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Marketmind: O Canada! Markets wary of Fed hawkish surprise

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A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Ankur Banerjee

Another day, another surprise hike. After the Reserve Bank of Australia’s surprise earlier this week, it was the Bank of Canada’s turn to stun markets with a 25 basis-point hike that led traders to dial back expectations of the U.S. Federal Reserve standing pat next week and sweat over the policy outlook.

Broader consensus is that the Fed will do at least one more hike. The question is whether it comes next week or in July. The CME FedWatch tool showed the probability of the Fed hiking by 25 bps next week is 36%, it was 22% a day earlier.

More than 90% of economists, 78 of 86, polled by Reuters said the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee would hold its federal funds rate at 5.00% to 5.25% next week. More than a third though expect the Fed to raise rates at least once more this year.

And so, investors are in a tetchy mood, with the MSCI Asia ex-Japan a bit lower, the U.S. dollar index flattish and U.S. Treasuries holding on to gains in Asian trade.

With a light data calendar and futures pointing to a mixed open in Europe, markets could drift on Thursday. Next week’s series of central bank meetings will remain at the forefront of market minds.

Meanwhile, revised data showed Japan’s economy grew more than initially thought in January-March, helping the yen strengthen.

In the corporate world, GameStop ousted its CEO and made Ryan Cohen, the billionaire investor whose bet on the video retailer made him popular among meme stock traders, its executive chairman.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong hit back at U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler over the agency’s lawsuit against the crypto exchange, calling him an “outlier” while reassuring customers their funds were safe.

Key developments that could influence markets on Thursday:

Economic events: euro zone Q1 GDP and employment data

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Singapore; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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