By Noreen Burke
Investing.com — With stock markets now in the August doldrums investors this week will stay focused on the twin risks of heightened U.S.- China tensions and developments in Washington on the next round of coronavirus pandemic relief. Market participants will also be watching the dollar, which despite a rebound after Friday’s U.S. jobs report notched up its seventh straight weekly loss, the longest such streak in a decade. On the economic calendar, Thursday will bring the weekly jobless claims numbers, followed by retail sales figures for July on Friday. China is also to release a deluge of what will be closely watched economic data and earnings season will enter the final stretch. Here’s what you need to know to start your week.
- Double trouble
After failing to reach a deal with the U.S. Congress for a fresh round of coronavirus pandemic relief, President Donald Trump on Saturday signed a series of executive orders aimed at bolstering the hard-hit economy.
However, details on how the measures could be funded remain unclear and Democrats have already warned that such executive orders are legally dubious and would likely be challenged in court.
Uncertainty over fresh stimulus measures coincides with a renewed deterioration in ties between Washington and Beijing. Last week Trump unveiled sweeping bans on Chinese tech firms TikTok and Tencent, escalating a high-stakes confrontation over the future of the global tech industry.
Uncertainty associated with the dual risks will likely continue to act as a dampener on market sentiment, analysts said.
- Dollar weakness
The U.S. Dollar bounced on Friday after jobs numbers for July helped ease some investor worries on the U.S. labor market, but the currency logged a seventh straight week of declines.
While the U.S. economy added a slightly larger than forecast 1.76 million jobs last month it was still sharply lower than the record 4.8 million in June.
Sentiment has turned against the greenback due to a combination of rising U.S. coronavirus infections, a steady decline in Treasury yields, and a lack of consensus in Washington over additional stimulus.
Analysts say the dollar will continue to fall, particularly against the euro, the yen and Swiss franc, as expectations for a V-shaped recovery from the pandemic fades and investors take a more sanguine view of markets.
“I see further dollar weakness,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.
“Optimism for an economic recovery is not backed up by the data. Safe-havens are very high, but stocks are also high, which doesn’t make sense. The party has to end at some point.”
- U.S. economic data
Data this week covers July so should remain largely upbeat, with Friday’s reports on industrial production and retail sales expected to show that the recovery from lockdown measures continued. A separate report on preliminary consumer sentiment for August will offer insight into whether the economy can continue to recover amid the pandemic.
Ahead of that, Thursday’s weekly report on initial jobless claims will show whether job losses continued their decline after last week’s figures showed the lowest weekly total since late March when layoffs around the U.S. exploded due to statewide lockdowns.
Wednesday’s consumer price inflation data will also be in the spotlight amid expectations that inflation will eventually start to creep higher on the back of a weaker dollar and the bloated budget deficit. U.S. CPI rebounded in June after three straight monthly declines.
- China data dump
China, the first country to be struck by the pandemic is set to release a raft of economic data this week with investors looking for signs that the recovery in the world’s second-largest economy can be sustained.
Data on Friday is expected to show that industrial production remained steady last month while retail sales are expected to return to positive territory after contracting. The economic calendar also features updates on fixed investment, consumer and home price inflation, along with monetary and lending indicators.
Meanwhile, senior U.S. and Chinese officials will review the implementation of their Phase 1 trade deal during a video conference on Saturday.
- Earnings wind down
Earnings season is entering the final stretch and some of the bigger names reporting this week include Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR), Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY), Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), SeaWorld (NYSE:SEAS) and Barrick Gold (NYSE:GOLD) on Monday. Softbank (OTC:SFTBY) is due to report on Tuesday, followed by Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) on Wednesday. Coach parent company Tapestry (NYSE:TPR) and Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) are among the names to report on Thursday.
With the second-quarter corporate earnings season largely over, about 82% of S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have beaten dramatically lowered estimates, with earnings on average coming in 22.5% above expectations, the highest on record according to Reuters data.
–Reuters contributed to this report
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