Atlanta, GA 5/17/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mostly higher in Asian trade. Shanghai was among the best with a 1.4% gain and the Nikkei rose almost 0.9%. But the Hang Seng fell a third of a percent and Australia closed down a slight fraction. European indexes are generally weak this morning, with the Footsie down one and a half percent and the Dax is lower by one percent; Spain is down 2.3%. US stock futures are down about a quarter percent or so as I write.
*The preliminary reading of Japan’s Q1 GDP was +1.0% on a quarterly basis, one tenth better than the estimate, and was +4.1% on an annualized basis; well above the forecast for +3.5%.
*Spain sold EU2.49 billion medium term debt earlier today; at the higher end of the range volume wise.
*Whatever…customers of Bankia, the nationalized Spanish bank, are said to have withdrawn over EU1 billion, reports El Mundo; but a government spokesman says the report is not accurate, that there has not been a run on the bank. Additionally, Moody’s has warned that it will downgrade the rating of twenty-one Spanish banks later today. By the way, Spain’s 10 Year yield is trading above 6.30% this morning. Quite a contrast to the German Bund, trading at a new low yield of 1.43%, or lower.
*The weekly report on Initial Jobless Claims is due out at 7:30am CDT, it is expected to be 365k. The May reading of the Philly Fed Business Activity Index is due out at 9:00am CDT, it is forecast to be 10.0, up from the April result of 8.5. Also due out at 9:00am is the April reading of the Leading Economic Indicators, which is estimated to be +0.1% on the month.
*The weekly report on inventories of Natural Gas is due out at 9:30am CDT; it is expected to show an increase of 56 bcf.
*The Treasury is set to announce at 10:00am CDT the details for next week’s auctions of 2 Year, 5 Year and 7 Year Notes.
*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.
*St. Louis Fed boss Bullard is scheduled to speak again today at 11:35am CDT. (free lunch is hard to pass on.)
*The Treasury plans to sell $13 billion re-opened 10 Year TIPS today; the auction results will be announced just after noon CDT.