LIVE MARKETS-A (UK) Dream of Spring
Feb 5 - Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of markets brought to you by Reuters reporters. You can share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A (UK) DREAM OF SPRING (1004 EST/1504 GMT)
A Dream of Spring is expected to be the last novel of George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy saga which was adapted to the screen in HBO's Game of Thrones.
A lot of the action is set during a winter which lasts for years and during which an army of zombies march through the civil war-torn continent of Westeros, a fictitious land which looks very much like a map of Great Britain and Ireland turned upside down.
Granted, COVID-19 isn't on the same scale as a horde of living dead in terms of catastrophes but the UK would also be entitled to dream of spring as it battles through a most deadly winter.
And hope there is!
"Beginning with schools and non-essential shops, we expect the UK to start the stepwise reopening process by mid-March", Berenberg's team of economists said in note looking into the prospects of the UK economy going back to normal.
There's been a lot of good news lately: the lockdown is working and "based on the recent five day average, recorded infections could be at summer 2020 levels within two weeks".
That good trend comes as Britain is emerging as one of the most successful countries in vaccinating its population with hopes that 15 million people most at risk will have had a jab in the arm come mid-February.
Spring in itself should also help fight the pandemic with "the normal remission of seasonal respiratory viruses" according to the research note.
Looking further ahead, it gets even better as the vaccine rollout continues to do its thing.
"By summer, almost all of the economically significant restrictions are likely to be lifted – perhaps with some exceptions such as public events at full capacity", the Berenberg team of economists believe.
Here's Berenberg's chart showing how infections are expected to drop going forward:
WALL STREET POINTS UP WITH STIMULUS, JOBS INTERTWINED (0905 EST/1405 GMT)
S&P e-mini futures EScv1 are pointing to a higher open on Friday as Democrats pushed ahead with their plans for approving COVID-19 stimulus and data showed January jobs growth was slightly below expectations and prior month revisions were on the bleak side.
Indeed, U.S. employment growth rebounded slightly less than expected in January and job losses the prior month were deeper than initially thought, strengthening the argument for additional relief money from the government to aid the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. nL1N2KA34D
While rising wages and average work week indicated to Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute that things may not be as bad as they seem, he also pointed to a need for government support.
"Job growth slowed markedly in January, and the previous two months’ revisions were also to the downside. It is worth noting that the unemployment and underemployment rates both fell, however some of that may be due to a decrease in the participation rate," said Samana.
"These data points show that the labor market has softened in the past few months and the need for fiscal stimulus remains high."
The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Friday on final passage of a budget resolution that would allow Democrats in Congress to approve President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without Republican support, a Democratic leadership aide said. nL1N2KB170
Here is your premarket snapshot:
FOR FRIDAY'S LIVE MARKETS' POSTS PRIOR TO 0900 EST/1400 GMT - CLICK HERE: L8N2KB47I