Atlanta, GA 5/31/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mostly a bit lower in Asian trade. The Nikkei was among the worst, it fell one percent, Shanghai was down a half percent, Australia dipped 0.4% and the Hang Seng was off by a third of a percent. European indexes are mostly higher this morning, with the Footsie up 0.8% and the Dax better by a third of a percent. US stock futures are up about a third of a percent as I write.
*The Irish are voting on the Euro Zone “fiscal compact” today. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm local time. Vote counting is expected to begin at 9am local time on Friday, with an indication of the outcome given by mid-day at the latest.
*There were dueling headlines about the ability of the ESM to recapitalize euro area banks; ECB’s Draghi thinks something can be done, with a nip here and a tuck there on the fund, but an EU Commission spokesperson says, no probably not.
*Report says that Spain will be given an additional year to get their budget deficits in order.
*The April reading of German Retail Sales was +0.6% month on month, or three times the expected increase.
*The May reading of Germany’s Unemployment Rate was down one tenth from the month before to 6.7%, a steady result had been forecast. However, the net change in the number of unemployed was unchanged on the month and this had been expected to decline 7k.
*The Q1 reading of Switzerland’s GDP was +0.7% on a quarterly basis and +2.0% year on year. Both results were well above the forecasts of +0.0% quarterly and +0.7% annualized.
*The May reading of UK house prices is +0.3% month on month, according to Nationwide.
*The Challenger Group says that in May there were 61,887 job cut announcements; up 21k from the month before, 66.7% higher than a year ago in May and the highest result since last September.
*The chain stores have been releasing their May same store sales results this morning. Some of the early reports include: Bon Ton Stores, +1.5% compared to sales at stores open at least a year; Limited Brands, +6%; Cato Stores, +3%; and Wet Seal, -8.8%.
*ADP is set to announce at 7:15am CDT their estimate for the net change in May for private sector payrolls; the forecast is for +150k. The weekly report on Initial Jobless Claims is due out at 7:30am CDT, it is expected to be 370k. Also due out at 7:30am is the first revision to Q1 GDP. Growth is expected to be revised down three tenths to +1.9%; Personal Consumption is forecast to be steady at +2.9%; and the estimate for the GDP Price Deflator is also unchanged from the previous report at +1.5%. The May reading of the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is due out at 8:45am CDT, but remember the subscribers get the report three minutes earlier; the estimate for the Chicago Index is 56.8, up just fractionally from the April result of 56.2.
*The weekly reports on energy inventories are due out this morning. The Natural Gas report is set to be released at 9:30am CDT, it is expected to show an increase of 72 bcf. The petroleum based energy inventory data is set to be released at 10:00am CDT. Stocks of Crude Oil are forecast to increase 1.0 million barrels, Gasoline inventories are expected to decline 1.0 million and the estimate for Distillates is unchanged from the week before.
*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. The June schedule for Operation Twist is set to be released by the New York Fed at 1:00pm CDT.