In the final session of the week, markets will be closely scrutinising the US employment report due out today, for signs of any weakness in hiring by US employers. Recent economic data from the US has been somewhat disappointing. As a result, today’s jobs report for January will draw significant market attention as robust jobs growth is consistent with US expansion. Also, the US unemployment rate and a measure of wage inflation will be tracked for signs of a healthier economy. In other economic news, German factory orders fell more than anticipated in December, suggesting that Europe’s biggest economy ended 2015 on the back foot. Meanwhile, it is a data empty day in the UK docket today.
The main focus in the UK docket today is the just released data on Britain's industrial activity. Official data showed that industrial production contracted in December, a contraction far worse than markets had anticipated. UK manufacturing also unexpectedly fell. Additionally, December reports for France and Italy revealed that industrial activity fell, defying expectations of an improvement from the previous month. Apart from data, market focus will turn towards the Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairperson, Janet Yellen’s testimony on the economy today and tomorrow, against the backdrop of falling stock markets, global weakness and sharply lower energy prices. Lawmakers will likely want to know the Chief’s views about the probable pace of further rate rises and the Fed’s role in supporting the economy.