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The Day Ahead: Top 3 Things To Watch

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by: Investing.com

Here’s a preview of the top 3 things that could rock markets Friday.

US macro data on tap

A duo of U.S. economic reports on retail sales and manufacturing due Friday will be closely watched for signs of continued strength in the U.S. economy amid growing expectations of solid third-quarter economic growth.

Economists forecast the Commerce Department’s report on retail sales to show a gain of 0.1% in August.

The New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index – a gauge of New York-area manufacturing – is expected to show a decline in August from the previous month.

The U.S. macro data comes ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee policy meeting slated for Sept. 19-20, when members will vote on whether to raise or lower interest rates.

The dollar dropped against its rivals on Thursday.

Cryptocurrency exodus in the spotlight

The cryptocurrency exodus continued on Thursday as bitcoin fell more than 10% after Chinese bitcoin exchange BTCChina said on Thursday it would cease trading from Sept. 30.

The announcement fuelled fears of a wider ban on Chinese bitcoin exchanges following a statement from the National Internet Finance Association of China (NIFA) Wednesday, claiming that “financial and social risks [of bitcoin exchanges] cannot be ignored.”

Chinese regulators, however, are yet to confirm any plan to shut down local exchanges but the statement from NIFA supports recent media reports warning that the decision had already been made.

Baker Hughes rig count

The weekly instalment of drilling activity from Baker Hughes (BHGE) on Friday will provide investors with fresh insight into U.S. oil production and demand, after the number of active drilling rigs has slowed in recent weeks.

The weekly rig count is an important barometer for the drilling industry and serves as a proxy for oil production and oil services demand.

At Thursday’s settlement price, crude futures settled just shy of $50 a barrel and remained on track for a second consecutive weekly gain. The uptick in sentiment on oil prices comes amid growing expectations that surging global oil demand would help offset the glut in supply.

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