Thursday, March 31, 2011

3 Things to Know Before the Market Opens

3 Things to Know Before the Market OpensTHE DAY AHEAD

March 31

Oxford, MS 3/31/2011 (Penny PayDay) -- *Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. Shanghai was down almost one percent on the session, but the Nikkei was up about a half percent and the Hang Seng and Australia both added a third of a percent. European indexes are generally down a bit on the day, but the Dax and Footsie are both essentially unchanged at the moment. US stock futures are also unchanged as I write.

*The February reading of Australian Retail Sales was one tenth more than forecast at +0.5% on a monthly basis.

*The March reading of Japan’s manufacturing sector Purchasing Managers Index fell sharply, down more than seven points to 46.4 to the lowest level since the spring of 2009.

*The February reading of German Retail Sales was surprisingly weak, -0.3% on the month when an increase of 0.4% was the expectation; also the month before was revised down from +1.4% to +0.4%.

*The March reading of Germany’s Unemployment Rate was better than forecast, down two tenths on the month to 7.1%. Additionally, the net change in the number of Unemployed was down 55k on the month, more than twice the expected decline.

*The March reading of UK House Prices rose 0.5% from the month before, according to Nationwide; it was expected that prices would be steady.

*The stress test results for Irish banks are to be released at 10:30am CDT; they are expected to show a need for an additional EU15 to EU25 billion in funds for the banks to keep them limping along, in addition to the EU60 already in place.

*The weekly report on Initial Jobless Claims is due out at 7:30am CDT, it is expected to be 380k. In addition to the regular weekly report the Labor Department will also release their annual revision of this data. The March reading of the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is due out at 8:45am CDT, but of course subscribers will get the number three minutes before that. The Chicago PMI is forecast to be 69.9, down from the February result of 71.2. The February reading of Factory Orders is due to be released at 9:00am CDT; the estimate calls for +0.5% on a month on month basis. And, by the way, also due out at 9:00am is the annual revision of Wholesale Inventories.

*The weekly report on inventories of Natural Gas is due out at 9:30am CDT, it is expected to show a decline of just 2 bcf.

*The Fed is scheduled to buy Treasuries today that are due to mature between 5/15/21 and 11/15/27; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.

*The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Index is due out at 10:00am CDT, no estimate on the result.

*At some time today the Fed will comply with the court ruling forcing them to release the details, names and amounts, of Discount Window borrowing for the period that includes the recession.

*Fed speak on the calendar today includes: Richmond Fed’s Lacker at 9:30am CDT as he opens his bank’s conference on “the Changing Landscape for Credit”; Governor Tarullo will talk at that conference at 11:30am CDT; and Cleveland Fed boss Pianalto is set to talk about the economy and oil prices to a group in Pittsburgh at 1:05pm CDT.

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