1. 2018’s First NFP Is Expected To Be Solid
U.S. employers likely maintained a brisk pace of hiring in December while wages for workers are expected to have increased amid growing confidence in the economy. Investors will be looking closely at the first U.S. jobs’ report for 2018 as a solid NFP could pave the way for the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates in March and provide some much needed support to the sagging dollar. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased by 190,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey versus a gain of 228,000 in November. Despite the anticipated moderation, Fed officials will view a solid NFP as a sign that the U.S. economy remains on its expansion path.*
2. Gold Prices Set For Fourth Straight Weekly Gains
Gold prices held steady on Friday after hitting 3-1/2 month highs in the previous session, remaining on track for their fourth straight weekly gains. Spot gold marked its highest price since Sept. 15 at $1,325.86 on Thursday on a weaker dollar. It should be noted that the dollar could gain some support from a solid NFP today, which could in turn put a halt to gold’s long streak of gains. The euro also benefited from the sagging dollar to rise to a near a three-year high against the greenback on Friday, while improving investor risk appetite weighed on the yen.**
3. Ethereum Smashes $1,000 Barrier
The world’s third largest cryptocurrency by market value, Ethereum, has soared to new records today after rising above $1,000 per unit in early trading Thursday. Banking corporations have increasingly been looking into partnerships with prominent cryptocurrencies and Ethereum was seen as a highly attractive canCFDdidate. In mid-December, a group of financial companies including UBS, Credit Suisse, and Barclays announced plans to test the Ethereum blockchain in the hopes of making it easier to meet new European Union reporting standards under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II.***
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