European markets started the week closing higher, ahead of a trading week with a lot of uncertainty. Despite that, they closed 0.5% higher with tech stocks going up 2.2% but insurance stocks sliding 0.5%.
The potential slowdown or pause in the Federal Reserve’s inflation-fighting rate hikes is being considered by global markets, following last week’s economic data showing a decline in wholesale prices and retail sales. On Friday, Fed Governor Christopher Waller stated that he supports a 0.25% hike in interest rates on February 1st, during the central bank’s next interest rate policy update, and believes that current rates are already sufficient to slow the economy.
Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the IMF, stated on Friday at the World Economic Forum that the global economic outlook has improved from a few months ago, but is still not positive. “Less bad does not mean good,” she said. During the closing panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, moderated by CNBC, Georgieva emphasized the need for caution, “We have to be cautious,” she said.
On Monday, the Dow began the day with an increase as investors evaluated the possibility of a slowdown or pause from the Federal Reserve and prepared for a hectic earnings week. Shares in Asia rose overnight, however, many markets in the region were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, including those in Shanghai for the entire week.