March 30, 2012
Sentiment is up this morning as European stocks extend their biggest Q1 advance since 2006 and the euro is gaining while default risk falls as euro-area finance ministers meet regarding increasing rescue funds. Officials are nearing an agreement to increase the upper limit on emergency lending to €800B euros until mid-2013. The Euro Stoxx 50 is up +0.91%, the euro is trading +0.4% higher, and sovereign debt yields are mixed. S&P 500 futures are +0.449% in the green and Treasuries are up +0.5bps to 2.164%, staying above the 2.15% support level.
Today’s Economic Data Lineup (EST)
8:30am: Personal income, Feb., est. 0.4% (prior 0.3%)
8:30am: Personal spending, Feb., est. 0.6% (prior 0.2%)
9:45am: Chicago Purchasing Mgr, Mar., est. 63.0 (prior 64.0)
9:55am: UMich Confidence, Mar. F, est. 74.6 (prior 74.3)
10am: NAPM Milwaukee, Mar., est. 58.0 (prior 58.6)
1pm: Baker Hughes rig count
- A report today is likely to show consumer spending climbed in February as an improving job market prompted Americans to buy more cars, according to economists.
- Natural gas plunged to a fresh 10yr low in Thursday trading after the U.S. reported a larger-than-expected increase in natural gas inventories as demand remains weak. Futures plunged -5.8% to $2.149.
- U.K. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to -31 from -29 in February as households braced for George Osborne’s budget after his pledge to maintain his austerity push. The median estimate from 19 economists was for no change in confidence numbers.
- German retail sales unexpectedly fell for a second month amid rising energy costs which have damaged household purchasing power. Adjusted for inflation and seasonality, sales fell -1.1% from January; economists were forecasting a gain of +1.1%.
- A cold snap in France has raised consumer spending for the first time in four months as energy consumption increased. Spending climbed +3% from January versus estimates of +0.5% from 20 economists.
- Inflation in Italy rose to the highest in five months as higher energy costs and increased taxed offset the effect of the slumping economy on prices. The inflation rate rose to 3.8% from 3.4% in February; economists had predicted 3.3% for March.
- Japan’s industrial production unexpectedly dropped this past February, undercutting signs of an economic rebound. Factory output slid -1.2% from the previous month after a +1.9% gain in January.
- Japan’s Ministry of Finance said on its website today that Japan refrained from selling yen in the FX market this month. The yen was nearing a nine-month low against the dollar amid speculation the BOJ may further ease policy.
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