March came in like a Lion for stocks and appears to be going out like a lamb with most major markets around the world in decline Friday. US index futures are down 0.2%, the Dax is down 0.1%, the FTSE is down 0.5% while the Nikkei and Hang Seng fell 0.8%. Copper is down 0.5% while crude oil is down 0.7%. In currency markets, the US Dollar is up slightly against pretty much everything except gold.
There has been a flood of economic data overnight and results have been mixed. China manufacturing and service PMI was better than expected. Japanese household spending fell dramatically while industrial production was better than expected. In Europe, declines in German and Spanish retail sales were offset by a stronger than expected German employment report.
Brexit remains in the spotlight with the EU's response to Article 50 in focus. Reports indicate the EU wants to settle the bill on divorce terms first before negotiating a new trade arrangement, the UK has been pushing to do both at the same time. The EU is expected to hold a summit in late April to decide on its negotiating stance with talks expected to start in the second half of May. Expect to see more overtures, threats, speculation and trial balloons disguised as leaks in the coming weeks.
It's the last day of the week, month, quarter and fiscal year for many financial companies so we could see position adjustments and trading swings in both directions through the day. There are more Fed speakers due and traders may digest President Trump's initial draft outline of what the US wants to get out of renegotiating NAFTA along with additional Executive Orders on trade expected today.
There is more economic news on the way which could move markets including Canada monthly GDP for January, US monthly core PCE inflation (an indicator the Fed uses) and Chicago PMI, another prelude to the manufacturing PMI due from around the world Sunday night and Monday morning.
There have been no major announcements in North America this morning.
Significant announcements released overnight include:
China manufacturing PMI 51.8 vs street 51.7
China non-manufacturing PMI 55.1 vs previous 54.2
Japan unemployment rate 2.8% vs street 3.0%
Japan consumer prices 0.3% vs street 0.2%
Japan industrial production 4.8% vs street 3.9%
Japan vehicle production 11.2% vs previous 3.8%
Japan housing starts (2.6%) vs street (1.4%)
Japan construction orders 5.7% vs previous 1.1%
UK Nationwide house prices   3.5% vs street 4.0%
UK GDP update 1.9% vs street 2.0%
Germany retail sales 1.8% vs street 0.4% vs previous 2.3%
Spain retail sales (3.0%) vs previous (0.1%)
Greece retail sales 1.4% vs previous (1.3%)
Germany employment change (30K) vs street (10K)
Germany unemployment rate 5.8% vs street 5.9%
Norway unemployment rate 2.9% vs street 3.0%
NZ ANZ activity outlook 38.8 vs previous 37.2
NZ ANZ business confidence 11.3 vs previous 16.6
Upcoming significant economic announcements include:
8:30 am EDT Canada Jan GDP street 1.9%
8:30 am EDT US personal income street 0.4%
8:30 am EDT US personal spending street 0.2%
8:30 am EDT US core PCE inflation   street 1.7%
9:45 am EDT US Chicago PMI street 56.9
10:00 am EDT US consumer sentiment street 97.6
9:00 am EDT FOMC Dudley speaking
10:00 am EDT FOMC Kashkari speaking
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