Earlier in the day the S&P credit agency cut Russia’s rating to “Junk” for the first time in decades causing the Ruble to tumble 7.5%. The downgrade comes as European countries are preparing further sanctions in response to the recent clashes in eastern Ukraine. Most Asian markets, however, extended their gains today led by the Nikkei 225 which received a boost from a depreciating Yen. Australian shares also rallied with the Aussie trading just below $0.80 as investors anticipate an imminent rate cut by the RBA.
Investors will be impacted by a deluge of economic indicators as the first FOMC meeting of the year gets under way. Durable goods orders have just been released, showing a monthly decline of 3.4% in December.