Daily Comments

Asian markets rode the roller coaster on Friday, and after being both higher and lower, finished mostly flat. The Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei 225 both added +0.09%. HIS Markit’s flash eurozone composite PMI fell when an increase had been expected. European equities were sharply lower. The DAX fell -1.61%. Yields on 10-yr. Bunds finished negative closing at -0.025%. January Wholesale Trade was strong, up +1.2%. February Existing Home Sales were stronger than expected at 5.510M and the Treasury Budget was a large -$234.0B. March PMI Composite FLASH was weaker than expected at 54.3 (manufacturing 52.5 and services 54.8). Baker-Hughes reported that the U.S. oil rig count fell by 9 to 824. Yields on 10-Year Notes tumbled to 2.437%. The June US$ index was modestly higher, up +0.130 to 96.114 April gold rose +0.3% to $1,312.30. May crude lost -1.57% to $59.04. After yesterday’s strong rally, equities stumbled at the open as global growth concerns re-emerged. All of yesterday’s strong gains were erased and then some on very heavy volume, breaking back below support. At the close, markets were broadly lower.

Following the dovish Fed policy announcement in the U.S., Asian markets were mostly higher. The Shanghai Composite added +0.35%. The Nikkei 225 was closed for a holiday. As of now, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU with no deal next Friday. European equities were mostly higher. The DAX fell -0.46%. Yields on 10-yr. Bunds tumbled again to 0.039%. Initial Claims for 03/18 were 221K. February Leading Indicators beat expectations, up +0.2%, and January was revised up to +0.0% from -0.1%. The March Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey beat expectations at 13.7. Yields on 10-Year Notes closed up at 2.539%. The June US$ Index jumped 0.785 to close at 95.985. April gold, well off the highs, closed up +0.4% to $1,307.30. May crude (we roll today from April) was down -0.4% to $59.98. Equities headed into the open looking likely to follow through on yesterday’s late selling, but buyers stepped in and tech led the averages into the green. On heavy volume, markets rallied through the morning. Small dips were met with renewed buying and averages added to their gains. The buying persisted into the close and markets finished just below session highs.

Concerns over trade weighed on Asian markets. The Shanghai Composite recovered late to close mostly flat, down -0.01%. The Nikkei 225 bucked the trend and managed to add +0.20%. European equities were lower as traders awaited further developments on Brexit and the U.S. Fed. The DAX dropped -1.57%. Yields on 10-yr. Bunds tumbled back to 0.081%. Last night, the API reported a draw in crude inventories for the week of 03/18 of -2.1M barrels. This morning’s EIA report showed a much larger decline of -9.6M barrels. As expected the FOMC voted to leave the Fed Funds interest rate target unchanged at 2.25% to 2.50%. Yields on 10-Year Notes tumbled to 2.532%. The June US$ Index fell -0.630 to close at 95.200. April gold (pre-announcement) fell -0.4% to $1,301.70. April crude rose +1.4% to $59.83. Equities began the day mostly flat on very light volume. Early selling was countered somewhat by relative strength in tech. Markets fell when President Trump suggested tariffs on China could remain for awhile. Markets jumped higher with heavy volume on a more dovish Fed than expected. After wild back and forth action, averages closed widely mixed.