Shrugging off a soft oil price that has dragged on NOK today, the loonie has totally taken off today, soaring up to the top of its league standings boosted by stronger than expected Canadian economic figures. Retail sales which had slumped in February roared back to life in March, while 2.4% core inflation reminds us that several central bankers have indicated the oil price crash effect on inflation may be temporary. Improving retail sales also confirmed Bank of Canada Governor Poloz’s comments earlier in the week that the oil crash impact on the economy was really front-ended and that he expects things to improve in Q2. With oil having stabilized and starting to climb (so far today its digesting recent gains and could be active later on the US rig count numbers), a rapid rise in the loonie could be an emerging risk in the near term that could impede the rebalancing of the economy. For now though, CAD appears to be on the rebound, having broken out of a base. Meanwhile, across the pond, GBP is rallying and bumping up against $1.5000 where a breakout would complete its own base. UK employment came in better than expected and indicates a robust economy heading into next month’s election. This continues to add to the evidence suggesting the BoE’s next move is likely to be a rate hike at some point down the road. GBP may struggle to make headway over the next few weeks, however, with election uncertainty providing a big headwind. European and US indices continue to struggle this morning. US stocks continue to struggle with the potential impact a higher USD may have on corporate earnings and valuations, and today’s GE results didn’t help matters. In Europe, indices appear to be embarking on a correction of recent advances which was due in some ways but could be exacerbated by concerns over the uncertain financial situation in Greece. Questions about the long-term health of Finland’s economy ahead of Sunday’s election may not be helping matters either. Until some of the political risks are cleared up one way or another, we could see softness in European stock markets ahead of weekends for a while. Corporate News General Electric $0.31 vs street $0.30, higher USD impacted earnings by $950M Honeywell $1.41 vs street $1.39 Schlumberger $1.06 vs street $0.91, sales $10.25B vs street $10.40B, expects US exploration spending to drop 30% this year. American Express $1.48 vs street $1.36 Economic News Economic reports released overnight and this morning include: US consumer prices (0.1%) vs street 0.0% US core CPI (ex food and energy) 1.8% vs street 1.7% US real average weekly earnings 2.2% vs previous 2.6% Canada consumer prices 1.2% vs street 1.0% Canada core CPI 2.4% vs street 2.1% Canada retail sales 1.7% vs street 0.5% Canada retail ex auto 2.0% vs street 0.7% UK jobless claims (20K) vs street (29K) UK rolling 3M employment change 248K vs street 170K UK unemployment rate 5.6% as expected UK average weekly earnings 1.7% vs street 1.8% Eurozone consumer prices (0.1%) as expected Eurozone core CPI 0.6% as expected Singapore electronic exports 10.4% vs street 2.0% Japan consumer confidence 41.7 vs street 41.3 Economic reports due later today include: 10:00 am EDT US consumer sentiment street 94.0 11:00 am EDT US leading index street 0.3% 1:00 pm EDT US Baker Hughes drill rig count previous 988
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