Weekly global market focus — The U.S. markets this week will focus on (1) any developments on the US/Chinese trade talks as reports continue that a final deal is not yet done but that a possible Trump-Xi summit is still being planned for later in March, (2) Friday's U.S. unemployment report which is expected to show a trend +185,000 increase in payrolls and a -0.1 point decline in the unemployment rate to 3.9% (i.e., 0.2 points above Sep's 49-year low of 3.7%), (3) Fedspeak with appearances by four Fed officials this week, and (4) and the tail end of Q4 earnings season with 10 of the S&P 500 companies reporting this week.
The dollar may see some weakness today after President Trump on Saturday again tried to talk the dollar down and launched new criticism of Fed Chair Powell. In his speech to the Conservative Party Action Conference (CPAC), Mr. Trump said that the dollar is too strong and that Fed Chair Powell «likes raising interest rates, „loves quantitative tightening,“ and „likes a very strong dollar.“
Washington politics will grab market attention again this week. There were reports two weeks ago that the Mueller report would be delivered to Attorney General Barr last week. The Justice Department denied those reports and the report in fact was not released last week. However, there is a possibility that the report could be released as soon as this week if the delivery of the report was delayed only because the Justice Department did not want to conflict with President Trump's summit overseas last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Under current rules, the Mueller report will be delivered privately to Attorney General Barr and Mr. Barr will then take whatever time he wishes to write a summary report to send to Congress. Mr. Barr can also determine exactly what information he will disclose about the investigation to the public.