Stocks advance while GBP slides after data

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 UK retail sales print misses expectations  
 European stocks head for the biggest weekly gain in over a year  
 US data in the afternoon may spur increased volatility on USD tied FX pairs  
 
Friday’s afternoon on the markets is set to be calm as the most important piece of that has been already released. European stocks advance following muted Asian session due to Lunar New Year holiday. AUD is the strongest currency among its G10 peers while GBP underperforms on the back of data miss. Gold and oil trade slightly higher on the back of USD weakness.


UK retail sales came in well below market expectations in January both in a monthly and yearly basis as consumers still felt a wage squeeze due to elevated price growth. However, interest rate traders remained remarkably calm as the likelihood for an increase in June just barely decreased in the aftermath of the release.


Following upbeat moods seen yesterday in the US European stock markets set for another day of gains. In the first hours of session all the major benchmarks from the Old Continent has traded higher with gains ranging from 0.6% to even 1.5%. When it comes to politics European traders may want to stay cautious in the afternoon as Angela Merkel and Theresa May will hold Brexit talks in Berlin.


The Bitcoin price has been able to breach a $10k mark for the first time this month but it’s failed to stay there for a longer period of time. What’s more, from a technical standpoint one cannot rule out a pullback as the digital currency has already faced a notable resistance being additionally underpinned by an upper boundary of an ascending channel.


The US dollar might see its fifth consecutive daily decrease when we take a look at the broad Bloomberg Index. Beyond the US dollar thread it’s worth mentioning that Haruhiko Kuroda has been nominated by the country’s government for his another term in office as BoJ governor.
The remaining economic calendar for today looks calm as the UK retail sales data has been already released in the morning. However, we will get some semi-important readings from the US economy including ones concerning housing market.