Atlanta, GA 5/24/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. The Hang Seng fell two thirds of a percent, Shanghai was down a half percent and Australia slipped a quarter percent, but the Nikkei gained a slight fraction. European indexes are generally higher this morning, with the Footsie among the best with an increase of 1.4% and the Dax better by 0.7%. US stock futures are up a quarter percent as I write.
*The preliminary May reading of China’s manufacturing sector Purchasing Managers Index fell six tenths of a point to 48.7 , according to HSBC.
*The Bank of Japan says they will reduce the amount of inflation indexed bonds that they buy, but increase the amount of floating rate bonds and keep steady their JGB purchase amounts.
*Europe’s leaders have returned home with no fresh plans on the way forward, but to be fair this was not meant to be a meeting at which decisions were taken. They have requested the European Investment Bank (EIB) to come up with something for the next summit set for the end of next month. There is some thought that they may try to use the EIB as an end run around the German constitution to achieve a euro bond.
*The preliminary May reading of the Euro Zone’s manufacturing sector PMI was down nine tenths from the month before to 45.0; the lowest result since June 2009. The Euro Zone service sector PMI was four tenths lower in May at 46.5. Both measures were below the forecasts.
*The preliminary May reading of Germany’s manufacturing sector PMI declined more than one point to 45.0, a fractional gain was the forecast. Their service sector PMI however was steady from the month before at 52.2 and this was expected to fall two tenths.
*The May reading of Germany’s IFO Business Confidence Index fell three points to 106.9, but only a fractional decline was expected. The IFO Current Assessment Index was down more than four points on the month to 113.3, while the Expectations component was down almost two points to 100.9; both of these surveys also fell short of estimates.
*The April reading of Switzerland’s Trade Balance was a surplus of SF1.33 billion, well under the expectation for a surplus of SF1.90 billion. The shortfall was the result of a 0.9% drop in Exports on the month and a 2.6% increase for Imports.
*The Q1 UK GDP was revised for the worse by one tenth, -0.3% quarter on quarter and -0.1% year on year.
*The weekly report on Initial Jobless Claims is due out at 7:30am CDT, it is expected to be 370k. Also due out at 7:30am is the April reading of Durable Goods Orders. Headline Orders are forecast to be up 0.2% on a month on month basis; Orders Ex-transportation are expected to be +0.8% on the month.
*Markit is a London based financial services company. They will release at 7:58am CDT (not a misprint, likely trying to stand out with the unusual release time) the first issue of their US Purchasing Managers Index. There will be a number that will mean nothing without some context provided by Markit; then we’ll see if the market takes note today, or in the future.
*The FDIC is scheduled to release Q1 bank earnings data at 9:00am CDT.
*The weekly report on inventories of Natural Gas is due out at 9:30am CDT; it is expected to show an increase of 78 bcf.
*The Fed is scheduled to buy Treasuries today that are due to mature between 2/15/36 and 5/15/42; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.
*The May reading of the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity Index is due out at 10:00am CDT, it is expected to rise two points on the month up to 5.
*The Treasury plans to sell $29 billion 7 Year Notes today; the auction results will be announced just after noon CDT.
*New York Fed boss Dudley is set to speak at the Council on Foreign Relations at noon CDT.