Daily Comments

A rising yen as traders looked for a safe-haven weighed on Asian markets. The Nikkei 225 fell -1.44%. Even the Shanghai Composite succumbed to global growth concerns and fell -0.08% The German March IFO business climate rose more than expected to a 5-1/2 year high. Still, the same growth concerns that weighed in Asia were felt in Europe as well with the DAX down -0.57%. Yields on the 10-yr. Bund moved lower, closing at 0.407%. There were no U.S. economic reports scheduled for today. Despite the withdrawal of the American Health Care Act late on Friday, markets finished the week in relative calm. Over the weekend, concerns grew that Friday’s failure could be a precursor of more difficulties getting the Trump/Republican pro-growth agenda enacted. Commodity markets recovered from opening levels. Yields on the 10-Year Note were down at 2.376%. The US$ Index fell. Gold rose +0.6% to $1,255.70, and oil was down -0.5% at $47.73. After a sharply lower open, equities began a slow recovery. By mid-day, averages approached the flat line with the NASDAQ moving into positive territory. The grind continued and at the close, markets were narrowly mixed.

The Japan trade surplus was larger than expected and the most in 6-3/4 years. Asian markets were lower. The Nikkei 225 was down -2.13% while the Shanghai Composite fell -0.50%. European markets followed yesterday’s U.S. lead lower, but did not add any momentum to the sell-off. Equities were modestly lower with the DAX down -0.48%. Yields on the 10-yr. Bund pulled well back from recent highs, closing at 0.407%. The January FHFA Housing Price Index was flat for the 1st time since November 2013. February Existing Home Sales were close to expectations at 5.48MM. Last night, the API reported a build in crude inventories of +4.5MM barrels and the EIA reported an even larger build of +5.0MM barrels. Yields on the 10-Year Note eased to 2.400%. The US$ Index also weakened. Gold added to recent gains, climbing +0.3% to $1,249.70. Oil markets managed to shake off growing supply concerns and trimmed early losses, but the May contract still closed down -0.4% at $48.04. Equities looked set to extend losses early in the session, but the selling never gained any real momentum. All day, technology stocks led the recovery attempt. After yesterday’s big declines, markets closed mixed.

Asian markets settled mixed after the yen rose to a 3-week high against the US$. The Nikkei 225 was down -0.34%while the Shanghai Composite added +0.35%. February CPI in the UK rose at the fastest pace in over 3 years. European equities were steady but sagged late in the session with the DAX falling -0.75%. Yields on the 10-yr. Bund are again approaching the highs for the year, closing at 0.460%. The U.S. Current Account Balance for Q4 fell unexpectedly to -$112.4B. Yields on the 10-Year Note fell back to 2.416% and the US$ Index fell below 100 and close to lows set in early February. On the weak US$ gold was up +0.9% to $1,244.70. Sentiment in oil turned negative despite the weak US$. April crude expired today, closing down -1.8% to $47.34. May crude settled at $48.24 For the 1st time, it appears that concerns over the Trump administration’s ability to actually get policies enacted gave markets pause. After a firm open, markets move steadily move lower on heavy volume. Also for the 1st time since the election, major averages had losses > 1%. Any rally off the lows was repeatedly met with more selling and markets closed broadly lower.