Yen and most financial markets take a breather today waiting for end-of-the-week data

12/03/2013 7:57 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

The yen is taking a bit of a breather today after hitting a six-month low against the U.S. dollar yesterday. Today’s slight rise in the yen—0.57%--takes the yen to 102.37 to the dollar. Japan’s currency is down 14% for 2013 against the U.S. dollar.

And since Tokyo stocks climb as the yen falls—on expectations that a cheap yen will create more sales overseas for Japanese companies and add to revenue and earnings as strong currencies are converted into yen for hometown balance sheets—Japanese stocks moved up to just short of a six year high for the Nikkei 225 Stock Index at a December 3 close of 15,749.70. That’s the highest level for the index since December 12, 2007.

The pause for the yen—and most likely for Japanese stocks too—comes as investors and traders wait to see what the European Central Bank will do on rates at its Thursday, December 5 meeting. The central bank is most likely to stand pat rather than cut interest rates at the meeting.

Investors and traders are also waiting on U.S. jobs data due on Friday, December 6. In October the U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs and a number significantly above that report would add to fears that the Federal Reserve will move to begin tapering off its $85 billion a month in asset purchases with its December 18 meeting. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are projecting that the U.S. economy added 181,000 jobs in November.

Right now it looks like investors and traders in Japan—and in Europe and the United States—are in a wait and see/protect the profits mode in front of the Thursday and Friday news.
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