Shawshank, VA 6/19/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mostly lower in Asian trade. The Nikkei was down three quarters of a percent, Shanghai fell two thirds of a percent and Australia declined a third of a percent, but the Hang Seng was essentially unchanged on the session. European indexes are higher this morning with the Dax better by a half percent and the Footsie up 0.9%. US stock futures are up a slight fraction as I write.
*The Reserve Bank of Australia had a “finely balanced” discussion before they lowered interest rates at their policy meeting earlier this month, say the minutes from that meeting. “There was clear evidence suggesting a softening in global conditions, and uncertainty about the future in Europe had increased significantly” noted the minutes. They saw scope for the ease in part because inflation was expected to remain in the lower part of its target range over the next year or so.
*The final April reading of Japan’s Leading Economic Index was revised up a half point to 95.6; that is one point lower than the four-year high set the month before.
*The independent audit of Spain’s banking sector, originally scheduled to be released at the end of July may not see the light of day until September. This is not to be confused with a separate independent stress test of Spanish banks due out June 21. The news on the audit delay may have been an additional factor in pushing up the rate at which Spain was able to sell 12-mopnth and 18-month Bills earlier today, both yields were over 5%,well up from recent sales of that paper, sold in May at 2.98% and 3.30% respectively. But, what me worry, Spain’s 10 Year Bond yield is back below seven percent this morning by a few basis points, down about ten basis points on the day.
*The June reading of the Euro Zone ZEW Survey of Economic Sentiment was down sharply, off eighteen points on the month to -20.1; the lowest mark since January.
*The June reading of Germany’s ZEW Survey of Economic Sentiment was much weaker than expected, it was down 27.7 points to -16.9; it was forecast to be +2.3 and is the weakest result since January.
*The May reading of the UK Consumer Price Index is -0.1% on a month on month basis, below the expectation for a gain of 0.1%. The annualized rate was down two tenths from the month before to +2.8%, which had been forecast to be steady at 3.0%.
*The weekly report on chain store sales from ICSC showed sales to be unchanged on a week on week basis for the week ended June 16, but sales were +3.6% for the week when compared to the same week from a year ago. The Johnson Redbook report on the same thing is due out at 7:55am CDT.
*The May reading of Housing Starts is due out at 7:30am CDT. Starts are expected to be an annualized rate of 721k units, or +0.6% from the month before. The estimate for Building Permits is 730k units, up one percent on the month.
*The Fed is scheduled to buy Treasuries today that are due to mature between 8/15/22 and 2/15/31; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.
*The G20 meeting in Mexico is ongoing; therefore so is the possibility of the odd newswire headline.
*The FOMC begins its two day policy meeting today, but no word on the results until tomorrow.