***Economic data*** - (CA) Canada Feb Net Change in Employment: +20.9K v +15.5Ke; Unemployment rate: 8.2% v 8.3%e - (PD) Poland Jan Current Account: -â‚¬710 v -â‚¬529Me; Trade Balance: -â‚¬171 v -â‚¬15Me - (US) Feb Advanced Retail Sales: +0.3% v -0.2%e; Ex Auto: 0.8% v 0.1%e - (US) Mar Preliminary University of Michigan Confidence: 72.5 v 74.0e - (US) Jan Business Inventories: 0.0% v 0.1%e - (MX) Mexico Jan Industrial Production Y/Y: 3.6% v 5.6%e
- The strong results in the February advanced retail sales data helped US markets open higher this morning, aided by strength in European trading. The lower than expected U of Michigan confidence reading sent indices into the red after 10amET, while the greenback has notably weakened against its major pairs sans the JPY. Note that yet another round of Greece bailout rumors were in the headlines during the European session; these rumors were once again dismissed by the German Finance Ministry while China talked tough on exports with comments directed squarely at the US. Bond yields initially pushed higher on the better retail sales figures, but have since seen buyers steep in pretty aggressively especially at the long end. The long bond is up another half a point following yesterday's robust auction results while the 10-year note is nearly unchanged on the day. The benchmark spread has narrowed towards 277 basis points.
- The greenback recovered from its European session lows thanks to the retail sales data, although traders noted that the prior two months were revised down. EUR/USD was trading at 1.3735 after testing 1.38 earlier today. USD/JPY briefly probed above the 91 handle. The JPY broadly weaker as dealers prepare for next week's BOJ policy meeting and speculation rising that the monetary authorities might guide the JPY lower.
***Looking Ahead*** - (AR) Argentina Consumer Price Index M/M: 1.0%e v 1.0% prior; Y/Y: 8.8%e v 8.2% prior - (AR) Argentina Wholesale Price Index M/M: No est v 1.0% prior; Y/Y: No est v 11 - 12:00 US Tsy Geithner at Export-Import bank - ECB's Trichet
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