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European markets cheer US-EU bilateral trade deal negotiations

The German DAX 30 (+0.46%), the French CAC 40 (+0.13%), the Italian FTSE MIB (+0.25%) and the Spanish IBEX 35 (+0.75%) are edging higher on Wednesday in reaction to yesterday's State of the Union speech by US President Obama. He proposed lifting the minimum wage from $7.25/hr to $9, announce a new US-EU bilateral trade deal, and called for Congress to deal with the sequester that will take effect on March 1.

Futures for the American S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones 30 are signaling a higher opening ahead of the NY session by 0.15%-0.30%. The economic calendar will provide the release of US import and export prices, retail sales, business inventories and a 10-year note auction. US Treasury Secretary Nominee Lew will speak at 15:00 GMT.

Turbulent times for the Sterling

The pound has recently visited the area around 1.5555/50, printing annual lows, and at the same time and reminding investors of levels last seen in August 2012, when GBP/USD was on its way from 2012 lows around 1.5270...
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Forex Flash: US Retail Sales to be modest due to lower spending on gasoline – TD Securities

TD Securities analysts expect consumer spending momentum to moderate in January with total retail sales rising at a very meagre 0.1% M/M pace, after last year's decent activity. Vehicle sales are likely to remain relatively unchanged on the month, and sales excluding autos should rise at an equally modest 0.1% M/M pace. “The weakness on the headline number should be driven mostly by the decline in spending on gasoline, and core spending activity (which excludes spending on autos, gas and building material, and is a useful gauge on the tone of real spending) should post a more respectable 0.4% M/M gain, adding to the positive momentum in the past few months”, wrote analyst Alvin Pontoh.
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