Palm Beach, FL 6/18/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were generally strong in Asian trade this morning. Australia was up almost two percent, the Nikkei gained one and three quarters percent, the Hang Seng rose one percent and Shanghai was up 0.4%. European indexes are currently mixed, with the Dax up more than three quarters of a percent and the Footsie better by about a half percent. US stock futures are down a third of a percent as I write.
*The May reading of nationwide Department Store Sales in Japan was -1.0% on a year on year basis.
*So it is up to Antonis Samaras, the leader of the conservative New Democracy Party, to form a coalition government to rule Greece. He should be able to achieve the task because New Democracy won 129 seats and if they were to combine with the moderate third place finisher the Pasok party they would total 162 seats out of the 300 member parliament. That’s the logical result, but such a combination would be historical as these two parties have been the main rivals during the past four decades, since the end of the ruling military junta. Samaras is anxious to have a large coalition with as many parties represented as is possible, but Alexis Tsipras, leader of the second place Syriza party, has indicated that he will remain in opposition and be the “main voice of the anti-bailout vote in Greece”. The stock market in Athens is up about five percent this morning.
*Not much cheer in Spain this morning; stocks are down more than one percent this morning and the yield on their 10 Year is back above seven percent; up more than twenty-five basis points at about 7.05%.
*French President Hollande and his allies won an absolute majority in the runoff parliamentary elections in France on Sunday.
*G20 is partying hard in Cabo, dude. The session is set for today and tomorrow, so the occasional “out of nowhere” newswire headline is possible at any moment.
*The June reading of the NAHB Housing Market Index is due out at 9:00am CDT; it is expected to be down one point on the month at 28.
*The Fed is scheduled to sell and buy Treasuries today. They will sell Treasuries that are due to mature between 5/15/13 and 11/30/13; the results of this operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT. They will buy Treasuries that are due to mature between 2/15/36 and 5/15/42; the results of this operation will be announced just after 1:00pm CDT.