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The winding down of 2014 has facilitated a cautiously optimistic grind higher in equity markets, with investor sentiment managing to snub some of the potential outlier concerns that could potentially shake participants’ confidence.   The second failed vote to elect a new president in Greece happened overnight, with Prime Minister Samaras unable to find the required amount of support for his nominee.   Samaras will need an additional 12 votes along with the 168 secured last night in order to avoid snap elections in the final round of voting for a new President.   The third and final round of the process will happen on December 29th, and if Samaras is unable to ascertain the 180 votes needed, the concern is that the impending snap elections will lead to the anti-austerity Syriza party taking control of the Greek government.   The increasing chances of an uncertain snap election in Greece have failed to filter through to financial markets as of yet, and although the global economy has managed to navigate throughout the original Greek debt crisis, the ambiguous outcome of a new government in Greece right before the end of the year is likely to introduced heightened volatility into the marketplace.   At the time of writing the major bourses in Europe are all well in the green, while the Euro is flirting with giving up the 1.22 handle after the North American data deluge.

As we get ready for the opening bell in North America, the last data dump before the bank holiday is underway, with a fairly balanced result from above and below the 49thparallel.   GDP growth for the month of October in Canada came in stronger than forecast, with a 0.3% increase over the prior month, and strong start to the final quarter of 2014 after a robust Q3.   Resource extraction and public sector spending were the main drivers of growth over the month, but it is encouraging to see manufacturing output continue with its momentum and grow by 0.7% in October after a 0.8% increase in September.   In the coming months it’s likely we’ll see manufacturing continue to print strong growth numbers, as input costs fall due to lower energy prices and demand south of the border picks up as a result of a weaker Canadian dollar.

Turning towards the United States, the final revision to GDP growth in Q3 came out much better than expected, being revised higher from the preliminary estimate of 3.9% to 5.0%, blowing past the median forecast of 4.3% growth.   This is the second consecutive quarter of greater than 4% growth, which has not been seen in over a decade, and confirms the American economy is on strong footing to finish out 2014.   That said, durable goods orders for the month of November came out weaker than expected, with the headline reading missing forecasts with a 0.7% decrease, while the proxy for business investment was flat on a m/o/m basis, missing the median analyst forecast of an increase of 1.5%.   The combination of stronger Q3 GDP growth but soft durable goods data has left equity markets content to grind higher as optimism for strong economic prospects in 2015 sets in, with the data not too hot to increase worries of premature tightening from the Fed, though it’s becoming more a possibility the first rate hike is towards the near-end of the expected timeframe.   Oil is managing to hold onto a portion of its overnight gains as WTI pivots around the $56/handle, but the greenback is gaining across the majors in the currency space as the tightening timeline is pushed slightly forward.   The Yen is feeling the brunt of the USD strength this morning as USDJPY heads into the high-120s, though the Aussie and Loonie are also weakening off against their dollar counterpart.

Further reading:

EUR/USD: Trading the US Unemployment Claims

We Stay Short EUR/USD; More Reasons To Be Short EUR – BNPP