Upbeat economic data helped carry risk assets higher in NY trading, but currencies traded in choppy fashion nonetheless. Equities in the US rallied more than 1.2% in broad terms as early data releases were positive. Construction spending was flat in October while pending home sales rocketed 3.7% on the month (consensus was for a small decline in both). The ISM manufacturing headline printed lower than expected at 53.6 in November and down from 55.7 the prior month. However, the fact that the index remains above the 50 threshold (which signifies expansion) is a constructive development for the market.
The auto sales data was released ahead of the close and the final tally for November came in much better than expected at 10.9 million annual units. The market was looking for a 10.5m print on the heels of a similar result the prior month. While well off the 9.1m cycle low, the run-rate is still below the annual scrap rate. In other words, there is a net decline in total autos on the road. We will need to see a number closer to 12m before we can declare the sector as being out of the woods.
EUR/USD followed equities for the most part and closed the session near 1.5080/85 after an open around the 1.5060 zone. The correlation broke down late in the session as the pair continued to find better sellers around the 1.5100 area. USD/JPY saw a less stellar session on the heels of a tumultuous overnight. The pair witnessed a slow bleed towards 86.65/70 after opening around the 87.00 mark. Gold stood out once again and added nearly $17 on the day. The precious metal tested above the $1200 area but backed off a touch. A daily close above should open up the next wave of strength here.