Stock market trading around the world overnight has been mixed. A flood of data out of Asia Pacific countries helped to boost the Nikkei and Hang Seng while Australian stocks fell. European markets are retreating again today while North American indices have been trading only slightly higher. With earnings season winding down and a quieter week for economic news underway, exhausted bulls appear to have paused, leaving indices in a holding pattern and at risk of another downward correction. Currency action overnight has more or less continued the trends seen yesterday. NAD and AUD remain the top performers on the back of generally positive NZ economic news and higher than expected Australia inflation expectations that may keep their central banks neutral but not dovish. Gold and JPY are essentially flat today. GBP is falling for a second straight day as traders shift out their expectations for a UK interest rate increase into the second half of 2015. Crude oil is under pressure again today with Brent breaking $80.00 and WTI breaking $77.00 and dragging on CAD and NOK. Rising tensions in Ukraine are apparently having no effect on energy markets but may have been partly behind yesterday’s rally in grains with corn continuing to climb today. Concerns that OPEC may maintain production rates while sluggish economies in Europe and China reduce demand continue to weigh on crude. There has been only a mild reaction to US jobless claims which were slightly worse than expected but still well below 300K. We may see some activity into the end of the week with European GDP and US retail sales figures due on Friday. Corporate News Wal-Mart $1.15 vs street $1.12 Cisco Systems $0.54 vs street $0.53, guidance $0.50-$0.52 below street $0.53 Manulife Financial $0.39 vs street $0.40 CGI Group $0.73 vs street $0.74 Economic News Economic reports released overnight and this morning include: US jobless claims 290K vs street 280K Canada new house prices 0.1% vs street 0.2% China retail sales 11.5% vs street 11.6% China industrial production 7.7% vs street 8.0% China fixed assets 15.9% vs street 16.0% Germany consumer prices 0.8% as expected France consumer prices 0.5% vs street 0.4% Spain consumer prices (0.1%) as expected Greece unemployment rate 25.9% vs street 26.1% Japan producer prices 2.9% vs street 3.3% Japan machine orders 7.3% vs street (0.3%) Japan industrial production 0.8% vs previous 0.6% NZ Business PMI 59.3 vs previous 58.1 NZ food prices 0.0% vs previous (0.8%) NZ consumer confidence 121.8 vs previous 123.4 NZ house prices 3.9% vs previous 4.1% NZ house sales (2.4%) vs previous (12.0%) Australia inflation expectations 4.1% vs previous 3.4% Economic reports due later today include: 11:00 am EST US crude oil inventories street 1.1 mmbbls FOMC Members Plosser and Kocherlakota speaking.
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