LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.
The Trump trade is well and truly back, especially in equities. All three major U.S. indices - the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq - are at record highs, Japan’s Nikkei had its best week in two months, and MSCI’s global stock index hit its highest since May 2015. The dollar had its best week in two months. The catalyst was Trump’s promise that he will announce a “phenomenal” tax plan soon, which soothed markets unnerved earlier by his controversial immigration ban. U.S. bond yields rose on Thursday and Friday, their first consecutive daily rise since Jan 24-25. But there’s a little more caution in bonds than stocks or FX - yields had their biggest weekly fall this year, and second biggest since September. More of the same next week, or not? It’s hard to say what Trump might say next. As Fitch said on Friday, “U.S. policy predictability has diminished”.
* Trump vows ‘phenomenal’ tax announcement, offers no details
* Wall St hits record high on Trump tax talk
* Dollar touches 10-day high before Trump-Abe meeting
The coming week brings fresh inflation data from the United States, China and Britain. Market measures of inflation expectations have been rising in major developed economies, except Japan, since the middle of 2016 largely in line with oil prices. In moving closer to central bank targets, this has sparked talk of tighter policy and pushed bond yields higher. Less tax and more spending in the United States can only be expected to exacerbate this trend. Economists polled by Reuters expect Chinese producer prices to have risen 6.3 percent in January year-on-year, having been in decline just four months earlier.
* China Jan data to show inflation picking up
* Bank of England’s Forbes breaks ranks, says rates could rise soon
* BOJ sees improvements in economy but warns on inflation expectations
* G7 data calendar, China data calendar
Emerging investors will be waiting to get more clarity and clues about the shape and health of world trade - the fuel for much economic growth across developing economies in recent decades. China’s surprisingly strong trade data for January lifted the mood, marking a healthy start to the year for the world’s largest trading nation. A possible stimulus boost from U.S. President Donald Trump promising to announce the most ambitious tax reform plan since the Reagan era in weeks to come added to the positive mood. Yet the protectionist rhetoric is still abundant as top policymakers meet in Baden-Baden, Germany, next month for the first G20 meeting with the new U.S. administration.
* Robust China trade data a boon for Asia as protectionist risks loom
* China, NZ pledge support for free trade to counter global protectionism
Greece is the word again in euro zone finance ministries as its lenders try to agree what the perennially cash-strapped country needs do to qualify for the next tranche of bailout money it needs in order to repay bondholders. Greece must pay 7.5 billion euros on maturing bonds in July and market pricing in recent days has suggested some anxiety that the money will not be forthcoming. A key problem this time is that the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund have been at loggerheads over what to require of Greece in turn for more funds under its third bailout. While that now looks closer to a resolution, some investors have nonetheless express concerned over the potential for a default “by accident”.
* Greece’s lenders move to patch up differences on bailout, Athens may baulk
* Investors fear “accident” as Greek debt repayment nears
* Lagarde says IMF “ruthless truth tellers” on Greece’s economy
5 / IT‘S A DEAL
European M&A, which is enjoying its best start to the year in more than a decade, is showing little sign of easing up. Reckitt Benckiser’s $16.6 billion proposed buyout of Mead Johnson is the latest in a string of megadeals. If the current pace of M&A is maintained, deal-making could rise to a post-crisis high of $1 trillion, according to Deutsche Bank. Returning corporate confidence as growth and inflation expectations tick higher, as well as companies flush with cash, are stoking the M&A flames. M&A is also keeping equity market valuations underpinned. The flipside to this argument, a potential risk for equity prices, is that companies are “front-loading” activity so as to avoid any hiccups that a busy political calendar, which includes elections in France and Germany and Brexit talks, may bring on.
* Reckitt finalises deal to buy Mead Johnson for $16.6 bln
* Global M&A and stock markets:reut.rs/2kbnfdx
* European M&A activity hit 11-year high in January
Compiled by Nigel Stephenson; Editing by Dominic Evans