Shawshank,VA 7/10/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mixed in Asian trade, but the main indexes were lower. Australia fell a half percent, the Nikkei was down 0.4%, Shanghai slipped 0.3% and the Hang Seng was down a slight fraction. European indexes are strong this morning, with the Dax up one and a third percent and the Footsie is higher by 0.8%. US stock futures are up about a quarter percent as I write.
*China’s National Development and Reform Commission cut the prices of gasoline and diesel earlier today; it’s said to be the third official gasoline price cut in two months.
*The June reading of China’s Trade Balance was a surplus of $31.7 billion, well above the estimate. Exports were up eleven percent from a year ago, but Imports rose just six percent.
*Germany’s Constitutional Court heard arguments for and against the ESM and EU fiscal compact earlier today. Parliament has approved both measures, but the court will now rule on their constitutional legality. The court acknowledged the difficulty in the timing of their decision, worrying that even a temporary injunction could be interpreted by foreign press as “euro rescue halted’. As such they will likely try to have a ruling on injunction within three weeks and a ruling on the constitutionality early next year.
*The May reading of UK Industrial Production was up 1.0% on a monthly basis, much stronger than the forecast for a decline of 0.2%.
*The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell sharply in June, down three points to 91.4. The group’s economist said it was an unusually large monthly decline, the biggest drop in two years and he described it as a “pretty poor survey”. The index is now at the lowest level since last October. Eight of the ten components were down on the month.
*St. Louis Fed’s Bullard is in London. He told reporters there that he doesn’t see a deflation risk right now, but he is keeping an eye on it. He thinks monetary policy is appropriate for the current situation, but he told the press there that the Fed would consider more action if the economy worsens, but that he doesn’t see the need for QE3 at this time.
*The weekly report on chain store sales from ICSC showed an increase of 2.0% on a week on week basis for the week ended July 7; sales were up 3.0% in the week when compared to the same week from a year ago. The ICSC credits a high demand for hot weather items such as: ice cream, beverages, air conditioners. The Johnson Redbook report on the same thing is due out at 7:55am CDT.
The July reading of the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index is due out at 9:00am CDT, it is expected to be 46.9, or up two tenths from the month before.
*The Fed is scheduled to buy TIPS today that are due to mature between 7/15/18 and 2/15/42; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.
*The Treasury plans to sell $32 billion 3 Year Notes today; the auction results will be announced just after noon CDT.
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