Northern, WI 5/10/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mixed but relatively little changed in Asian trade. The Hang Seng was down a half percent, the Nikkei dropped 0.4% and Shanghai was unchanged on the day, but Australia gained a half percent. European indexes are also mixed, with the Footsie is flat but the Dax is up 0.6%; Spain and Greece are up two to two and a half percent respectively. US stock futures are up a half percent or less, as I write.
*The April reading of Australia’s Unemployment Rate was down three tenths to 4.9%; it had been expected to increase one tenth. Also a surprise was the net change in the number of employed, up 15.5k on the month when it had been forecast to decline by 5k. Interestingly the employment gains were strongly weighted to Part Timers, up 26k, while Full Time employment fell 10.5k.
*The April reading of China’s Trade Balance was a surplus of $18.43 billion, double the expected surplus. Exports rose 4.9% on a year on year basis, about half the forecast increase, but Imports were up only 0.3% and this was expected to show a 10.9% gain.
*The March reading of Japan’s Current Account Balance was a surplus for the second month in a row, after posting a record deficit for this measure of trade in January. On a year on year basis the surplus was 8.6% smaller.
*The leader of the Greek Pasok party, Venizelos, has received a three day mandate to form a government. His party came in third in the election on Sunday, but the top two parties have now failed to figure out a coalition.
*The March reading of UK Industrial Production was down 0.3% on a month on month basis, as expected.
*The Bank of England kept rates and asset purchase plans steady at their policy meeting today.
*There are three bits of data due to be released at 7:30am CDT, including: the weekly report on Initial Jobless Claims, expected to be 367k; the March reading of the Trade Balance, forecast to be a deficit of $50.0 billion; and the April reading of the Import Price Index, expected to be -0.2% month on month. The Treasury will release its April Budget Statement at 1:00pm CDT, the estimate is a surplus of $30.5 billion.
*Fed boss Bernanke is set to speak at 8:30am CDT in Chicago at a conference about bank capital.
*The weekly report on Natural Gas inventories is due out at 9:30am CDT, it is expected to show an increase of 32 bcf.
*The Fed is scheduled to sell Treasuries today that are due to mature between10/15/13 and 1/31/14; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.
*The Treasury plans to sell $16 billion 30 Year Bonds today; the auction results will be announced just after noon CDT.
*Minneapolis Fed’s Kocherlakota is set to speak at 12:20pm CDT, he will discuss monetary policy.