U.S. Equity Markets fell yesterday after hitting new highs on Wednesday, led by the Russell 2000 which closed with a loss of 1.13%. The small sell-off in U.S. Indexes saw the VIX surge over 12%. Jobs data and Federal Reserve commentary were the big stories of the day. Before the open, labour market data showed that Jobless Claims rose slightly, but still remain near their post-pandemic lows. In an interview with CNBC, Kansas City Fed President Esther George said the U.S. economy has reached a point where the central bank can begin removing some of the emergency support. That was followed by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, who said that costs are rising more than expected, which should lead the Fed to begin tapering its asset purchases. Now, all eyes turn to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech this afternoon, with eyes peeled for any clues on tapering decisions. European Markets closed lower. The European Union was said to consider reimposing a travel ban on visitors from the U.S., as the infection rate was far above the allowable level under regional guidelines. GFK SE’s German consumer sentiment index data for September was weaker than expected, as a slower pace of coronavirus vaccinations hurt economic recovery optimism. European Central Bank Chief Economist Philip Lane said it is fully prepared to act if a withdrawal of stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve hurts Euro-Zone financing conditions. In Asia, The Bank of Korea raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in three years, stating it would gradually adjust support for the economy as it focuses on removing financial risks. China’s President Xi Jinping said the country would achieve its 6% growth target this year despite COVID-19 restrictions, as it should better coordinate development policies. Japan’s services industry costs for July were weaker than expected, easing versus June as more difficult comparisons were harder to overcome. Australia’s private capital investment figures for the second quarter were stronger than anticipated, implying companies are increasingly optimistic about their business prospects. Elsewhere, Gold rallied 0.6% after the terror attack in Kabul, while Bitcoin fell 4% after the Wall Street Journal was cautious on El Salvador’s rollout of bitcoin as legal tender.
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