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For the most part, stocks, commodities and currencies have been holding steady overnight and into this morning. US Index futures, the Dax, WTI crude oil and major currency pairs are all pretty much flat as traders look ahead to the Easter and Passover holidays. 

There weren't any major surprises in Fed Chair Yellen's speech late Monday. She indicated the Fed has shifted from healing the economy to supporting the expansion with its foot lightly on the gas pedal not pushed to the floor any more. She indicated wanting to keep ahead of t‎he curve. Based on this it looks like interest rate normalization is likely to continue. 

The FTSE is up 0.5% today as UK consumer inflation levelled off and producer price inflation eased a bit, reducing some of the pressure to raise rates off the Bank of England. Reports of weak Q1 UK retail sales from the BRC could impact retail stocks, but part of this could be due to timing as Easter was in March last year. 

Gold is trading up 0.3% today indicating some concern about political risk may be emerging. Syria remains front and centre amid accusations out of the US that Russia knew Syria was going to use chemical weapons and did nothing to stop it ahead of Secretary of State Tillerson's visit to Moscow. Tensions surrounding North Korea continue to swirl with the US and China moving military into the region.

There are no major economic announcements scheduled for North America today, so politics and anticipation of events later in the week could influence trading today.

United Airlines shares could come under heavy pressure today after a video was aired on national newscasts and social media overnight showing a paying passenger being hauled forcibly out of their seat, smashed into an armrest, dragged down the aisle and then evicted from an overbooked aircraft in order to make way for others. The airline’s attempt to explain itself came off as feeble and unrepentant at best in my opinion. This suggests that in the wake of breaking guitars and chasing away girls in leggings, United has apparently decided to take contempt for passengers to a whole new low which could negatively impact its ability to attract passengers and revenues in future. 


Corporate News

There have been no major corporate announcements this morning.


Economic News

Significant announcements released overnight include:


UK consumer prices            street 2.3%
UK core CPI                street 1.9%
UK retail prices                street 3.2%
UK producer input prices        street 17.0%
UK producer outpour prices        street 3.4%
UK house prices            street 6.1%

Eurozone industrial production        street 1.9%

Germany ZEW current situation        street 77.5
Germany ZEW expectations        street 14.8

Australia NAB business conditions    previous 9
Australia NAB business confidence    previous 7

 

Upcoming significant economic announcements include:

1:45 pm EDT        FOMC Kashkari speaking

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