Northern, WI 5/16/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were weak in Asian trade. The Hang Seng was among the worst with a 3.2% decline, Australia lost 2.3%, Shanghai fell 1.2% and the Nikkei was down 1.1%. European indexes are mixed, but the Dax and Footsie are both down about two thirds of a percent. US stock futures are up about a quarter percent as I write.
*The March reading of Japanese Machine Orders were down 2.8% on a month on month basis; a smaller decline than expected.
*The March reading of Japan’s Tertiary Industry Index was down 0.6%, a bit worse than the forecast for a 0.4% drop.
*Greece has scheduled its do-over election for June 17.
*The May reading of Switzerland’s ZEW Survey of Expectations of Economic Growth was down six points from the month before to -4.0, according to Credit Suisse.
*The March reading of the UK Unemployment Rate was down one tenth to 8.2%; a rise of one tenth had been forecast. The net change in April jobless claims was -13.7k, a rise of 5k was expected.
*The Bank of England reduced its forecast for growth in the UK for this year by two tenths to +0.8%, but they also think inflation will be higher than they had hoped, now 3.5%, which is well above their target of 2.0%, according to their quarterly inflation report.
*US mortgage applications were up 9.2% in the week ended May 11, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Refi component was up 13.0%, but applications for Purchase were down 2.4%.
*The April reading of Housing Starts is due out at 7:30am CDT. Starts are expected to be 685k units at an annualized rate, or up 4.7% from the month before. The estimate for Building Permits is 730k units annualized, or down 4.5% on the month. The April reading of Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization are both due to be released at 8:15am CDT. Production was forecast to be +0.6% month on month and Utilization was expected to be 79.0%, up four tenths from the month before.
*The Mortgage Bankers Association is expected to come out with some quarterly data on delinquencies and foreclosures at 9:00am CDT.
*The weekly report on energy inventories is due out at 9:30am CDT. Stocks of Crude Oil are forecast to increase 1.75 million barrels, Gasoline inventories are expected to decline 100k and the estimate for Distillates is +150k.
*St. Louis Fed boss Bullard is scheduled to speak on the economy at 11:30am CDT.
*The Fed is set to release at 1:00pm CDT the minutes from their April FOMC meeting.