Mixed price action across asset classes. US equities were initially supported by continued strong earnings (of the 179 S&P500 companies to report so far, 82% have beaten analyst estimates) and a rise in US house prices, but later fell around 1% on the weak consumer confidence report. The S&P500 is currently down 0.2%. Commodities suffered after the report and the CRB index is 0.8% lower, notable falls in oil (-1.9%, and a bearish key reversal signal) and gold (-1.9% and breaking a two year trend line). US 10yr treasury yields followed a different script and are 6bp higher to 3.05%, despite the equities sell-off and despite a solid 2yr auction (record low 0.665% yield and decent 3.3 times bid). Peripheral European 10yr government bonds shed some of their risk premiums, Portugal -30bp, Ireland -20bp, Hungary -13bp, and Spain and Greece -10bp.
The US dollar index firmed after the US consumer confidence report dented global risk appetite. EUR was helped by better loan growth and German consumer confidence data to 1.3045 by , consolidating below 1.3000 in the US. Outperformer GBP was also helped by strong local data to 1.5590, a post Feb high. USD/JPY rose from 87.00 to 87.97.
AUD made a fresh two month high at 0.9069 but then sagged with US equities to 0.9000. RBA watcher Terry McCrann upgraded his opinion to an August hike possibly triggered by a +0.8% core inflation print today.
NZD similarly peaked, at 0.7397, a post-Jan high, then sagged to 0.7320. AUD/NZD remained congested between 1.2260 and 1.2320.
US consumer confidence falls 3.9 pts to 50.4 in July. This second consecutive decline takes the Conference Board confidence index from May's two year high to its lowest since October last year. One of the drivers of the decline was the lowest reading in four months for consumers' assessment of labour market conditions.
US Richmond Fed factory index down from 23 to 16 in July. This is the third straight decline in this index although the level is higher than that of the nearby New York and Philadelphia indices which fell to around 5 in July. In contrast the Richmond Fed services sector survey rose from 5 to 8 in July. Still, the overwhelming message from recent business and consumer surveys is that the US economy has lost some momentum heading into the second half of 2010.
US house prices up 0.5% in May for a 4.6% yr annual pace, according to the S&P-Case Shiller index, further evidence that the housing market was benefitting from the now curtailed tax credit for homebuyers earlier this year. It remains to be seen whether these price gains can be sustained with that fiscal support, but other housing data suggest some weakness might be ahead.
Japanese corporate service price index rose by 0.1% in June, but was down 1.0% over the year.
Euroland money supply M3 up 0.2% yr in June, the first positive growth rate recorded since October last year. Loans to the private sector were up 0.3% yr, the "fastest" since 2008! There have been some upside data surprises recently, consistent with the view that the Euroland economy is growing, albeit modestly.
German consumer confidence rose from 3.6 to 3.9 in the GfK index labelled August but surveyed in early July. That is the highest reading for the year so far.
UK CBI distributive trades survey surges from -5 to 33 in July, highest since 2007, benefitting from World Cup spending, hot weather (by English standards) and some methodology changes (survey was taken June 23 to July 14). It is not clear how much of this spending is sustainable now the soccer is over and the weather has normalised.
AUD/USD and NZD/USD outlook next 24 hours: AUD and NZD will be subject to major event risk today from the Australian inflation data. Until then, immediate AUD support and resistance levels are at 0.9000 and 0.9070. NZD should be bounded by 0.7310 and 0.7360 this morning.
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