Atlanta, GA 4/25/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mixed in Asia. The Nikkei was among the best, it was up one percent. Shanghai rose three quarters of a percent and Australia was up a slight fraction, but the Hang Seng was down a just a bit. European indexes are generally strong this morning, with the Dax up 1.4%; however the Footsie is up just a slight fraction. US stock futures are up one third to two thirds of a percent as I write.
*In testimony before the EU Parliament ECB boss Draghi said the risks to the growth outlook is on the downside, but that inflation was likely to stay above two percent this year before falling below that level in 2013. He also reiterated that the ECB never pre-commits on policy, but added that current policy is not too tight but rather quite accommodative.
*The first look at the Q1 reading of the UK GDP was surprisingly weak at -0.2% on a quarter on quarter basis. This is the second quarter in a row that the UK economy has shrunk as the Q4 2011 GDP was -0.3%. They say that this makes it the first double dip recession in the UK since the 1970s.
*Boeing and Caterpillar are among the companies reporting their quarterly results this morning. Both Dow components look to have beaten the estimates by a considerable amount, not in a Apple sort of way, but each were twenty to thirty cents better than what the street thought they would be.
*US mortgage applications were down 3.8% in the week ended April 20, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancings were down 5.6% on the week, but applications for Purchase increased 2.7%.
*The March reading of Durable Goods Orders is due out at 7:30am CDT. Headline Orders are expected to be -1.7% on a month on month basis and the estimate for Orders Ex-transportation is +0.5% on the month.
*The weekly report on energy inventories is due out at 9:30am CDT. Stocks of Crude Oil are forecast to increase 2.8 million barrels, Gasoline inventories are expected to decline 1.5 million and the estimate for Distillates is -500k.
*The Treasury plans to sell $35 billion 5 Year Notes today; the auction results will b announced just after 10:30am CDT.
*The FOMC concludes their two-day policy meeting today; the post meeting statement is scheduled to be released at 11:30am CDT. They will release their economic projections for GDP, inflation, unemployment and the fed funds at 1:00pm CDT and then Bernanke will begin his press conference at 1:15pm CDT.