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Trump's Address to Congress in Three Minutes

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Trump strikes a softer tone in his speech to Congress — but is short on details. Meanwhile speculation of a March Fed hike is building, and it's PMI day. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Trump's speech

In his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump struck a conciliatory tone, urging Americans to set aside conflict. The speech, however, was short on the policy details that some investors were hoping for, with the president opting for broad promises —"I am going to bring back millions of jobs" — rather than specifics. While U.S. stock futures pared their gains slightly while Trump was on his feet, markets were generally unmoved by the rhetoric. 

March hike

Market bets of a rate increase this month jumped after speeches from Federal Reserve officials signaled a greater willingness to tighten monetary policy. San Francisco Fed President John Williams said he expects an interest-rate increase to receive “serious consideration” at the March 14-15 FOMC meeting. Evercore ISI have switched their call for the next rate increase to March, from May, citing comments from New York Fed President William Dudley as the reason for the change. The dollar is rallying on the increasing March speculation

PMI day

China’s official factory gauge climbed to 51.6 in February.  The data came ahead of this weekend's National People's Congress, which will set the administration's growth target for the year. Euro-area manufacturing accelerated for a sixth month in February, to 55.4, with signs of inflation pressures building in the economy. In the U.K., IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers Index fell to 54.6 for the month, below economists' expectations of 55.8. In a worrying sign for the economy, U.K. consumer credit remained below average in January, according to Bank of England data published this morning. Markit are due to release U.S. manufacturing PMI at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time. 

Markets higher

Overnight, the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.2 percent, while Japan's Topix Index rallied 1.2 percent as the dollar rose against the yen. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index had gained 1.1 percent by 5:34 a.m. as positive economic data lifted stocks. S&P 500 futures climbed 0.5 percent after stocks in the U.S. failed to extend their winning run in yesterday's session. 

U.S., coming up...

Personal income and spending data for January is due to be published at 8:30 a.m. As well as Markit's Manufacturing PMI later, we also get ISM Manufacturing at 10:00 a.m. At 2:00 p.m the Fed releases the beige book. Throughout the session today vehicle-sales data for February will come in, with economists predicting total vehicle sales to increase to 17.7 million for the month.

What we've been reading 

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