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Indices:  The last few days of 2013 will be remembered with the record values of both US and European stock indices. In the first days of 2014, however, the markets witnessed serious sell-offs and ultimately the weekly changes in all leading indices declined by about 1%. Italy’s S&P/MIB was the only one on the green side of the charts, as the index closed at 19,121 on Friday, or having an increase by 1.02%.

Forex

On the Forex market, trading was slow and in low volumes, but certainly the decrease by 160 pips in the EUR/USD along with the appreciation of just above 70 pips in the AUD/USD made life for currency speculators much more interesting during the holidays.

Commodities

Gold and silver started the year positively and rose by 1.89% and 0.78%, respectively. Oil futures, on the other hand, failed to increase, with US February futures dropping by 5.91%, or almost $6, to close at $94.23 per barrel on Friday, while Brent crude closed at $106.93 per barrel, which means a loss of 4.59%, or just over $5.

What to expect this week?

This week practically gives the start for trading during the new year, and markets are expected to return to their usual pre-holiday rhythm from the last few months amid a decrease in trading volumes by more than 25% over the holidays. The economic calendar, too, is definitely promising an interesting start. For the rest of the day, investors’ attention will be focused on the Preliminary Release of Germany’s Consumer Price Index for December and the US Non-Manufacturing Index reported by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Tuesday‘s highlights will be Germany’s Unemployment data and the Preliminary release of the Eurozone Consumer Price Index. On Wednesday, the Fed will publish the minutes from its last meeting, at which US officials decided to reduce the volume of the quantitative easing programme by $10 billion. Thursday will see the release of the interest rate decision of both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, followed by a press conference held by President Mario Draghi. More action is expected on Friday, when US Unemployment Rate and Nonfarm Payrolls, both for December, will be revealed.

The US Q4 earnings season is also set for a big start, as this week will see the likes of Alcoa (AA) and Micron Technology (MU), whose shares registered more than a 240% rise for 2013, publishing their financial reports.

Further reading:  EUR stumbles and cable hits multi year high only to fall before a loaded week