Positive momentum and cautious optimism has continued through overseas markets overnight. Australian stocks were able to shrug off weakness in the mining sector after gold’s big selloff yesterday, while the Hang Seng bounced back on improving Chinese consumer sentiment. European indices have continued their advance today but at a slower pace. The Dax continues to creep toward a test of the big 10,000 round number barrier. US indices appear to be heading for a higher open with the S&P 500 holding above 1,900 building on yesterday’s breakout. Soft German employment this morning keeps the pressure on the ECB to do something at its next meeting which has also weighed on the EUR. GBP is also sliding today after a drop in CBI sales has taken some of the pressure off the Bank of England to tighten policy. The worst performer on the day has been NZD which fell out of bed after a big drop in business confidence. A slowing NZ economy and a falling dollar could encourage the RBNZ to take a break from its rate hike program. CAD and AUD are holding steady against USD today. Defensives like gold and JPY have stabilized after a big takedown yesterday. It’s a very slow day for news out of North America, which looks to be a day of pausing and positioning before a very busy 10 day period for news kicks off tonight with Japanese economic numbers and includes the ECB meeting, US GDP, global manufacturing and service PMI and more right through to next Friday’s US nonfarm payrolls report. How markets react to the flood of news on the way may set the tone for trading well into the summer. Corporate News Valeant has raised its bid for Allergan boosting the cash portion by $10 per share along with 0.83 shares of VRX and up to $25 per share in contingency payments based on DARPin product sales. This raises the total value of the deal to $49.4B or about $166.16 per Allergan share. Bank of Montreal $1.63 vs street $1.52, raises dividend by 2.6% National Bank $1.05 vs street $0.96, raises dividend by 4.3% Economic News Economic reports released overnight and this morning include: Germany unemployment change 24K vs street (15K) vs previous (25K) Germany unemployment rate 6.7% as expected France consumer spending (0.5%) vs street 0.1% Spain retail sales 0.7% vs previous 0.6% Norway retail sales 0.5% vs street (0.3%) UK CBI sales 16 vs street 35 NZ activity outlook 51.0 vs previous 52.5 NZ business confidence 53.5 vs previous 64.8 Australia leading index (0.5%) vs previous 0.0% China industrial profits YTD 10.0% vs previous 10.1% China consumer sentiment 121.2 vs previous 117.3 Economic reports due later today include: There are no major announcements scheduled for the US or Canada today.