Palm Beach, FL 5/22/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were generally strong in Asian trade. The Nikkei, Shanghai and Australia all gained slightly more than one percent and the Hang Seng rose 0.6%. Europe is also doing well this morning with both the Footsie and Dax better by about one percent. US stock futures are up a slight fraction as I write.
*Japan’s credit rating was downgraded to A+ from AA by Fitch overnight; the outlook is negative.
*German government official, in a briefing for an upcoming EU summit, says that his country continues to oppose Eurobonds and doesn’t see them as a topic at the summit. The spokesman also noted that Germany opposes direct lending to banks by the EFSF or ESM.
*The OECD says that Europe’s debt crisis risks spiraling downward and threatens the world economy; therefore they say that fiscal consolidation in Europe should be growth friendly as well. Also the OECD thinks that the ECB should bring down its key rate to near zero and expand unsterilized purchases of long-term securities.
*The April reading of the UK Consumer Price Index +0.6% month on month, as expected and up 3.0% year on year, one tenth less than forecast and down a half percent from the month before.
*The weekly report on chain store sales from ICSC showed a decline of 1.7% on a week on week basis for the week of May 19; it is the fourth time in the last five weeks that the weekly report has been down from the week before. The Johnson Redbook report on the same thing is due out at 7:55am CDT.
*The April reading of Existing Home Sales is due out at 9:00am CDT. Sales are expected to be 4.61 million units annualized, an increase of 2.9% from the month before.
*The May reading of the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index is due out at 9:00am CDT, it is expected to be 11, down from 14 in April.
*The Fed is scheduled to sell Treasuries today that are due to mature between 3.15.13 and 9/30/13; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.
*The Treasury plans to sell $35 billion 2 Year Notes today; the auction results will be announced just after noon CDT.