***Economic Data*** - (GE) IMF lowers Germany's 2010 and 2011 GDP growth outlook as its export outlook is limited - (PO) Bank of Portugal Spring Economic Bulletin: lowers 2010 and 2011 GDP view - (PO) Portugal Feb Industrial Production M/M: 1.6% v -1.3% prior; Y/Y: 2.6% v 1.2% prior - (PO) Portugal Feb Retail Sales M/M: -3.4% v 4.7% prior; Y/Y: 0.2% v 0.4% prior - (BR) Brazil Mar FGV Inflation M/M: 0.9% v 1.0%e; Y/Y: 1.9% v 2.0%e - (US) ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales w/w March 27th: +0.6% w/w, +3.2% y/y - (CL) Chile Feb Industrial Production Y/Y: 0.5% v 0.8%e; Industrial Sales Y/Y: 1.5% v 0.4%e - (CL) Chile Feb Unemployment Rate:8.5% v 8.8%e - (CL) Chile Feb Copper Production: 394.7K v 424.0K tons prior - (CA) Canada Feb Industrial Product Price M/M: 0.0% v 0.1%e; Raw Material Price Index M/M: 0.4% v -0.5%e - (US) Redbook Retail Sales w/e Mar 27th: +3.6% y/y; MTD +1.2% v Feb - (US) Jan S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Index: 145.3 v 145.0e v 145.9 prior; Composite-20 Y/Y: -0.7% v -0.6%e - (US) Mar Consumer Confidence: 52.5 v 51.0e
- Extremely thin volume is keeping it whippy this morning. Rumors made the rounds about a much higher than expected March consumer confidence reading, sending equity indices out to session highs ahead of the data. The confidence number came in well below the whisper number (although still above estimates), sending the indices right back to unchanged. Fed member Evans spoke in Hong Kong overnight, stating that unemployment would have to fall before the FOMC could tighten policy, and reiterated that he was very concerned about the US employment picture. Note that S&P downgraded Iceland, following vague rumors that the ratings agencies had France in their sights for a downgrade, driving dollar strength. Fitch affirmed France's ratings mid day, quashing the rumors. Commodity currencies are resilient as better US confidence data aided oil and copper. Front month copper tested its best level since July 2008 as it approached the 358.00 level, while front-month crude is up a hair, above $82.50. US Treasury yields made early session highs along with equities ahead of the confidence reading, but have since backed off. The long end of the curve has underperformed sending the 10-2 year spread a few basis points wider. The long bond yield briefly touched at 4.8% testing the highest levels seen going back to all of 2008.
- Shares of Apple are up 2% this morning in the wake of a widely-discussed Wall Street Journal article that asserted the company was developing a new CDMA version of its iPhone which may be compatible with Verizon's cellular network. Shares of Verizon are up 2.5%, while AT&T is down 1%. In other iPhone news, eBay officially launched two apps for the device, and said it would also launch an app for the iPad on April 3rd. Defense-oriented electronics manufacturer White Electronic Designs is being acquired by Microsemi for $7/shr in cash, for a total deal worth $100M. Microsemi sees accretion from the deal in FY11. Shares of White jumped nearly 30% to meet the deal offer, while MSCC is up a few percent. LDK Solar fell nearly 10% before the open following very weak Q4 earnings, although the name is off its worst levels.
- The greenback continues to see better sentiment as the European peripheral situation returns to headlines. The 10-year spread between Greece and Germany continued to widened above the +330bps area. Euro sentiment was further hampered after the IMF revised its German 2010 and 2011 growth estimates lower as due to the country's "limited" export outlook. EUR/USD is testing 1.3430 with a key hourly pivot seen at 1.3410. S&P's sovereign downgrade of Iceland continued to reflect attention to the next link in the European theater to come under stress. Technical and interest rate factors continue to provide a tailwind for the USD/JPY pair as the pair approaches the 93 handle for the first time since the first week of the year.
***Looking Ahead*** - 12:00 (US) Former Fed Chair Volker on financial reform - 12:45 (UK) BOE's Haldane in Hong Kong - 14:00 (BR) Brazil Feb Central Govt Budget: $1.2Be v $13.9B prior - 15:00 (AR) Argentina Feb Supermarket Sales Y/Y: No est v 11.4% prior - 16:30 (MX) Mexico Feb Budget Balance YTD (MXN): No est v 6.4B prior - 16:30 (US) API Crude Oil/Gasoline/Distillate Inventories
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