***Economic Data*** - (UK) Mar CBI Distributive Trade: +13 v +23 prior - (US) ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales w/w March 20th: 0.1% w/w, 3.7% y/y - (BR) Brazil Mar IBGE CPI M/M: 0.6% v 0.5%e - (CA) Canada Feb Leading Indicator M/M: 0.8% v 0.9%e - (US) Redbook Retail Sales for the week ending Mar 20th: +3.4% y/y; MTD +0.9% v Feb - (BR) Brazil Feb Total Outstanding Loans (BRL): 1.44T v 1.42T prior; Private bank Lending: 833 v 828B prior - (US) Feb Existing Home Sales: 5.02M v 5.00Me; M/M: -0.6% v -1.1%e - (US) Jan House price Index M/M: -0.6% v -0.8%e - (US) Mar Richmond Manufacturing Index: 6 v 5e - (BE) Belgium Mar Business Confidence: -3.6 v -6.9e
- The US data in the premarket are not providing much of an impetus for trading this morning. The February existing home sales data declined very slightly from January levels, in line with expectations. The NAR said that the bad weather in February may have masked underlying demand as closings were postponed by winter storms and buyers couldn't get out to look at homes in some areas. In Europe, another round of European disunion over Greece is only keeping the dollar higher. Treasury Secretary Geithner is on Capitol Hill this morning discussing housing. He stated that reform of the GSEs would have to wait for greater market stability. The Administration is expected to roll out more reforms of the mortgage market this morning, with a focus on preventing foreclosures. By the late NY morning stocks are making new lows, albeit modest in a light volume environment, while Treasury markets are seeing bids. The US 2-year yield is just below 0.95% ahead of this afternoons $44B auction.
- Walgreens is up slightly after meeting the Street's expectations, taking shares of CVS and RAD with it. Carnival Corp topped earnings estimates, guided higher for next quarter and brought up the bottom of its full-year guidance range. In the release, CCL said booking volumes for the remaining three quarters are running ahead of the prior year with prices significantly higher than last year's discounted levels. CCL is up 3%. The red ink continues at KB Homes, whose quarterly loss was nearly twice the expected amount. The firm's backlog is up sequentially, however, and its cancellation rate continues to fall. The CEO believes the firm is positions to be profitable later in 2010. Shares of KBH are down 3%. Office furniture name Steelcase missed top and bottom line targets and guided under par. SCS fell more than 10% before the bell, but have regained some ground in early trading. Note that semi names are up slightly after micro cap name Integrated Silicon doubled its earnings guidance for next quarter thanks to growing DRAM demand, constrained DRAM supply and advantageous pricing. ISSI is up more than 20%.
- The greenback failed to move beyond established ranges against the euro on more uncertainty over just what may or not emerge from the EU Summit on Thursday. EUR/USD was trading above 1.3530 after holding above Monday's lows of 1.3460. The euro's downward momentum was curbed after reports that Germany would set conditions for a potential Greek rescue, including three fundamental points: involvement of the IMF, a commitment by European Union partners to tough new rules to control public debt and deficits in the euro zone and EU treaty changes. Although there are headwinds on the overall unity of the EU ahead of the summit, highlighted by comments from a German CDU party member that France should "go it alone" on support from Greece, complemented by comments from the Austrian finance minister, who noted that perhaps member states should examine removing Greece from Euro Zone. The EUR/CHF cross managed to hold above its all-time low established in the height of the 2008 global crisis at 1.4297, although it came within 15 pips of taking out the level.
***Looking Ahead*** - (US) US Tsy to sell $44B in 2-year notes - (AR) Argentina Feb Trade Balance: No est v $1.2B prior - (US) Fed's Yellen
- (US) Fed's Yellen
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