Interesting

Cause and effect
It was not a very good result for England in Saturday evening's rugby match and coach Stuart Lancaster must shoulder much of the responsibility. He might also have to take the blame for stock market losses today: UK share prices typically fall by -0.15% after an England defeat.

The statisticians also note that America's dollar typically falls after a disappointing US employment report. It did so again on Friday after nonfarm payrolls were reported to have risen by 142k in September, a number well short of the forecast 203k increase. And this time there were none of the upward revisions to previous months which might have mitigated the shortfall. Instead, downward revisions to the data for July and August made the net number of new jobs 120k fewer than analysts had forecast.

The gut reaction of investors was that the data killed any chance of higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve this month. They marked down the US dollar by an instant cent against sterling and by more than that against the euro. Subsequent corrections left the dollar three quarters of a cent lower on the day against the pound and down by half cent against the euro.

Rand rally
By and large the commodity-oriented and emerging-market currencies were the winners: if the Fed is not about to tighten monetary policy they will supposedly continue to benefit from cheap money. The top performer by a mile was the South African rand, strengthening by 1.3%.

The rand was on the extreme of every day's movement last week, leading the way on three occasions and bringing up the rear twice. Its net gain on the week was 1.2%, putting it in third place behind the Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar. 

Investors were unable to find much inspiration in the rest of Friday's economic data. The krone actually weakened slightly after Norwegian unemployment went down from 3.1% to 2.9% and the pound saw no great benefit from a stronger-than-expected construction sector purchasing managers' index.

PMIs again
Today could be an interesting start to what promises to be a busy week. Investors will still be digesting Friday's employment number and trying to work out whether or not a rate increase this year is now out of the question. The services PMIs may help with that decision.

The only one out so far is the Australian Performance of Services Index, which was three points lower at 52.3. Spain could once again deliver the top result and Britain's reading should be in third place behind the United States. All of the European figures are expected to be above 50 and therefore positive. There are also data today for Swedish industrial production and orders, Euroland investor confidence and Euroland retail sales.

Tonight brings the data for Australia's balance of trade and New Zealand business confidence. The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep the benchmark Cash Rate at 2% when it makes its announcement at 04:30 tomorrow.