Some of the fears that had gripped markets like a polar vortex since the start of the year started to ease a bit Wednesday on positive news from both sides of the Atlantic. German employment was better than expected, indicating conditions there are not quite as bad as had been thought. Also there was some talk that Germany could be open to discussing Greece’s debt situation after the election, easing political fears a bit. Finally, Eurozone core inflation rose slightly, taking some of the pressure off the ECB to act soon on stimulus. These developments propelled the Dax to a 1.5% gain, although EURUSD continued to weaken. In the US, ADP payrolls beat the street and came in toward the high end of the optimal Goldilocks 200K-250K. this means that jobs continue to grow at a good clip indicating a strong economy but not so good that the Fed would be forced to act sooner than mid-year on interest rates. FOMC minutes, meanwhile, had no surprises but did confirm that “patient” means a couple of meetings so the Fed appears likely to remain on hold through its June meeting. US energy inventories were mixed today with a big drop in crude oil stocks offset by a big rise in gasoline stockpiles. WTI has been bouncing around below $50 through much of the day today while $50.00 support held for Brent on its first test. Gold dropped back a bit on the day. Overall, markets appear to have paused their recent moves today, but it’s too early to say if this is a rest stop or the start of a turnaround. Except for the Bank of England meeting (who is widely expected to stand pat) news flow for the next 24 hours is looking pretty light so we may see traders take stock and position as they await Friday’s potentially explosive US nonfarm payrolls report. Corporate News There has been no major corporate news after the US close today. Economic News Significant announcements released overnight include: US ADP payrolls 241K vs street 225K US trade balance ($39.0B) vs street ($42.0B) US crude oil inventories (3.1 mmbbls) vs street 0.7 mmbbls US gasoline inventories 8.1 mmbbls vs previous 3.0 mmbbls Canada trade balance ($0.6B) vs street ($0.2B) Canada Ivey PMI 55.4 vs street 53.0 and previous 56.9 Germany retail sales 1.0% vs street 0.6% Germany unemployment change (27K) vs street (5K) Germany unemployment rate 6.5% vs street 6.6% Italy unemployment rate 13.4% vs street 13.3% Eurozone unemployment rate 11.5% as expected Eurozone consumer prices (0.2%) vs street (0.1%) Eurozone core CPI 0.8% vs street 0.7% Upcoming significant announcements include: 11:30 am AEDT Australia building permits previous 2.5% 7:00 am GMT Germany factory orders previous 2.4% 8:00 am GMT UK Halifax house prices street 8.0% 10:00 am GMT Eurozone producer prices previous (1.3%) 10:00 am GMT Eurozone retail sales previous 1.4% 12:00 pm GMT UK interest rate and QE 0.50% and £375B no change expected 8:30 am EST US jobless claims street 290K 8:30 am EST Canada new house prices previous 1.6% 10:30 am EST US natural gas previous (26 BCF)