Day Traders Diary
4/4/13U.S. equity futures have slid off their highs and the S&P 500 futures are now flat.
The major Asian bourses ended mostly lower as a flare-up in tensions with North Korea offset the Bank of Japan's increase to its bond buying scheme. Yesterday, the United States announced it was moving a missile defense system to Guam before it was reported the North Korean army had received the ok to launch a nuclear attack against the United States. Overnight headlines out of North Korea warned "The moment of explosion is approaching fast." Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan meet for the first time under the leadership of Governor Kuroda, and doubled its bond buying scheme to JPY7.5 trillion a month in maturities up to 40 years while also indicating it will double its holdings of JGBs and ETFs in two years in an effort to increase the monetary base at an annual rate of JPY60-70 trillion. Markets in China and Hong Kong were closed for Tomb Sweeping Day. Data out overnight saw Australian building permits jump 3.1% month-over-month (2.4% expected) and retail sales climb 1.3% month-over-month (0.3% expected) while Thai consumer confidence ticked up to 84.8 (84.0 previous).
In Japan, the Nikkei gained 2.2% after the Bank of Japan's action as trade threatens the March highs. Real estate and financial names saw strong gains as Sumitomo Realty & Development surged 10% and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial jumped 7.4% to lead their respective sectors higher. Exporters were also a beneficiary of the buying as Honda Motor added 3.4%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng was closed.
In China, the Shanghai Composite was closed as well.
European markets are generally higher following the release of a slew of Services PMI readings. France's Services PMI slipped to 41.3 from prior month's 41.9 (41.9 consensus). Germany's Services PMI declined to 50.9 from last month's 51.6 (51.6 consensus). The United Kingdom's Services PMI rose to 52.4 from the prior month's 51.8 (51.5 consensus). Italian Services PMI climbed to 45.5 from the 43.6 reported last month (43.5 consensus). Spanish Services PMI hit 45.3, up from the 44.7 reported a month ago (44.2 consensus). As a result of the mixed regional PMI readings, the Eurozone Services PMI slipped to 46.4 from last month's 46.5. The general consensus had expected the reading to remain unchanged.
In today's central bank action, the European Central Bank left its key interest rate unchanged at 0.75%, as expected. Elsewhere, the Bank of England also left its key interest rate and asset purchase program unchanged at their respective 0.50% and GBP375 billion.
In news, the Chief Executive Officer of Italy's Unicredit said the bank saw no deposit shifts since the Cyprus crisis began. In addition, the CEO said he believes it is "acceptable" to bail-in uninsured depositors.
The United Kingdom's FTSE is off by 0.6% with media names showing notable weakness. ITV and Reed Elsevier are down 3.2% and 3.6%, respectively.
In Germany, the DAX is rising 0.2% with defensive health care and utilities outperforming. Fresenius Medical trades higher by 4.0% and E.ON is firmer by 2.2%.
France's CAC is adding 0.5% with automaker Renault leading the way, up 3.8%.
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