• Chinese PMI and BoJ speech push Asian markets in opposite directions
  • US midterms see Republicans take control of the Senate
  • Eurozone services PMI expected to continue downbeat sentiment
  • UK services PMI crucial to future growth

European markets are hoping for a more upbeat start to trading today, following on from a somewhat depressing Tuesday which saw growth and inflation estimates revised downwards yet again. Today’s European optimism comes against a largely negative Asian session which has seen the Nikkei as the only major winner whilst the likes of the Hang Seng pulled back. Today’s session will largely focus upon the release of finaly Eurozone PMI figures and the UK services PMI number. European markets are expected to open higher, with the FTSE100 +41, CAC +36, and DAX +67 points.

The Asian session saw mixed fortunes as the Chinese services PMI dragged lower, whilst the BoJ governor Kuroda struck a dovish tone following Friday’s shock easing announcement. The further deterioration of the Chinese services PMI figure saw the second consecutive fall in this reading, with a number of 52.9 compared with last month’s 53.5. Coming following a poor manufacturing PMI release over the weekend, this further compounds the view that China is struggling to move forward in a convincing way following a slowdown earlier this year. Meanwhile, BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda spoke for the first time since Friday’s announcement of further asset purchases on Friday. As expected, he struck a dovish tone, borrowing Mario Draghi’s ‘whatever it takes’ slogan, when referring to the steps the BoJ are willing to take to avoid the persistence of the deflationary mindset that has plagued the Japanese region for decades. Most importantly, this clearly means that the BoJ would be willing to intervene yet again if necessary to achieve that 2% inflation goal, which considering the recent downward trajectory in CPI, seems likely to be required.

The US midterm elections has brought about a somewhat unwelcome result for Barack Obama, who has seen the democrat run Senate go the way of the Republicans, who rode the wave of disenchanted voters to a famous victory overnight. The control of both the House and Senate for the final two years of Obama’s run as President means that there is going to be immense difficulty in passing any legislature or really getting anything done of any meaning. As such, this means the coming two years are likely to be marked by a blunted President that will no doubt have to contend with a greater assault on budget deficits and Obama’s healthcare bill among other things. Already we have seen House speaker John Boehner say that the House will seek to revote on “many common-sense jobs and energy bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support but were never even brought to a vote by the outgoing Senate majority.” Thus it appears that the US could be in a strange position where they have a Democratic leader, yet increasingly Republican policies.

The European session looks to be dominated by the release of services PMI figures out of the Eurozone and UK. The final services PMI figures from the Eurozone come at a key times, following the release of some unsurprisingly disappointing growth and inflation estimates yesterday, with downgrades across the board. Today’s services PMI’s aren’t expected to be much better, with France and Italy expected to remain within contraction while Germany shows slowing growth. However, given that these are final figures, the impact is likely to be muted.

The big European release comes from the UK, with the services PMI number this morning. The services sector accounts for around two thirds of UK GDP and as such, the performance of today’s services PMI number goes a long way to providing a guide for GDP growth in the future. A very strong 2014 does appear to be continuing to some extent, with markets expecting a reading of 58.5, just some way short of the 58.7 number seen last month. Whilst this remains some way short of the 60.5 peak seen in August, it remains a very robust level of economic expansion in the sector and should the figure remain closer to 60 than 50, it is likely to point towards strong jobs and output for the UK economy as a whole.