The steady progression of losses on global markets continued today, with no sign of any buying just yet. In fact, buyers seem to have clocked off early for the weekend. It being Friday the 13th, no one can really blame them; there will likely be better opportunities later in the week, as the pre-Thanksgiving frenzy helps lift US markets and everyone else gears up for eurozone quantitative easing.
A weak set of US retail sales failed to dent the enthusiasm of US dollar bulls, who pushed the Dollar Index higher and took back much of the ground lost yesterday. When the dollar rises even after poor economic news, it is a clear sign that markets have concluded that a rate hike is on its way.
After their worst weekly performance since mid-August, UK shares need to find a positive story and soon; the continued unpopularity of the mining sector is hardly likely to change next week, when China data is all but absent.
Sadly for equity market bulls, the next week will still be all about a Fed move. US CPI and Federal Reserve minutes dominate the agenda, and if these appear to back up the speeches of last week then we may well witness further selling in US stocks.
The bearish end to the week for oil prices does not bode well for the big energy firms either, putting further downside pressure on an already beleaguered market.