Oxford, MS 3/18/2011 (PennyPayDay) -- Stocks were generally higher in Asian trade, particularly in Japan. The Nikkei was up about two and three quarters percent, Australia added more than one and a half percent, Shanghai gained a third of a percent and the Hang Seng was up a slight fraction. European indexes are mostly higher at the moment as well, with the Dax and Footsie both up by more than a half percent. US stock futures are about three quarters of a percent higher.
*Japan’s Prime Minister reminds that the Fukushima reactor crisis is still “very grave” as efforts to re-submerge the radioactive fuel rods continues with uncertain results. Power to Fukushima reactors 3 and 4 may be returned by Sunday.
*The G7 has agreed to try to cap the strength of the yen with a concerted intervention. In a statement released last night the G7 said, “In response to recent movements in the exchange rate of the yen associated with the tragic events in Japan, and at the request of the Japanese authorities, the authorities of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Central Bank will join with Japan, on March 18, 2011, in concerted intervention in exchanged markets. As we have long stated, excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates have adverse implications for economic and financial stability. We will monitor exchange rates closely and will cooperate as appropriate.” Dollar yen is up more than 250 pips from late yesterday after noon at 81.50 and Euro/yen is about 440 pips higher at 115.00. Reports say that Japan probably sold less than Y2 trillion today, and there is word that the Bank of Japan will not sterilize the intervention effort.
*The UN has approved a “no fly zone” in Libya and have committed to take “all necessary measures”, excluding putting troops on the ground to protect civilians in the civil war being waged there.
*The February reading of Germany’s Producer Price Index was +0.7% on a month on month basis, matching the forecast.
*The February reading of Switzerland’s Producer and Import Prices was +0.2% on the month and +0.5% year on year.
*The Fed is scheduled to buy TIPS today that are due to mature between 9/30/13 and 2/15/41; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.