on Wednesday, that market rebalancing will continue amid forecasts that global oil demand will rise by around 30,000 barrels a day for this year and 2018.

In its own monthly report on Thursday, the International Energy Agency said that global supply and demand for crude oil will be largely balanced next year.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 81 cents or around 1.60% to $51.41 a barrel by 05:40 a.m. ET (09:40 GMT), just off a nearly two-week high of $51.53 hit earlier in the session.

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., advanced 99 cents or 1.76% to $57.26 a barrel, the highest since September 29.

5. Global Stock Markets Mixed, Fresh Earnings Ahead

World shares were mixed on Friday, as markets were digesting a batch of corporate earnings reports and economic data.

Asian-Pacific equities closed mostly higher, with Japan's Nikkei 225 ending the session at a fresh 21-year high.

Official data earlier showed that China's imports increased by 18.7% last month, beating expectations, while exports rose less than expected by 8.1%.

Meanwhile, European shares were steady amid lingering concerns over political stability in Spain and after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi defended the need to keep interest rates low.

In a speech on Thursday, Draghi said interest rates would remain at current levels "well past" the time the central bank stops buying assets.

He also indicated that the ECB's asset purchases would continue until officials see a sustained improvement in the outlook for inflation.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks pointed to a steady open, after a string of third-quarter earnings reports on Thursday failed to give markets a solid direction and as traders looked ahead to a fresh batch of corporate results.

Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Friday

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