Palm Beach, FL 5/17/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were weak in Asian trade. The Nikkei was among the worst with a three percent decline, Australia lost two and two thirds percent, Shanghai fell 1.4% and the Hang Seng was off by 1.3%. European index are mixed but have been improving all morning after a lower open; currently the Dax is up a quarter of a percent, though the Footsie is still lower by a half percent or so. US stock futures are up more than a half percent as I write.
*The April reading of Japanese Nationwide Department Store Sales were up 1.3% on a year on year basis, down from the fourteen percent gain seen in March that was greatly affected by the comparison to March 2011 when the earthquake started a chain of unfortunate events and kept people out of the stores.
*The European Commission denies they are working on a contingency plan should Greece exit the Euro Zone; the rumor that they were working on such a plan had been the topic of chatter earlier. In other news ECBer Paramo says it would be impossible to avoid a catastrophe if the Euro Zone broke up. (Well sure and in part that is so because European officials are not making contingency plans that deal with a member or members exiting.)
*The April reading of Germany’s Producer Price Index was up 0.2% month on month and +2.4% year on year; both results were one tenth under the forecast.
*G8 leaders are gathering at Camp David today and tomorrow. NATO country bosses are due to meet in Chicago on Sunday and Monday…oh boy.
*The April reading of Canada’s Consumer Price Index is due out at 7:30am CDT, it is expected to be +0.3% month on month and +1.9% year on year.
*Have you heard? Facebook begins trading today, set to start at 10am CDT.
*The Fed is scheduled to buy Treasuries today that are due to mature between 8/15/20 and 5/15/22; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.