Northern, WI 5/15/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. The Nikkei fell 0.8%, Australia lost 0.7% and Shanghai was down a quarter percent, but the Hang Seng rose 0.8%. European indexes are little changed this morning, with the Footsie and Dax essentially flat. US stock futures are higher by a half of a percent or so as I write.
*The Reserve Bank of Australia saw non-mining growth below trend in the near-term and thought that the global sentiment is still “somewhat fragile”, when they met earlier this month and cut their target rate by a surprising fifty basis points; according to the minutes of that meeting that were released earlier today. The RBA thinks inflation will be at the lower end of the 2% to 3% target over the next few years, the minutes say.
*The April reading of Japanese Consumer Confidence was down three tenths on the month to 40.0, but it had been expected to increase a half point.
*Greece is expected to “repay fully a EU450 million bond that mature on Tuesday” says the FT. These are the maturing bonds issued under UK law that were not a part of the PSI default program. I have not seen a report saying the payment has been made as of now.
*The Q1 reading of Greek GDP is -6.2% on a year on year basis; the Q4 2011 reading was -7.5%.
*The Q1 reading of the Euro Zone GDP was 0.0% on both a quarterly and annualized basis; both measures were expected to be -0.2%.
*The May reading of the Euro Zone ZEW Survey of Economic Sentiment is -2.4, down from +13.1 the month before.
*The Q1 reading of German GDP was +0.5% on a quarterly basis and +1.2% year on year. Both measures beat the estimates by 0.4%.
*The May reading of Germany’s ZEW Survey of Economic Sentiment rose to 44.1, up from 40.7 the month before; the expectation was for a decline to 39.0.
*The weekly report on chain store sales from ICSC showed a decline of 0.8% on a week on week basis for the week ended May 12; this is the second week in a row sales were down by that amount and the fourth week in the last five that sales were down from the week before. The Johnson Redbook report on the same thing is due out at 7:55am CDT.
*Three bits of data are due out at 7:30am CDT. 1) The April reading of the Consumer Price Index is expected to be 0.0% on a monthly basis and the estimate for the Core CPI is +0.2%; the annualized rates are forecast to be +2.3% and +2.3% respectively. 2) The April reading of Retail Sales is expected to be +0.1% month on month and the estimate for Sales Ex-autos is +0.2%. 3) The May reading of the Empire State Manufacturing Index is forecast to be 9.00; it was 6.56 in April. The Treasury is set to release at 8:00am CDT the net change in March of foreign holding of long-term US securities, the TIC data; it is expected to be an increase of $32.5 billion. The March reading of Business Inventories is due out at 9:00am CDT, it is expected to be +0.4% on a month on month basis. Also due out at 9:00am is the May reading of the NAHB Housing Market Index, forecast to be up one point from the month before to 26.
*The Fed is scheduled to sell Treasuries today that are due to mature between 2/15/14 and 5/31/14; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.