• Asian shares started firmer on Monday while gold hit another record high in a busy week for economic data that will test market wagers for early and aggressive rate cuts from major central banks next year.
  • In particular, the U.S. November payrolls report on Friday needs to be solid enough to support the soft-landing scenario, but not so strong as to threaten the chance of easing. Median forecasts are for payrolls to rise 180,000, keeping unemployment steady at 3.9 percent.
  • MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was still up 0.6 percent, led by gains in South Korea and Australia. Japan’s Nikkei dipped 0.4 percent as the yen extended recent gains.
  • S&P 500 futures were flat, after finishing at a 20-month high on Friday, while Nasdaq futures lost 0.2 percent. The S&P 500 is up 19 percent for the year so far and just 4 percent away from its all-time peak.