There are a lot of important things going on today in global markets. In the U.S., investors will keep a close eye on fresh growth figures as well as weekly unemployment claims. Elsewhere, in Europe, elections are under way in Catalonia, Spain where the race for the parliament should be close until the end. Global stocks are relatively calm on a light pre-holiday trading day. There are the top things to know for today.

 

There are a lot of important things going on today in global markets. In the U.S., investors will keep a close eye on fresh growth figures as well as weekly unemployment claims. Elsewhere, in Europe, elections are under way in Catalonia, Spain where the race for the parliament should be close until the end. Global stocks are relatively calm on a light pre-holiday trading day. There are the top things to know for today.

 

1. Markets focus on U.S. GDP

The U.S. is to release final figures on third quarter economic growth at 13:30 GMT Thursday.

The data is expected to confirm that the economy expanded by 3.3% in the three months ended September 30, unchanged from a preliminary estimate. It grew by 3.1% in the second quarter.

It’s worthwhile to keep in mind that this is the third reading for the July to September period, making it lagging data. But still, the data will reflect how the economy has been fairing under the Trump administration.

The advanced estimate for fourth quarter GDP will not be released until January 26 and markets are already pricing in assumptions from the impact of just-passed tax reform whose impact is expected to arrive next year.

2. Dollar steady at 2-week lows

The dollar held steady neat two-and-a-half week lows against other majors currencies on Thursday, as optimism surrounding U.S. tax reform plans continued to wind down ahead of the Christmas holiday.

Investors in the greenback appeared to also be hold ahead of a data dump set for later in the day.

Apart from the GDP revision, weekly jobless claims and the Philly Fed manufacturing index for December will be among top tier data released at 13:30 GMT.

At 11:35GMT, the U.S. dollar index was unchanged at 92.94.

3. Catalonia goes to vote


European markets and the Euro were relatively calm on Thursday as investors watched developments in Spain.

An election in Catalonia, which has become a de facto referendum on its independence movement, was underway in the Spanish autonomous region.

The secession movement has been significantly diminished but the outlook for the regional elections were far from certain with large factions for both remaining in Spain or leaving running head-to-head.

If pro-independence parties gain the victory, the path with be set for future movements towards Catalan independence.

The Ibex 35, the Spanish stock benchmark showed little worries, trading mostly unchanged along with other equity indices in the wider euro area. Likewise, the euro traded flat against the dollar.

4. Global stocks on holiday mode

Global stocks offered a muted reception on Thursday to the passage of U.S. tax cuts as investors begin to wind down trading activity before the Christmas and New Year holidays.

European bourses saw mixed trade as markets focused on elections in Spain’s Catalonia and investors digested the passage of U.S. tax reform.

Earlier, Asian shares also closed with mixed signs. China’s Shanghai Composite ended Thursday with gains of 0.38%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed down 0.11%.

Wall Street also pointed to a muted open with trading expected to continue to thin as the holidays neared.