Stocks and particularly commodities have had a very rough ride Friday after the IMF cut its growth forecast for the US to 1.7% from 2.0%. US retail sales and consumer confidence also came in worse than expected which just added more fuel to the bearish cause. Downward pressure was strongest in the morning and markets have come up off their lows into the afternoon. Crude oil has been hit the hardest with both US and UK crude staging major breakdowns today. Unbelievably natural gas has bucked the trend and rallied to a new 52-week high but remains vulnerable with the extended heating season forecast to wind down next week. The biggest action today was in precious metals where silver fell over 5% at one point and both gold and platinum broke down through $1,500 although gold was able to quickly regain that level after stops washed through. This action sets the stage for a potentially very busy Monday for Asia Pacific trading. The day could start out weak as regional markets catch up to today’s European and North American action. An early selloff could complete a washout of weak hands in commodities. There is also the potential for a lot of action and a potential reversal in the afternoon when traders have the chance to react to a number of key Chinese economic reports, particularly Q1 GDP. Scheduled releases for Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and Japan could also impact local market trading. Economic News Highlights of overnight announcements include: US retail sales (0.4%) over month street flat US producer prices 1.1% vs street 1.4% US Michigan consmr cnfdnce 72.3 vs street 78.5 Upcoming significant announcements include: 8:30 am AEST NZ Performance services index previous 55.5 11:30 am AEST Australia home loans street 1.5% 12:00 pm AEST China Q1 GDP street 8.0% vs previous 7.9% 12:00 pm AEST China industrial production street 10.1% 12:00 pm AEST China retail sales street 12.6% 2:30 pm AEST Japan industrial production previous (11.0%) 3:00 pm AEST Singapore retail sales street (3.4%) 8:30 am EDT US Empire manufacturing index street 7.00 9:00 am EDT Canada existing home sales previous (2.1%)