Good Friday and a U.S. Jobs Report

April 6, 2012

Good Friday is one of the three business days of the year with the most market closures.  The range of closures today includes The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, India, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada.  In the United States, the Labor Department will report March job statistics at 12:30 Greenwich Mean Time, and markets will shut very early after that event.

Many markets will remain closed after the Holy weekend for Easter Monday.

Consistent with the numerous shut markets, the dollar has been steady.  The greenback is unchanged overnight versus the euro and Swissie, up 0.1% against the yen but down by 0.2% against the yuan, kiwi, and sterling and by 0.1% against the Canadian and Australian dollars.

Gold recovered 1.0% on Thursday but still closed 2.3% weaker on balance in this week of renewed risk aversion.  Oil gained 1.8% yesterday but was little changed on the week.

The 10-year Japanese JGB yield dipped a basis point today to a sub-1% reading of 0.99%.

Share prices fell 0.8% in Japan but rose 0.9% in Taiwan and 0.3% in China, Malaysia, and Pakistan.

Japan’s index of leading economic indicators increased 2.1 points to 96.6 in February.  The coincident index went up a whole point to 93.7, and the index of lagging indicators trailed at 85.6.

The Swiss franc (currently 1.2014 per euro) has traded today exclusively on the weak side of the SNB’s 1.2000 line in the sand after briefly touching 1.9995 on Thursday, the first penetration since the currency policy was announced last September 6. 

The French trade deficit widened 39% to EUR 6.4 billion in February, as monthly import growth of 2.8% surpassed export expansion of 1.1%.

Hungary and the Czech Republic each reported trade and industrial production data for February.  In Hungary, industrial output went up 0.8% on month but fell by 3.4% on year, and the trade surplus widened 65% on month to EUR 690 million.  Czech industrial production slid 0.1% on month but rose by a greater-than-forecast 4.7% from a year earlier.  The CZK trade surplus of CZK 28.6 billion was 2.2% smaller than the surplus in January.

Analysts are upbeat about today’s U.S. labor department report, with a consensus forecast for nonfarm payroll job growth hovering marginally above 200K.  The unemployment rate is expected to print again at 8.3%.

Copyright 2012, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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