Nervous US equity markets
plunged at the open, digesting the
latest Korean tensions as well as developments in the Spanish banking sector.
The S&P500 is currently down 0.4%, and the VIX index is slightly lower,
having been -3.0% and +14% respectively. The earlier Asian and European
equities sessions were awash with red ink in the -2% to -3% range. Commodities
in aggregate are 1.2% lower, oil making a fresh July low, and very oversold,
and copper falling 2.6%. European government bonds had modest moves (<10bp)
by recent standards. US 10yr treasuries shed 4bp to 3.16%, at one point
down to 3.06%, but the 2yr underperformed, its auction ordinary. The rise in US
3mth Libor accelerated, up 2.7bp to 0.54%, the risk of funding pressures
migrating to AU and NZ flagged by the rise in AU bank CDS's during the past few
The US dollar index is stronger,
benefiting from the flight to safety, although gains were pared back during the
NY session, when the Fed's Bullard said EZ volatility was unlikely to derail
the global recovery, and various rumour of governments' plans to inject
liquidity did the rounds. The EUR
fell to 1.2178, close to the last week's low before rebounding to 1.2335. The yen is little changed over the 24hrs,
giving it outperformer status.
AUD fell further after the Sydney close to 0.8067, a fresh post July low, but
recovered in NY to 0.8220.
NZD fell to 0.6560, recovering to 0.6665. AUD/NZD
ranged between 1.2250 and 1.2300, breaking higher to 1.23540 as we write.
US consumer confidence
up from 57.7 to 63.3 in May. This
took the Conference Board index to a two year high. It was driven mainly by a
sharp rise in the expectations component but the present measure also rose,
helped along by a modest further improvement in consumers' assessment of labour
market conditions. No evidence here that May's stock market declines have
materially impacted on sentiment.
Fed factory index eases from 30 to 26 in May. Although lower, this is still the second highest reading for this
series in decades, so must be considered very solid. The detail showed
shipments higher, orders off a bit (but at 36 still super strong) and jobs down
from 13 to 4.
prices: two March measures. The
S&P/CS 20 city index was about flat in the month but the annual pace of
gain rose from 0.7% to 2.4% yr, only the second positive reading in three
years. The separate FHFA index rose 0.3% in March, failing to reverse Feb's
Fedspeak: In London, FRB St Louis president Bullard said that the
European debt crisis "will probably fall short of becoming a worldwide
recessionary shock" and "recovery generally remains on track".
industrial orders jumped 5.2% in March,
helped along by a 6% rise in Germany and a 7% rise in France. Orders data are typically lumpy but with the
annual pace up 19.8% yr it is clear that the global recovery to date, and euro
depreciation since late last year, are helping restore industrial activity in Europe after it collapsed in late 2008 and early 2009.
UK GDP growth revised up
from 0.2% to 0.3% in Q1. The report
also included the expenditure breakdown, which showed growth was driven by
government spending, stock-building and investment spending. The first two of
these are probably not sustainable as sources of growth through 2010, and
European issues cloud the outlook, though sterling depreciation should provide
some positive offset.
NZD/USD outlook next 24 hours: The
commodity currencies are under risk-shedding pressure, but respecting their
technical support levels for now. For AUD, that's the 0.8000-0.8100 region, and
for NZD it's 0.6550-0.6650. Should these give way, we'd be looking for 0.7700
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