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Indices:  Latest US data published last week revealed that the economy has added 191K new jobs, or fewer than the expected figure of 200K. The unemployment rate also kept its value from a month earlier amid forecasts for a new decline. All these figures led to serious Friday sell-offs which caused the Nasdaq100 to drop by nearly 3%, recording its lowest level in eight weeks. However, the benchmark managed to limit its weekly loss to 0.9%. Despite the big sell-offs on Friday, both the Dow and the S&P500 managed to stay afloat, ending the period with increases, albeit modest, by 0.64% and 0.48%, respectively.

In Europe, on the other hand, investors remained under the influence of the ECB’s (European Central Bank) decision on Thursday to keep the interest rate unchanged at 0.25%. In a follow-up conference, ECB President Mario Draghi said the possibility of launching a quantitative-easing programme is becoming more and more real. European indices ended the week with gains, with Spain’s IBEX adding 3.44% to its value to close at 10,675.

Forex

Despite the “abundance” of important economic news from last week, chart movements on the Forex market were highly limited. The most traded EUR/USD pair fell by 48 pips to close at 1,3702 on Friday, while the GBP/USD dropped by just a little more than 60 pips. Meanwhile, both the AUD/USD and USD/JPY registered a slight increase, rising by 35 and 43 pips, respectively.

Commodities

On the commodities market, gold closed above the psychological 1,300 threshold – at $1,303.738 per troy ounce on Friday, after experiencing two consecutive weeks of losses. However, the precious metal is trading at around $1,298 per troy ounce this morning, as it appears market participants are still digesting the US Non-farm payrolls from Friday.

What to expect this week?

This week marks the beginning of the US earnings season for Q1 2014, which as usual will have a significant effect on the markets in the next few weeks. Traditionally, the first report will be published by Alcoa (AA), due on Thursday. The first Dow company to release its financial results for Q1 2014 will be JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) on Friday, before the opening bell.

On the economic calendar front, there is a series of interesting events worth following. The rest of Monday will see the US Consumer Credit Change for February as well as Japan’s Trade Balance – BOP (Balance of Payments) for February. Tuesday’s highlights will include the Bank of Japan Interest Rate Decision and the UK’s both Industrial and Manufacturing Productions for February (MoM and YoY). Wednesday’s main entries will feature Australia’s Westpac Consumer Confidence for April, Germany’s Trade balance for February, the UK’s Total Trade Balance for February, as well as the FOMC meeting minutes. Thursday will see the release of Australia’s unemployment data for March, China’s Trade Balance for March, the Bank of England Interest Rate Decision, the US Initial Jobless Claims, and the Bank of Japan Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes. Friday will close the week with the start of the annual spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund (11-13 April), China’s Consumer Price Index for March (MoM and YoY), as well as Germany’s Consumer Price Index and the US Producer Price Index, both for March (MoM and YoY).

Further reading:  Risk appetite returns