The NY session witnessed some early volatility but overall the price action was extremely muted. Risk was sold early on as US jobless claims failed to improve much from the prior week - now 462K from 468K previously. US equities would ultimately close up about +0.4% in broad terms as the S&P 500 matched the 2010 highs by 1150 at the close. The moves in the currency space were nothing to write home about as many of the majors (EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, AUD/USD) moved a total of 10 pips from the NY open to the close. USD/CAD did see a nice move from a session open by 1.0260 towards 1.0235 as we write. Canadian employment is due up tomorrow in early NY/late London trading and could be the catalyst for a potential move through 1.0200 here. Speaking of the commodity complex, gold (XAU/USD) found buyers waiting in the wings as it made a low by $1100. The precious metal managed to eke out a modest session gain, closing by $1110 eventually.
One of the reasons for the proverbial chop is likely the anticipation/consolidation ahead of tomorrow's blockbuster US retail sales report. We ran through our in-house model and are looking for a -0.1% drop in the headline and a worse -0.3% result in the ex autos number. The consensus is expecting -0.2% for the headline and a +0.1% excluding the auto component, so clearly we see the risks tilted decidedly to the downside. With weather wreaking havoc on the February data, however, the data point could eventually be tossed aside and any knee-jerk reaction to a much weaker number would then reverse. We would have to think that buying a dip in the yen crosses immediately after the number (if much worse than expected) would make sense from a short-term perspective.