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    MORNING BELL: Yellen questions banks' ethics

    The British pound climbed higher on Tuesday after the Construction PMI data rose to a better than expected 60.1. This is a four month high for the industry growth and it helped shed some light towards a better economic start for 2015. The euro on the other hand has been trading low key as it waits for the ECB policy meeting on Thursday. Investors’ attention is on what the ECB will go for – whether to make sure the 60 billion monthly target is reached, or to ensure that the secondary market’s function is maintained.

    A day after the RBA decided to leave rates unchanged, Australia’s fourth quarter GDP data came out short of expectations, growing by 0.5% instead of 0.7%. The moderate growth was supported by strong trade performance and the biggest increase in consumer spending in the past three years. Coming up early on Thursday are the Retail Sales data and the Trade Balance, due at 00:30 GMT.

    Fed Chair Yellen spoke at the Citizens Budget Commission Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday. Her most notable comment was on whether Wall Street’s values and ethical behavior have improved at all during the past few years. She stressed that despite the many improvements of financial institutions and the Central Bank, both should continue to fix their internal governance, or the Fed will have to take action. As the US dollar held near eleven-year highs, gold managed to slightly escape on Wednesday from its two day losing streak.



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