US stocks closed mixed around the flat territory as market participants grappled with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s second comments from Capitol Hill, as well as a slew of economic data ahead of next week’s Labor & Inflation data; a bellwether for future interest and rate decisions. Powell reaffirmed his message from Tuesday, of the need to impose higher and potentially faster interest rate hikes, given the economic data released before this month’s FOMC Meeting. The Fed Funds Future recently started to factor in an 80% chance for the Fed to raise its rates by 50 bps. The US JOLTs Job Opening reported 10.842 million job openings in Jan., higher than the forecast of 10.5 million, although lower than the previous period of 11.234 million. Meanwhile, ADP Nonfarm Employment Change recorded an increase in private sector workers, rising by 242K during February (higher than the forecast: 200K & previous: 119K). This data could indicate employment data in the government sector (US Nonfarm Payroll) on Friday. From Europe, the Eurozone reported their 4Q22 GDP grew only 1.8% (lower than forecast & previous quarter).

JCI closed slightly higher by 9,612 points/0.142% at 6776.37 as the Consumer Confidence Index (Feb.) data was released at 122.4, slightly down from 123 in the previous month. The JCI bounce back from the low of 6728.95 was supported by a Foreign Net Buy of IDR 376.88 billion, resulting in the Closing position of a long-leg Hammer-like candle (bullish reversal) at the Support area as the RSI indicator approached the Oversold area. NHKSI RESEARCH predicts that the market will still move relatively volatile (or slow), welcoming the release of important economic data today from Asia (Japan GDP 4Q22 & China CPI Feb.) and the US (Initial Jobless Claims).

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