Leap Day trading now finds the FTSE and US index futures for the Dow and S&P down only 0.2-0.4% and tending higher. The Dax is still down about 1.0% held back by a surprise decline in German retail sales.

Trading in other markets has been mixed as well. Crude oil is trading moderately higher amid reports Nigeria and other OPEC countries have been coming on side for a potential meeting on freezing production in March. Oil currencies like CAD, NOK and RUB are trading down slightly against a climbing USD. There have been moderate defensive flows today with JPY and gold also among the stronger performers. Sterling continues to stabilize but remains well below $1.4000.

Today begins a big week for economic news with Canada producer prices and US Chicago PMI due this morning. Tonight brings an RBA interest rate decision in Australia (no change expected) with global manufacturing PMI reports Tuesday, US ADP payrolls Wednesday, heading toward US and Canada employment reports on Friday.

Mining and resource exploration stocks may also be active over the next couple of days with the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference underway in Toronto, a time when explorers like to announce assay results and make a big splash at the show.  

News this week may continue to impact speculation on what moves the Fed, ECB and Bank of Japan may make at their meetings later this month.

Corporate News

There are no major corporate announcements so far this morning.

Economic News

Significant announcements released overnight include:

China PBOC reserve requirement    surprise 0.50% cut to 17.00%

Japan retail sales            (0.1%) vs street 0.1%
Japan industrial production        (3.8%) as expected vs previous (1.9%)
Japan vehicle production        (5.8%) vs precious (2.3%)
Japan housing starts            0.2% vs street (0.3%)
Japan construction orders        (13.8%) vs previous 14.8%

Germany retail sales            (0.8%) vs street 1.8%
Norway retail sales            0.9% vs street 0.3%
Greece retail sales            (0.1%) vs street (3.8%)

Sweden GDP                4.5% vs street 3.6%
Poland GDP                3.9% unchanged
Greece GDP                (0.7%) vs street (2.0%)

Eurozone consumer prices        (0.2%) vs street 0.0%
Eurozone core CPI            0.7% vs street 0.9%

NZ ANZ business confidence        7.1 vs previous 23.0
NZ ANZ activity outlook            25.5 vs previous 34.4


Upcoming significant announcements include:

1:00 pm GMT        Germany consumer prices    street 0.1%

8:30 am EDT        Canada industrial prices        street 0.0%
8:30 am EDT        Canada raw material prices    street (3.3%)

9:45 am EDT        US Chicago PMI        street 52.5 vs previous 55.6
10:00 am EDT        US pending home sales        street 4.1%

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