Northern, WI 5/25/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. The Nikkei and the Hang Seng both rose a slight fraction, but Shanghai was down three quarters of a percent and Australia dropped two thirds of a percent. European indexes are also mixed, with the Dax up a slight fraction and the Footsie down a quarter percent or so. US stock futures are essentially unchanged as I write.
*The April reading of Japan’s Consumer Price Index, ex-fresh food, was +0.2% on a year on year basis; steady from the month before, but one then more than forecast. However, the May reading for that same price measure for Tokyo was -0.8% year on year; three tenths more deflationary than the previous month and the expectation.
*Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders says “there are no structured talks or negotiations” underway for a Greek euro zone exit. Policy makers are not considering it, “But technical staffs are doing their studies. That’s their job. The problem is the moment you say a central bank is studying something, the press presents it as it being planned. But that’s their job to study the consequences of various eventualities.” Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi-UFJ is not so sanguine; they note rumors that a planned Greek departure could come as soon as the weekend of June 2nd/3rd.
*The troubled, nationalized Spanish bank, Bankia, has had trading in its shares halted because of talk that it will need another EU15 billion in financial aid in order to restructure.
*The final May reading of consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan is due out at 8:55am CDT, it is expected to be steady with the month’s preliminary report at 77.8; it was 76.4 in April.
*Stocks are open for regular hours today in the US, but some futures markets will close early because of the Memorial Day holiday in the US on Monday. European markets will be open on Monday, but some participants will be out for Whit Monday, also known as Pentecost Monday.