Palm Beach, FL 6/20/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. The Nikkei was up a bit more than one percent, the Hang Seng rose a half percent, and Australia added a slight fraction; but Shanghai fell a third of a percent. European indexes are also mixed, with the Footsie better by a half percent and the Dax up a slight bit. US stock futures are up a slight fraction as I write.
*The May reading of Japan’s Merchandise Trade Balance was a larger deficit than forecast at –Y657 billion; Exports were up ten percent from a year ago, but Imports were up almost as much at +9.3%.
*There are reports that Greece has formed a government coalition; an official is quoted as saying that conservative New Democracy Party leader Antonis Samaras is set to be sworn in as PM today.
*The June reading of Switzerland’s ZEW Survey of Economic Expectations fell sharply, down to -43.4 from -4.0 in May; it is the lowest mark since January.
*The April reading of the UK Unemployment Rate was steady on the month at 8.2%, as forecast. The net change in May for the number of Jobless Claims however was +8.1k on the month, but had been expected to decline 4k.
*The Bank of England voted unanimously to keep their key interest rate steady, but the vote was 5 to 4 against doing additional QE at the meeting earlier this month, with BOE boss King on the short end of the vote for the first time since 2009.
*US mortgage applications were down 0.8% in the week ended June 15, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications for Purchase were down 8.5% on the week, but those for Refi were up one percent.
*The weekly report on energy inventories is due out at 9:30am CDT. Stock of Crude Oil are forecast to decline 1.3 million barrels, Gasoline inventories are expected to increase 1.0 million and the estimate for Distillates is +1.0 million.
*Fed Fest today: the FOMC will issue their post meeting statement at 11:30am CDT; the Summary of Economic Projections is due to be released at 1:00pm CDT; Fed boss Bernanke is set to begin his press conference at 1:15pm CDT.