On the forex front, the euro/U.S. dollar (EUR/USD) currency pair was consolidating above the 1.17 key level, GBP/USD was holding its own above 1.31, while the USD/JPY was clinging onto key support at 110.35. Gold has started a touch weaker after closing up for the third straight week, while copper and crude oil were also in consolidation mode following their sharp recent gains.
Today's latest UK jobs and wages data was overall better than expected, which has alleviated some of the concerns about the falls in real wages. But the key question remains: will the Bank of England maintain its recent hawkish rhetoric? I think it will, and I, therefore, expect to see higher levels for the pound against some of her weaker rivals, including the U.S. dollar.
It appears that equity markets have taken inspiration from the performance of the financial market at the conclusion of last week, with Asian stocks trading broadly higher and European shares looking positive at the time of writing.
The big theme at the moment is rising bond yields as key central banks attempt to move away from the era of extraordinarily loose monetary policy and zero interest rates. This is due mainly to rising levels of inflation, higher rates of employment and steady growth across many developed economies.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported the June Non-Farm Payrolls figures, and while the data wasn't perfect, it is certainly reassuring for bulls on the U.S. economy. On a headline basis, the U.S. economy added 222,000 jobs in June, solidly above economists' expectations of 175,000 new jobs. In addition, the BLS revised its estimate of jobs growth in the previous two months higher, for a net addition of 47,000 more jobs.