***Economic Data*** - Hungary Central Bank left its Base Rate Unchanged at 5.25% (as expected) - (BR) Brazil Sept Current Account: -$3.9B v -$4.0Be; Foreign Direct Investment: $5.4B v $2.7Be - (US) Sept Chicago Fed National Activity Index: -0.58 v -0.30e - (TU) Turkey Oct Capacity Utilization: 75.3% v 73.5% prior; Industrial Confidence: 107.2 v 110.7 prior - (US) Sept Existing Home Sales: 4.53M v 4.30Me - (US) Oct Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity: +2.6 v -8.5e
- US equity indices are near their highs in early session trade after decent data drove some modest risk appetite. Both the September home sales data and the October Dallas Fed index were better than expected, with the latter beating estimates by a wide margin. Note that traders have put the brakes on the big slide in the dollar seen overnight, with EUR/USD moving back below the key 1.40 level. Note that the focus this week is squarely on Friday's advance Q3 GDP reading, which is seen as key for a decision on QE2 by the FOMC at its Nov 2-3rd meeting. After a week-long decline in gold, the yellow metal gained earlier in the session, but is back at $1,338. Crude is near its highs, just above $83. Treasury prices are firmer which has pressured the 10-year yield back towards 2.5%.
- Shares of RadioShack are down nearly 5% in early trading despite relatively strong Q3 headline earnings and revenue. Apparently investors are troubled by stagnation in the retailer's core consumer electronics sales, even as mobile sales, including the sales of the iPhone, show healthy growth. Note that RadioShack is very often mentioned as a possible takeover candidate. Office Depot offered a preliminary look at its Q3 results, which are due to be officially released Wednesday morning. ODP's earnings were three cents in the black, versus the Street's expectation for a small loss; the bottom line is even higher taking into account a one-time tax-related gain. Shares of ODP are up more than 10%. Lorillard is up a healthy 3% after the firm crushed earnings and revenue expectations. Note that shares of Citigroup were up 3% at one point this morning after Goldman added the name to its Conviction Buy List.
- In mergers news, the Australian Stock Exchange said it has agreed to be acquired by the Singapore Exchange for more than $8B in cash and stock. The parties expect the deal, which will create the world's fifth largest listed exchange, help the two players compete with other Asian and Western exchange entities. Following press speculation, CommScope confirmed that it was holding discussions with private equity firm The Carlyle Group, with a potential deal for $31.50/shr in cash under negotiation. In addition, shares of Pre-Paid Legal Services are up sharply after the company said it was looking at a $60/shr offer from an un-named private equity firm.
- The USD paused from its earlier weak tone as dealers continued to debate whether it was in the interest of emerging market countries not let the dollar go into a freefall so soon after G20 meeting. Overall dealers noted that part of the process would depend on the intervention/diversification cycle of key nations. EUR/USD is hovering around the 1.40 level while USD/JPY is around 15-year lows; dealers noted that several major Japanese companies adjusted their forecast in the pair with Toshiba planning for 70 and Toyota bracing for 80.00, indicating that Japanese corporate players do not expect forex help. BoE's Tucker commented that the MPC was less likely to withdraw monetary stimulus but noted that the economy was recovering.
***Looking Ahead*** - (IS) Israel Central Bank Base Rate Decision: Consensus expectations for the Base Rate to remain unchanged at the current 2.00% level. - 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell $10B in 5-Year TIPS Reopening - 13:30 (US) Fed's Bullard to Give Welcome at St. Louis Conference - 16:30 (US) Fed's Dudley to Speak at Cornell University - 17:15 (US) Former Fed Governor Kohn Speaks on Financial Regulation - 20:00 (US) Fed's Hoenig to Speak at University of Kansas
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Mon 19 Mar 2018 Tue 20 Mar 2018 AA 9:30 GB- CPI A 10:00 DE- ZEW Survey Wed 21 Mar 2018 AA 03:00 AU- Employment AA 9:30 GB- Employment A 12:30 US- Current Account AA 14:00 US- Existing Homes Sales A 14:30 US- EIA Crude A A18:00 US- Fed Rate Decision A 21:00 NZ- RBNZ Rate Decision Thu 22 Mar 2018 AA All Day flash PMIs AA 9:30 GB- Retail Sales AA 12:00 GB- Bank Of England Decision A 13:30 US- Weekly Jobless Fri 23 Mar 2018 AA 12:30 CA- CPI/Retail Sales A 12:30 US- Durable Goods A 14:00 US- New Homes Sales
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