***Economic Data*** - Poland Central Bank leaves Base Rate unchanged at 3.50%; as expected - (BR) Brazil May FGV Consumer Confidence: 116.1 v 115.3 prior - (US) ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales w/e May 22nd: -0.8% w/w; +1.3% y/y - (GR) Greece Mar Current Account: -â‚¬3.0B v -â‚¬3.3B prior - (US) Redbook Retail Sales w/e May 22nd: +2.0% y/y; MTD +0.3% v April - (US) Mar S&P/CaseShiller Composite-20 Y/Y: 2.3% v 2.4%e; House Price Index: 143.4 v 144.0 prior - (US) Q1 S&P CaseShiller Home Price Index: 131.8 v 136.2 prior; HPI Y/Y: 2.0% v 3.2%e - (BR) Brazil Apr Current Account: -$4.6B v -$4.9Be; Foreign Investment: $2.2B v $2.8Be - (US) May Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index: 26 v 26e - (US) May Consumer Confidence: 63.3 v 58.9e - (US) Mar House Price Index M/M: 0.3%% v 0.0%e; Q1 HPI: -3.1% v -0.1% prior - (MX) Mexico Q1 GDP Y/Y: 9.9% v 9.3%e; Current Account: -$765M v $83Me - (MX) Mexico Apr Unemployment Rate: 5.4% v 4.7%e
- US equity markets have been completely at the mercy of overseas events this morning, as all three leading indices opened down sharply and then plunged to -2.5% to -3.0% within the first 15 minutes of trade. Rising temperatures on the Korean peninsula slammed Asian equity markets overnight, driving steep equity declines, while in across the pond rumors that a major Spanish bank had accessed the ECB's discount window drove European indices lower as well. Germany has taken another step in clamping down on "speculators," proposing a ban on naked short sales on all German stocks (after banning naked shorts on selected names and Euro Zone debt last week) and also a ban on certain derivative contracts involving the euro. US economic data has not been too bad, with May consumer confidence higher than expected and at its highest point since March 2008, while the March house price index grew more than expected. However, one dealer stated that the confidence number is dated given what has happened this month in Europe. The usual suspects have benefitted from all the fear as investors dive into dollar, yen, gold and US and German government debt. Front-month crude has lost more than $2 today, with the contract trading around $68. Gold is north of $1,200, also aided by options expiration. The US 2-year yield is hold just above 0.7% ahead of this afternoon's auction.
- Few names are in the green this morning. AutoZone is up 4% or so after beating expectations in its Q3 report, making for big gains over the last two quarters. Uranium supplier USEC is up nearly 15% after Toshiba and Babcock & Wilcox said they would invest $200M in the firm for nuclear fuel cycle development. Medtronic is off a few percent after meeting expectations and guiding in line, although the CFO warned on the conference call that the firm was more comfortable with the lower end of its guidance range.
- FX markets consolidated earlier moves but USD and JPY continue to maintain firm session gains against the European and commodity related pairs. Rumors are everywhere, with vague dealer chatter suspecting the major central banks may implement new liquidity measures to counter contagion fears. There was also chatter that the ECB was preparing to cut its main refi rate by 50bps to 0.50%.
***Looking Ahead*** - (US) Fed's Bullard speech in UK - (US) US Treasury to sell $42B in 2-year notes
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