Stocks Down but Dollar Pretty Steady

April 25, 2014

Share prices fell 1.9% in Taiwan, 1.5% in Hong Kong, 1.3% in South Korea, 1.0% in China, 0.8% in India and 0.5% in Singapore.  Equities firmed 0.2% in Japan.  European stocks so far show losses of 0.9% in Germany and Italy, 0.8% in Spain, 0.4% in France and 0.2% in Switzerland and Great Britain.  U.S. equities opened lower.

The dollar has slipped 0.2% versus the kiwi, Australian dollar, and yen and by 0.1% against sterling, the euro and Swiss franc.  The loonie is unchanged, and the yuan had dipped 0.1%.

The Russian ruble and Russian equities extended recent losses after U.S. Secretary of State Kerry’s ramped-up warning that Putin is running out of time to stand down militarily.

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation lifted its one-week auction rate to 7.5% from 7.0%.  A surprise 150-basis point tightening had been engineered on March 3.  S&P lowered its credit rating for Russia to BBB-, the lowest investment-grade designation.

West Texas Intermediate oil fell by 0.9% to $101.03 per barrel.  Gold rose 0.6% to $1,298.80 per barrel.

The 10-year British sovereign debt yields settled back three basis points.  The 10-year U.S. Treasury and German bund yields are a basis point softer, while the 10-year Japanese JGB firmed a basis point.

Japanese consumer prices were unchanged on month but accelerated to a 1.6% 12-month increase in March from 1.5% in February and 1.4% in January.  Core inflation stayed at 1.3%, but the non-energy, non-fresh food inflation rate eased back to 0.7% from 0.8%.

Japan’s all-industry index, a supply-side monthly proxy for GDP, slumped 1.1% in February after a 1.7% increase in January.  Industrial production, construction, and services recorded month-on-month declines of 2.3%, 1.3%, and 1.0%.

South Korean consumer sentiment in April had the same reading of 108 as posted in March.

The Filipino trade deficit collapsed 95% on month to $66 million in February.

New Zealand and Australia are celebrating ANZAC Day.

The preliminary U.S. services purchasing managers report compiled by Markit Economics showed a slower rate of expansion in April.  The key index fell to 1.1 points to 54.2.  This was the second lowest reading since last October, and the jobs sub-index of 51.0 was the lowest since June 2012.

U.S. consumer sentiment, according to the Thompson Reuters/U. Michigan survey index, was revised upward by 1.4 points to 84.0 in the final April reading.  This was the highest since July 2013 and four points better than in March.

British retail sales surpassed expectations with a 0.1% uptick in March on top of a 1.3% advance in February.  On-year growth in retail sales rose to 4.2% from 3.3%.  Retail sales excluding auto fuel also registered a 4.2% gain from a year earlier.  Overall retail sales in the first quarter went up 0.8% from 4Q13 and 3.8% from the first quarter of 2013.

The British Bankers Association reported that 45,933 mortgage applications had been approved in the U.K. last month.  This total was less than forecast and down from 47.2K in February.

Danish retail sales fell 0.4% between March 2013 and March 2014.  Icelandic wage inflation slowed to 4.4% in March from 4.7% the month before.  Austrian industrial output was 1.9% higher in February than a year before.  The Greek trade deficit widened 38% on month in February, and Spanish producer prices firmed 0.2% in March but were 1.2% lower than a year earlier.  Belgian business sentiment weakened marginally to -4.6 in April from -4.4 in March.

The Bank of Mexico is holding a policy meeting today.  Brazilian consumer sentiment fell by 0.9 points to a score of 106.3 in April.

Copyright 2014, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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