- Global stocks are mostly lower with the European Euro Stoxx 50 index down -0.12% and June S&Ps up +3.50 points. The dollar is little changed and Treasuries are weaker on inflation concerns as the difference in yield between 10-year T-notes and 10-year TIPS widened to 2.66 percentage points, the highest in 3 years, while the 10-year German bund yield climbed to a 1-1/2 year high of 3.50%. Crude oil is lower after the African Union said Libyan leader Ghaddafi agreed to a plan that called for a cease-fire, which boosted speculation that crude exports may recover. The euro weakened on renewed European sovereign-debt concerns after German Finance Minister Schaeuble said it is "unclear" whether Greece will need another cut in its bailout rate or a further extension of repayment terms to return to fiscal health. Weakness in carmakers led European stocks lower after the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said sales may grow at a slower pace than previously forecast this year. This led Credit Suisse Group AG to downgrade the sector to "benchmark," saying it's cautious on stocks that are more reliant on economic growth.
- The Asian stock markets today closed mostly lower with Japan down -0.50%, Hong Kong -0.38% China -0.59%, Taiwan -0.16%, Australia +0.62%, Singapore -0.84%, South Korea -0.20%, India -0.97%. Japanese stocks closed lower, led by declines in automakers, after Citigroup downgraded Japan's auto sector to "sell" from "buy," saying investors have yet to price in the impact on earnings from Japan's quake crisis. A German government official said the IMF will lower its forecast for economic growth for the US and Japan when the IMF publishes its World Economic Outlook later today in Washington. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said damage from Japan's quake crisis would probably amount to between 3.0% and 5.0% of the country's GDP. After the Asian markets closed, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit Japan about 35 miles from Tokyo Electric's stricken nuclear power plant, causing fires and power disruptions. Strong Chinese exports last month may prompt the PBOC into additional interest rate hikes and increases in banks' reserve requirement ratios after Mar China exports surged +35.8% y/y, stronger than expectations of +23.4% y/y.
- June S&Ps this morning are trading up +3.50 points. The US stock market last Friday gyrated between slight gains and losses and finished lower as the surge in crude oil prices to a 2-1/2 year high boosted energy producers but dragged down transportation and consumer companies: Dow Jones -0.24%, S&P 500 -0.40%, Nasdaq Composite -0.56%. The S&P 500 climbed to a 1-1/2 month high and the Dow posted a 2-3/4 year high but they both gave up gains and closed lower. Bearish factors for stocks included (1) weakness in airline stocks on concern the surge in jet fuel prices will undercut earnings, (2) comments from Dallas Fed President Fisher who said the Fed is "near a tipping point" and risks over-stimulating the economy and generating inflation, (3) concern the government may shut down for the first time in 15 years as Congress remained divided over a federal budget, and (4) the increase in the 10-year T-note yield to a 1-3/4 month high of 3.614%.
- Bullish factors included (1) carry-over strength from gains in European stocks after Feb German exports rose more than forecast, (2) a rally in energy and raw-material producers as the weak dollar prompted a broad-based gains in commodities with gold at a record high and crude at a 2-1/2 year high, and (3) comments from Atlanta Fed President Lockhart who said the Fed should be "patient" in withdrawing stimulus due to the fragile quality to the economy.
- June 10-year T-notes this morning are trading down -4.5 ticks. T-note prices last Friday tumbled to a 2-month low on mounting inflation concerns and hawkish Fed speak: TYM11 -3, FVM11 -3, EDU11 +1.0. The 10-year T-note yield rose to a 1-3/4 month high of 3.614%. Bearish factors included (1) increased inflation concerns after the difference in yields between 10-year T-notes and TIPS widened to a 3-year high of 2.64 percentage points, (2) comments from Dallas Fed President Fisher who said the Fed is "near a tipping point" and risks over-stimulating the economy and generating inflation, and (3) carry-over weakness from the plunge in bund prices as the 10-year German bund yield rose to a 1-1/2 year high of 3.496%. A supportive factor for Treasuries was comments from Atlanta Fed President Lockhart who said the Fed should be "patient" in withdrawing stimulus due to the fragile quality to the economy.
- The dollar index this morning is higher with the dollar/yen -0.07 yen and the euro/dollar -0.27 cents. The dollar index last Friday plunged to a 16-month low on the dollar's negative interest rate differentials along with strong exports from Germany: Dollar Index -0.513, USDJPY -0.167, EURUSD -0.01759. Bullish factors included (1) strength in the euro which rallied to a 14-3/4 month high against the dollar after Feb German exports rose more than expected to their best level in 5 months, (2) supportive interest rate differentials for the euro with the 3-month Euribor rate rising to a 1-3/4 year high of 1.294%, (3) strength in the British pound which rallied to a 14-1/2 month high against the dollar after Mar UK PPI output prices rose +5.4% y/y, their fastest pace of increase in 29 months, and (4) dollar negative comments from Atlanta Fed President Lockhart who said the Fed should be "patient" in withdrawing stimulus due to the fragile quality to the economy. A bearish factor were comments from ECB President Trichet who attempted to jawbone the dollar higher when he said that it's important that the US dollar is a "strong currency.
- May crude oil prices this morning are trading down -97 cents a barrel and May gasoline is -3.30 cents per gallon. Crude oil and gasoline prices last Friday rallied sharply as the dollar plunged and fighting intensified in Libya: CLK11 +$2.49, RBK11 +7.42. May crude posted a 2-1/2 year high and May gasoline soared to a 2-3/4 year high. Bullish factors included (1) the plunge in the dollar index to a 16-month low, which bolsters investment demand for commodities, (2) the ongoing strife in Libya with the prediction from Barclays Capital that damage to oilfields in Libya by forces loyal to Mummar Qaddafi are the "ultimate blow" to hopes for a prompt resumption of exports, and will help send oil prices towards $130 a barrel, and (3) the larger-than-expected increase in Feb German exports which boosts confidence in the global economic outlook and energy demand. A bearish factor was the report from JBC Energy GmbH that a jump in oil prices to an average of $125 a barrel this year may erode the economic recovery and reduce crude demand by 700,000 barrels a day.
Global Financial Calendar
|0515 ET||New York Fed President William Dudley speaks on financial reform to the Institute of Regulation & Risk North Asia in Tokyo.|
|1130 ET||Weekly 3-mo and 6-mo T-bill auctions.|
|1215 ET||Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen speaks to the Economic Club of New York.|
|0245 ET||Feb French industrial production expected +0.5% m/m and +5.2% y/y, Jan +1.0% m/m and +5.4% y/y.|
|0245 ET||Feb French manufacturing production expected +0.7% m/m and +6,4% y/y, Jan +1.8% m/m and +6.8% y/y.|
|1130 ET||ECB Council member Axel Weber speaks in Bochum, Germany on ?The Role of Economic Policy after the Crisis.?|
|1901 ET||Mar UK RICS house price balance expected ?24%, Feb ?26%.|