Orlando, FL 7/18/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. The Hang Seng fell more than one percent, Australia lost 0.4% and the Nikkei was down a third of a percent, but Shanghai rose about a third of a percent. Similar results so far in Europe, with the Dax up a slight fraction and the Footsie essentially unchanged on the session. US stock futures are down about a quarter percent as I write.
*The July reading of Switzerland’s ZEW Survey of Expectations of Economic Growth improved by a point from the month before to -42.5.
*Germany had strong demand at a 2-year Schatz re-opening auction; they sold EU4.173 billion of the paper at a negative 0.06%. The first time Germany has auctioned off one of its bonds at a negative yield.
*German Chancellor Merkel says she is optimistic on this Thursday’s vote in parliament on aid to Spain.
*The Bank of England says the near-term outlook had weakened when they last met to decide on monetary policy, according to the minutes from that meeting and they may reconsider the case for a rate cut after they assess the impact of their QE strategy on the economy.
*The May reading of the UK Unemployment Rate is 8.1%, down one tenth on the month and one tenth under the forecast. However, in June the net change in the number of Jobless Claims was +6.1k, a bit more than expected.
*US mortgage applications were up 16.9% in the week ended July 13, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications for Refinancing were up 21.6% in the week, but applications for Purchase were down 0.1%.
*Bank of America, Honeywell and Abbott are among the companies reporting their quarterly earnings results today.
*The June reading of Housing Starts is due out at 7:30am CDT. Starts are expected to be 745k on an annualized basis, or up 5.2% from the month before. The estimate for Building Permits is 765k annualized, or down 2.4% from the previous month.
*Bernanke is back on the Hill today at 9:00am CDT to restate his testimony and take questions from the House Financial Services Committee.
*The weekly report on energy inventories is due out at 9:30am CDT. Stocks of Crude Oil are forecast to decline 1.1 million barrels, Gasoline inventories are expected to increase 1.2 million and the estimate for Distillates is also +1.2 million.
*The Fed is scheduled to buy Treasuries today that are due to mature between 8/15/20 and 5/15/22; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.
*The Fed’s Beige Book is set to be released at 1:00pm CDT.