Job applicants wait in line at a technology job fair in Los Angeles. Photo: Reuters

Payroll employment growth came in lower than expected in the US at 148,000 in December vs. a consensus expectation of 190,000 (and an ADP report on private payroll growth of 250,000).

The biggest change in the detailed data was the loss of 20,300 retail jobs after seasonal adjustment, which means that seasonal hiring wasn’t as buoyant as it used to be. Average hourly earnings growth remains subdued at 2.5% year-on-year.

Interest rates in the US are nearly unchanged.

In Europe, a lower-than-expected eurozone inflation report gave a small bounce to bonds of weaker European countries. The logic is that low inflation means that the European Central Bank will keep quantitative easing going a bit longer, and that will benefit Italy, Spain and Portugal most.